Bart Vanderveen Award 2009
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
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
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
Nearly 30 years on - although by now he should have retired
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
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!