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  Matilda II Tank   
Australian Army
2/4th Armoured Regiment

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JIm Watts 1972

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Josh McDade 1999

Wartime History
Bogged and abandoned on the bank of a river near Buin.

Wreckage
This tank remained 'in situ' where it was abandoned at a river bank in a nearly intact condition. Discovered by Patrol Officer Graham Dent during the early 1970s. Later, during 1974-1975 this tank was salvage by Ray 'Kiwi' Blanchfield and setup as a memorial at Tank Corner Memorial near Tonu and Konga.

Roger Porteous, formally of Bougainville reports:
"One of two Matilda tanks that were abandoned on the banks of the nearby river and were found there by Graham Dent, a Patrol Officer posted to Buin. Graham's father had been the commander of one of the tanks during the Bougainville campaign, and when he heard that his son had been posted to Buin, he asked Graham to see if the tanks were still where he had left them. They were. Both were virtually complete, with engines, guns etc, but no breach blocks. The better of the two was moved out onto the road by Ray 'Kiwi' Blanchfield (around 1974/75). He set it up as a memorial on a clearing at the T junction of the old Army road (Buin - Torokina) and the Konga / Tonu road which went on through Baku to Panguna (final sections built by Buin Earth moving). When set up, the tank was almost complete, with twin flat head Chrysler petrol engines and most of the original fittings."

Josh McDade visited in 1999:
"A brass plaque seems to have been removed from the tank which could have been attached by welding. The inside of the tank has been burnt out. There is no engine or mechanics inside the tank. The inside of the tank is now home to numerous broken coconut shells and rubbish. The tank appears to have been damaged during WWII. There is shrapnel marks across the front and a large turret dent. No other distinguishing markings."

References
Thanks to Jim Watts an Josh McDade for additional information

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Last Updated
August 12, 2018

 

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