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.
The Bart Vanderveen Challenge Shield for 2009 was awarded to
David Fletcher receives the award for 2009 from Winston Ramsey, Editor-in-Chief of After the Battle.
This was Winston Ramsey's address for the presentation
Like many of us, a visit to a museum has often been the catalyst for creating a lifelong interest in a particulal subject. This was certainly the case with the recipient of the Bart Vanderveen Trophy this year. This award, instituted in memory of Bart who was one of the world's leading authorities on military vehicles, is given each year to reward outstanding service to the Military Vehicle Preservation Movement, evidence of which you can see all around you today.
In the early 1960s, David Fletcher first visited the Tank Museum at Bovington in Dorset. That visit so fired his interest in tanks and armoured vehicles that when Colonel George Forty took over as Director/Curator in 1981, David was already spending much of his free time in the museum library reading, learning and inwardly digesting all sorts of information about tanks. They became the love of his life then — and still are!
The following year when David gained a full-time position at the museum, Colonel Forty explains that 'it was a toss-up whether I paid him to become our librarian or whether he would pay me for letting him work there'!
Nearly 30 years on — although by now he should have retired — David is still there as the museum's historian. His detailed knowledge of all aspects of tanks and tank soldering worldwide is vast — not bad for someone who once drove a tram in Melbourne!
Anyone who has heard him lecture or commentate at one of the museum's highly popular Tankfests, or has read any of his many books, will know just how much he contributes to the Tank Museum. In a message of support to David's achievement in receiving the award for 2009, Colonel Forty says 'what an invaluable cog he is in that ever growing "wheel" — should I say "track" in that amazing museum, and I can think of no one more deserving of the Bart Vanderveen Trophy than David'.
Well done David, you certainly deserve it!