Museum's bid to save unique tank built at Leeds factory

A museum has launched a fundraising drive to buy and restore a unique tank built at the Royal Ordnance Factory in Leeds.
The prototype Challenger 1 tankThe prototype Challenger 1 tank
The prototype Challenger 1 tank

The prototype of the Challenger 1 tank was built in the mid 1970s at the tank factory on the site of the ex munitions and Royal Ordnance factory at Barnbow Works at Cross Gates.

The Royal Ordnance factory was taken over by Vickers Defence Systems in the mid 1980s.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The prototype was among those used for development of all Challenger tanks before it was used as a target during practice on live-firing ranges.

The prototype Challenger 1 tankThe prototype Challenger 1 tank
The prototype Challenger 1 tank

The tank was later bought by a military dealer and is currently in a dilapidated state in a sales yard.

The Norfolk Tank Museum has launched a £60,000 GoFundMe project to buy the tank with the aim of restoring it to full running order in a three-year project.

Visitors to the museum will be able to see the restoration process.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Once fully restored, the Challenger 1 prototype will take centre stage in a main battle tank display, with Centurion and Chieftain tanks on either side.

The prototype Challenger 1 tank picturedc during trialingThe prototype Challenger 1 tank picturedc during trialing
The prototype Challenger 1 tank picturedc during trialing

Challenger 1 and Challenger 2 tanks were built at the Barnbow Works site until the 1990s.

The Challenger 1 was the main battle tank used by the British Army from 1983 to the mid-1990s.

The Norfolk Tank Museum is renowned for its unique collection of prototype vehicles, including a Centurion AVRE and Chieftain Main Battle Tank.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It also has a unique collection of Centurion tanks, and Deborah II – a replica MK IV tank built at the museum as part of the Channel 4 film documentary: Guy Martin’s WW1 Tank.

Stephen MacHaye, chairman of the board of trustees at the Norfolk Tank Museum, said: “We need to save this tank, it is part of our heritage.

"It deserves to be in a museum enabling people to see it, and experience it. We can provide the home it needs and the expertise to restore it."

"It offers a great educational opportunity for young people to acquire engineering skills, whilst learning to preserve and appreciate the past,”

Related topics: