A short story about being helped by a ' Caterpillar ' veteran, sorry I don't really have any items to add to the thread.
Back in 1979 I bought a 1940 closed cab American manufactured GMC 6 x 6 troop carrier, which had just been released from the French army. I had it shipped into a port on the south coast of England, I was told it was in running order with just a few little jobs to make it totally correct. The law at that time stated that when you import a vehicle into the country, it is perfectly legal to drive it to your place of residence in the condition it is in, without number plates ( tag plates ) and without a test certificate, ( but with insurance ) the other things you must do once it is in the country and before using on the road.
Anyway I had driven this thing for three hours and around two hundred miles towards my house, three miles from home I was pulled over by a police officer in a patrol car. He wanted to check it over, and I said I had just imported it and have the paperwork entitling me to drive it from port of entry to my home. He was quite aggressive, and said he was not interested in seeing the paperwork and appeared only interested in booking me for something. Well it happened that one of the rear side lights didn't work, which wasn't totally an offence at that date and certainly not during daylight hours. He forced me to park up the vehicle and not to move it until the I could fix the light the following day, so in the hours of darkness I was forced to park-up on the side of a freeway, a dark vehicle sat stationary in the dark, for which I couldn't understand his reasoning. He also stated that he would be checking it over nite and if I had moved then that was a further offence
I was booked and charged to appear at court, when I did the clerk of the court came over to check my name against the list. When he spoke to me I recognised this little squiggle on his necktie as being a Caterpillar motif, and I asked him if that was what it was. He was surprised and asked how a ' young' feller of my age would know about the ' Caterpillar' club. we had a great chat and he told me about his experiences in the RAF, and the Caterpillar club. I explained that I collected WWII militaria and the only reason I was in court was for a failed light on a forty year old military vehicle. He was surprised at the attitude of the patrol officer, and said that he would have a word with the magistrates and explain the circumstances.
Well the upshot of it all was, when I got into court and the magistrates questioned me, and saw that I legally should have been able to drive the vehicle home. Also I showed them the forty year old American 6 volt sealed beam military light-bulb, and explained there was no garage in England that I could walk into and replace off the shelf, and could only do so with stocks I had at home.
It was thrown out, having wasted six months of every-ones time. possibly not really relevant to this thread but a great veteran. So my thanks go to that Caterpillar veteran, and his thanks went to me for helping to keep these veterans history alive with the collecting and owning of all this mititaria stuff.
I still wonder even today what sort of 'tick' this patrol officer had up his butt.
Cheers ( Lewis )
Edited by General Apathy, 13 May 2007 - 12:18 AM.