Some of you may remember that I have a cynical view of strangers asking for charity so it's only fair that I get treated the same way! with that in mind I will still put out my appeal here. You might have seen a bit of it in this months "Connexion".
This is an appeal for donations to help restore a 1943 DUKW. I want to restore this amphibious truck in time for the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings in 2014 & due to an unfortunate accident my limited finances have taken a beating, much like everyones!
This IS a begging blog, pure & simple for a perhaps self indulgent cause & I know that there are many, probably more worthwhile, causes than mine.
If I still have your attention I will explain my situation.
I am a 55 year old military vehicle enthusiast who has owned & restored a few vehicles over the years & have owned a DUKW before, in 1999. Unfortunately I lost my business (trusted the petrol company for whom I was a contract manager to do what they promised - silly me) and was made bankrupt. My DUKW had to go but its sale enabled me to start again in France. Over the years I have managed to make a living, getting to a point where I was able to buy another DUKW. This purchase took all my savings plus a bit & I ended up with a very well used & rusty example - a good example of this rare truck is rare & prices are sky high.
My example was retired from the Royal Marines at the end of the 90s, with whom it had served as a safety vehicle. Its long life at sea has taken its toll on a vehicle not built with the idea of such a long working life! In fact, with a time-in-service of almost 56 years this is indeed a veteran - "Genevieve", star of the film of the same name, was only 49! However, its straightforward design & the fact that many internal components are still functioning makes it a fairly simple job to repair - if you have the metal working skills & equipment.
I have neither!
My financial commitment so far has been the initial purchase price plus some parts. I have already had help with transport from the UK to here from Rex Cadman, the organiser of the War & Peace military vehicle show, who has also paid for 2 of his employees to travel down here to help with the removal ov the engine & gearbox prior to its move to a steel fabricating firm. They also helped by changing the steering column & removing the winch.
The Dukw is now at the company who will start work as soon as they receive some money.
This is where YOU, dear reader, come in! Due to an accident earlier in the year I have been unable to work & have had to use my meagre savings to live on. I am now able to work so can look after myself financially, but due to the nature of my work I cannot save much. To re skin a DUKW takes a lot of steel & much metal folding & the wooden bits need to be copied too. I think that the front deck will have to be replaced completely either with a deck from another or fabricated using the remains of the old one as a pattern.
I am therefore asking for donations from ANYONE for whatever you can afford. The money will only be used to restore this DUKW, not to susidise me! You only have my word on this but I like to think that my word is sufficient.
I expect the total required to complete the DUKW will not exceed 15,000 euros or the equivalent in pounds. So if 2000 people gave just 5 euros...
A video showing the DUKW in its present condition is on Youtube, just click on the link at the top of the page.