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.
It is always a great pleasure for me to present this award in the name of Bart Vanderveen who is no longer with us. His name is synonymous with military vehicles and most of us were nurtured on his books and writings. Certainly I purchased my first Jeep in the 1970s with the 'bible' - his Fighting Vehicles Directory in one hand - and £325 in the other. Those were the days!
This year's recipient, Nigel Hay, also had a copy of the same book with him during a spell in hospital while living in Belgium in the 1970s. He like me was immediately hooked and got himself a Jeep although his came in bits and pieces. It was only later that he realised he had bought a pup - a post-war M38A1! Nevertheless he got it finished and went on to bigger things with vehicles like a Dodge and GMC.
In 1980 Nigel was a founder member of the embryo Invicta Military Vehicle Preservation Society - the IMPS - who host this show. In the early days, it was held at Tenterden where he was press-ganged into doing the commentary. When it moved to the Hop Farm in 1987, Nigel became the resident commentator and helped evolve the arena display into the spectacle that it is today. Nigel worked with Rex Cadman, the show organiser, to rebrand it as the War & Peace show in 1996 when it was re-launched with major press coverage and a three-hour live broadcast on Channel Four.
Nigel carried on commentating at what is now the largest event of its kind in the world and says how proud he was to have interviewed Bart in the arena before his death in 2001.
And I would also like to mention that in 1995 he put together that wonderful parade of military vehicles on The Mall for the 60th anniversary of the end of the war.
In 1999, Nigel was co-founder of the MILWEB website which has since become a huge driving force in the hobby of collecting and restoring military hardware. Although he tells me that the website now takes up all his time – one of the reasons why he could not be with us on Saturday when we usually present this award – it gives me great pleasure to be able to say 'Thank you' to Nigel today for his huge contribution to vehicle preservation over the past 30 years.