Visitors to Aldershot Military Museum are always awed by our Challenger and Chieftain tanks, but many are surprised to learn that we also display a wide range of historic military vehicles, including armoured personnel carriers (APCs), reconnaissance vehicles and artillery. Sarah Dhanjal, Museum Learning Facilitator, takes a look at one of these vehicles, the FV432.
Our vehicles bring back memories of service for the many veterans who visit us. The Fighting Vehicle 432 (FV432), which came into service in the 1960s, is a good example.
It is an APC, constructed of welded steel and was originally designed as a ‘battle taxi,’ to carry troops as close to the action as possible. The driving seat is to the right at the front of the vehicle, complete with a periscope to enable the driver to have a safe, clear view. Acquired by the museum in 1986, the service history for this particular FV432 starts in 1968. It spent five years with 29 Field Ambulance, and 10 years with various regiments in the British Army of the Rhine and has been converted for wading - you can spot the exhaust on the roof of the vehicle.
The FV432 has space for a crew of two (driver and commander) and 10 personnel, who sometimes live in the vehicle for weeks at a time. One of our volunteers will gladly share stories of his time in an FV432 - he even spent his 21st birthday in one! In common with other armoured vehicles, it is equipped with a boiling vessel, so he would have been able to enjoy a celebratory brew!
FV430 series vehicles are versatile and reliable, so they are still in use today. Uses have included as an ambulance, a command vehicle, to carry cargo and personnel and as a recovery vehicle.
An initial meeting with potential volunteers who are interested in helping to refurbish our vehicles took place in November 2020. The project is coordinated by museum staff, and includes training for volunteers in the conservation of military vehicles and the vital materials needed to help preserve the vehicles for future visitors. While the museum has been closed during lockdown, the project has been on hold, but we are looking forward to rescheduling our training sessions and giving our vehicles some much-needed TLC. To find out more about the FV432 and our vehicle conservation project, book a visit to Aldershot Military Museum when we re-open in May.
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