Donations required to restore this DUKW

DUKW help

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.

Thank you.

Done Mark,

Done, here is the link for anyone else who would like to support this project.



Thank you, James, I have taken your advice & set things up on indiegogo.

There are a few people around who devote their time to look after old & sick animals, a cause I, along with many people, wholeheartedly & unreservedly support. You only have to look into the eyes of a poor old animal & your heart melts! As I look at my 15 year old dog lying comfortably in front of the fire I know that many animals have never experienced a comfortable & loving environment & am so pleased that a few get that opportunity at least for a little while before their time is up. Fund raising for their cause needs to be constant & luckily, human nature being what it is, there is always a queue of generous doners.

It is much harder to pull at the heart strings when one wants to save what appears to be a piece of unfeeling junk, which, when completed, will provide the owner with an asset & source of enjoyment! A DUKW has no deep brown eyes to pull you in, no expression of total love to gain your sympathy. It will not suffer if it is just left. I just have to hope that we can find enough people who think that a little bit of history is worth preserving. They ARE out there, I just need to find enough of them.

SFN is a good start, with you two behind the project the only way is forward! Thanks, guys!

Hi Vanessa,

Internet now reconnected, just the phone bit to do!

Thank you for your advice & offers of assistance - any help is appreciated.

I have always had an interest in military vehicles & have owned a cross section over the years. My lasting memory is of an open day at Deal Marine Barracks (before the IRA bombing) when I took my GMC "Deuce & a half" - the 6x6 truck on which the DUKW is based. An old man came up to me & was taking a keen interest in my 1943 truck. " I remember these" he said " I drove one in Burma during the war". He went on to explain that he had been a lorry driver after the war, too, but his wife was pleased when he retired. I invited him to sit in the cab & he looked over the dashboard at the guages & instruction plates. He even remembered where the gears were - they are not in the standard position!

It was early in the day & the area was not crowded so I asked him if he fancied giving it a little spin. The transformation in his face was a joy to see! He remembered where everything was so I stepped out & let him go. After a couple of laps of the field he returned, switched off the engine & just sat. When he climbed out there was a little wetness about his eyes. "Thank you" he said, "that brought back so many memories of the fun we had, me & my mates. Not all of us made it back, you know, but we would not have missed it for the world." We shook hands & off he went. After a few steps he turned & said " Don't tell the wife that was me driving. She always hated my job!"

It's nice that what you do for a hobby also rewards others.

With regard to Paypal, the email address is If the project does not go ahead for some reason all donations will either be returned or given to Help for Heroes.

Thanks again.

That's great, Vanessa, see above re internet probs so will reply properly soon!

Thanks, James,

I have internet probs at the moment (Orange cut off the wrong address). It will be 10 days before it is restored so I will reply then!

Hi Mark.. It is a wonderful thing you are doing, let me say that first!

Do you have a paypal account set up for donations? Also, it might be a good idea to start a blog with a paypal donation button attached to it.

We are on such a tight budget for living expenses that i cant afford much, but would be happy to help with a fiver :)

I am sure some English and US veterans would be glad to help, I think you need some publicity, my daughter (16) is a marvel on facebook (arent they all lol) and Im sure she would help to set up a page if you want...

Wishing you all the very best of luck !!!

Mark, I hope you don't mind but I've edited your post slightly, added a title that I can share around the internet and embedded the video to make it easier to watch.

If you set this up on or similar, I will be very happy to help financially.

This is a great thing you're doing and I will fully back it wherever I can.


Dear Mark & James,

how did this project work out? was your dukw restored? I also own a fully restored DUKW but as you know operational costs are great with these older vessels, we love her and have been spending out of pocket to give Kids free rides on our dukw. As we live in Saipan which played a mojor role in the Pacific war, we have many historical monuments and sites which we take the children to and re educate them about their historical signifigance. We are also looking at donations to keep doing this full time and possible beinging this type of education to other parts of the world. but for now we just have to worry about here 1st. If you know of any way we could find a funding source to continue doing this I would welcom any assistance you or your group might offer. For every $100 we can give 28 seats on board free of charge to our children int he many grades. maybe this type of children historical tour might even work for Mark and his vessel. or we could partner up to start doing this as we both seem to love these vehicles. Please let me know if their are any opertunities.


Mike Dilley
Moi, LLC - Army Duck Saipan
P.O. Box 504704, Saipan, MP 96950