The Bart Vanderveen Challenge Shield is awarded annually to the individual, chosen by nominations, who has contributed most to the military vehicle preservation movement. Inaugurated and sponsored by After the Battle, publishers of Wheels & Tracks magazine which was founded by Bart Vanderveen in 1982 and edited by him until the 75th issue published in April 2001. The trophy is presented at the War and Peace Show, which is the world's largest gathering of privately owned military vehicles, held annually at The Hop Farm, Beltring, Paddock Wood, Kent, in July.
Please click below to view a rundown on each year's award.
In 2008 the trophy was awarded to Jack Beckett.
This was Pat Ware's address:
The Bart Vanderveen Challenge Shield was inaugurated in 2001 by Winston Ramsey of After the Battle, publishers of Wheels & Tracks magazine. The award was established in recognition of Bart’s huge contribution to the military vehicle movement. Classic Military Vehicle magazine was invited to get involved in 2005 and the Award is now jointly administered.
It would be fair to say that without the late Bart Vanderveen, plus a few of the other early pioneers, such as Peter Gray and Winston Ramsey, we would not be standing here today at this amazing War & Peace Show. Without Bart the hobby would almost certainly not exist in its present form.
Bart saw beauty in old military vehicles at a time when others saw just scrap. And I’m among those who believe that Bart was the founding father of the present military vehicle movement. He restored his first military vehicle in 1959, having already published his first book on the subject. During the ‘sixties Bart’s three Observer’s books became – and remain – the essential reference works for enthusiasts worldwide. He went on to publish many military-vehicle books and, from 1982 until his premature death in 2001, he was editor of Wheels & Tracks magazine.
Bart’s passing left a huge hole in the hobby which many felt could not be filled.
The Bart Vanderveen Challenge Shield was established to respect his memory and to ensure that the flame which Bart lit stays alight. Each year, the shield is presented to the individual who is felt to have contributed most to the military-vehicle preservation movement. The name is chosen from nominations made by fellow enthusiasts and the award is made each year at the War & Peace Show.
For the first year the award was made posthumously to Bart himself as a mark of respect. Other past winners include the great and good of the military vehicle hobby... Peter Grey, Rex Cadman and IMPS, Tony Budge, Joe Lyndhurst, Preston Isaac and Mike Stallwood.
This year's winner will perhaps not be a name that many of you know but you will almost certainly be familiar with his impact on the hobby. Although I know that he owns, and has restored, a vehicle, unlike many of the past winners, he has no desire to roam the world in search of relics, has never organised a show or run a military vehicles business... and as far as I know he does not have ambitions to open a museum... similarly, he is not a magazine editor.
His contribution to the hobby is more in the realm of cyberspace.
Our winner this year is being recognised for the creation of HMVF . . . the Historic Military Vehicle Forum, a unique website which allows enthusiasts to exchange views, to meet like-minded people, to buy and sell vehicles and parts, and to exchange information.
Our winner this year is Jack Beckett.
New to the hobby in 2005, and with a background in farming and forestry that hardly augered well for the restoration of a WW2 truck, Jack bought a GMC. He freely admits that it was a shot in the dark and that, without the internet, he had little idea where to look.
He made contact with me as editor of Classic Military Vehicle magazine in 2006 and we ran a series of short articles describing the experiences of this virgin soldier. Like many true enthusiasts who have gone before him, Jack’s work on the truck started the unending quest for knowledge. ‘What is this... where do I find that... were these used here... has anyone encountered this problem?’ He stumbled across a website based in the USA called cckw.com and found the format to be extremely helpful.
No such forum existed in the UK and, undeterred by the fact that he was almost as new to computers as he was to GMCs, Jack resolved that he would create a web forum for all military vehicle enthusiasts . . . not to replace the existing clubs . . . they have a valuable role to play . . . but to allow enthusiasts to make direct contact with one another across the world-wide web in real time.
There are those who claim that ignorance is bliss and that if Jack had had any idea of the difficulties he faced then perhaps he would not have been quite so enthusiastic. Inevitably the early days were rocky and he hit a low point when the company hosting the site deleted the account with the prospect of three years hard work being totally lost. And I mean really hard work. I understand that Jack spends a minimum of 40 hours a week on the forum.
But in the two years since it has been established HMVF has gone from strength to strength thanks largely to Jack’s enthusiasm and energy. There are currently 1100 members and last month the site received 50,000 visitors. The site encourages contact between members and like some perverse green machine dating agency has brought people with similar interests together.
Jack is considering expanding the forum by adding what he describes as HMVF TV and Radio . . . brands which, once established, may become central to the hobby and which will attract younger, computer-aware enthusiasts to this interest which we all love so much.
Jack says that the purchase of the GMC changed his life but inevitably the HMVF has changed it at least as much again. These days he has less time to spend on the truck . . . but as many have found, that is one of the perils of turning your hobby into work. Let’s hope that Jack doesn’t start looking for another hobby because the military vehicle world would be the poorer without his energy and enthusiasm.
Ladies and gentleman, I give you a very worthy winner of the 2008 Vanderveen Shield . . . Jack Beckett.