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1. The Arno Motor Company of Coventry 1908-1916, by Damien Kimberley
2. The Beech on Wheels, by Derek Robinson and forum member Foxcote
3. A brief history of Saint Osburg's, in pictures, by Damien Kimberley
4. The Brough Superior, by Damien Kimberley
5. Coventry Volunteer Fire Brigade - Illustrated London News, Jan 4th 1862
6. Coventry's Great Flood - London Daily Graphic, 2nd January 1901
7. Coventry's Rich Heritage, by Pete Walters
8. Coventry, the Home of the Cycle Trade - 1886 magazine article
9. Coventry, the Silk Trade and the Horsfall family, by Ian West
10. D-Day and Monty's Staff Car, by Paul Maddocks
11. The Dragoon Cycle Company of Coventry, by Damien Kimberley
12. Edwin Brown, Victorian Animal Artist, by Stephen Catton
13. The First Tudor Feast, by Richard Ball
14. The Great Flood of December 1900, and the lost Bridges, by Damien Kimberley
15. Henry Cave, and the 'Lady' Autocar of 1899, by Damien Kimberley
16. Let's talk about Rex, by Damien Kimberley
17. The Lion Bicycle Company of Coventry & Wolverhampton 1877-1882, by Damien Kimberley
18. Miss Bashford, a Teacher's Tale, by Simon Shaw
19. Motor Panels (Coventry) Ltd, by Damien Kimberley
20. The New Bablake Schools - 1889 article
21. New Drinking Fountain at Coventry - 17 Sep 1859
22. Not Forgotten, the 1939 IRA bomb attack, by Simon Shaw
23. Phil Silvers Archival Museum, by Paul Maddocks
24. Proposal for St. Michael's Campanile c1890
25. Public Baths - The Building News, Jan 24th 1896
26. The Saint Joseph the Worker parish in Coventry, by Terence Richards - Part 1
27. The Saint Joseph the Worker parish in Coventry, by Terence Richards - Part 2
28. The Saint Joseph the Worker parish in Coventry, by Terence Richards - Part 3
29. A short history of Coventry's Theatres and Cinemas, by Bill Birch
30. Sixty Years of Cycling - 1897 magazine article
31. The sound that almost killed my Dad in the War!, by Paul Maddocks
32. The Tapestry and its Hidden Secret, by Paul Maddocks
33. Transport Museum pt.1 - How the Queen's 1977 visit sowed the seed, by Paul Maddocks
34. Transport Museum pt.2 - New Hales Street Entrance in 1985, by Paul Maddocks
35. Transport Museum pt.3 - Creating the Blitz Experience, by Paul Maddocks
36. Transport Museum pt.4 - Coventry's Land Speed Record Cars, by Paul Maddocks
37. Transport Museum pt.5 - The 1987 F.A. Cup Winners' Sky Blue Bus, by Paul Maddocks
38. Transport Museum pt.6 - The Royal Cars, by Paul Maddocks
39. What links a Spitfire's landing gear to a baby buggy? by Paul Maddocks
40. What links R2D2 to a Coventry Hydrogen/Electric cab company? by Paul Maddocks
41. Whitefriars Gatehouse and Toy Museum, by Paul Maddocks
42. WW1 and Wyley of Charterhouse, by Paul Maddocks
43. 1930s Austin's Monthly Magazine articles, by John Bailey Shelton MBE
44. Plan for the City Centre - The Architect and Building News, 21st March 1941
 

D-Day and Monty's Staff Car, by Paul Maddocks

D-Day, 6th of June 1944, was the beginning of the Allies' landing, and was the start of the largest invasion fleet which ever set sail in the English Channel. Many people, ships, landing crafts, planes and war machines were involved, many of which had come from Coventry. One of the many hundreds of thousand items I would like to highlight is Field Marshal Montgomery's Humber staff car.

Montgomery in his Humber staff car c1944
Montgomery in his Humber staff car c1944.

Known as the "Victory car", this car was used by Monty from the beaches of Normandy all the way to Berlin. Monty liked this type of high speed staff car as he had used one in the North African campaign. It was very reliable and it got the nickname of "Old Faithful". The vehicle is a military version of the Humber Super Snipe open tourer. With its large 4.5 litre engine it could happily cruise at a steady 70 miles an hour. It was a completely standard Humber except for the special WD (War Department) tyres, reinforced running board and bumpers, and a special second fold-down windscreen for the rear seats. Monty liked its large engine bonnet and he would use it like a table to lay out maps and plans from which he would explain the next troop movements. One thing that did surprise many people was it not having any armour plating or bullet proof windows anywhere!

There was a story that when the Humber car was being unloaded from the ship on to the Mulberry Harbour it fell into forty feet of water. It was pulled out of the sea and quickly dried off, was made ready for Monty, and it ran OK for the rest of the war. In the 1990s when the vehicle was having some restoration done to it, it was discovered that there were traces of sea salt up high under parts of the bodywork, which had caused some corrosion.

Montgomery's Humber staff car
"THE VICTORY CAR"

This Humber Staff Car No. M239485 was used by

FIELD MARSHAL THE RT. HON. THE VISCOUNT
MONTGOMERY OF ALAMEIN, K.G., G.C.B., D.S.O.

From NORMANDY to BERLIN
June 6th 1944 - August 25th 1945.

After the war, in 1945, the car was handed over to the Humber Company by the War Office. Later on in the 1970s the Humber / Rootes company was taken over by Chrysler UK Ltd. The chairman, Mr. Gilbert Hunt, placed the car under the control of Coventry Museums.

The car still has its five-star general plates, and on the doors are brass plates explaining what and whom the car was used for. It says:


In May 1994 the "Victory Car" was invited to travel with fifty English cars and fifty French cars on the very first Channel Tunnel train. The cavalcade of cars departed from Hyde Park in London and arrived at le Place de la Concorde in Paris, having been on the first official trip through the Channel Tunnel. While the Victory Car was travelling through Paris in the parade, the car developed a blown gasket. The two drivers, Malcolm Oliver and Chris Boyce, soon changed the gasket as they had made sure they had spare parts for the journey. Within no time it was repaired and the crowd who were watching thought it was part of the display of how easy it was to work on the vehicle, and clapped. The next hard part was to find water to fill up the radiator! The crowd started to help them by taking cups and buckets of water from the nearby ornate fountain display.

Montgomery's Humber in the Coventry Transport Museum
Montgomery's Humber in the Coventry Transport Museum.
(Photo courtesy of Steve Orland, 2013.)

In a year's time it will be the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, so hopefully the car will be able to take part in the commemorations. The vehicle has become a symbol of Coventry contribution to the war effort. The factory where it was made, and the people like my granddad who worked there, have all gone now, and we need to remember them. It was because we had all these factories that we were bombed in one of the first heavy bombing Blitz raids. We hope that nothing like this ever needs to happen again to stop fascist tyranny.

To many this may not seem very historic, and to others it truly is history that we should remember.

Paul Maddocks, 2023


 
 
 
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