Saturday 31st January 2015



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Falklands BARV Arrives

In Service Photo's

Information from Crews

Your Help Needed

19/07/08 Museum Receives Falklands BARV on Loan

Falklands HMS Fearless BARV

On 19th July the museum received Vickers Centurion Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle (BARV) 02 ZR 77 on loan from Phil Turner.

The BARV or 'Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle' is a Centurian tank converted to go into the water during landings to push landing craft back into the water or drag other vehicles back onto the beach.

Our BARV is believed to have served in the Korean War, operated from HMS Fearless during the Falklands War in 1982 and more recently in Iraq in both Gulf War's before being retired from service in 2005.

Originally built as a Centurian tank in 1944, the BARV was one of only 12 converted in the mid-1960's by removing the turret and building up a tall waterproof tower that allowed the BARV to wade in up to 11 foot of water. The height can be judged by noting that museum member Phil in the red shirt in this photo is 6 foot 5. At 40 tonnes the tank chassis stayed firmly on the seabed.

In Service Photo's

Falklands HMS Fearless BARV

BARV in operation during the Falklands. Bringing ashore the Royal Marine HQ with landing craft in the background. We have reason to believe that this is not our BARV.

Falklands HMS Fearless BARV

Pushing a landing craft

Falklands HMS Fearless BARV

Wading in the Gulf

Some More Information About the BARV

An adaptation of the Centurion tank designed to operate in deep water, off landing beaches, to salvage abandoned vehicles and relaunch beached landing craft.

The Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle, or BARV was developed during World War II by REME (Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) on the Sherman chassis. BARVs were used on D-Day, dragging drowned vehicles out of the water or pushing beached landing craft back in. They were designed to wade in about 8 feet of water.

The Centurion BARV was developed at Instow in Devon in the late fifties and twelve were built, by converting old Centurion gun tanks, by the Royal Ordnance Factory in Leeds. The Centurion can wade in water up to 9 ft 6ins deep, at which time the driver has to be guided by his commander, since all he can see are fishes. Notice the lip, around the top of the hull that prevents water from splashing over and the big rope bumper at the front for pushing things. Also the fact that the track guards are made from steel mesh so that water can pass through easily.

History on HMS Fearless

Hi Jim, my son was browsing and came across your page and forwarded the link to me.

As a Sergeant Vehicle Mechanic, I commanded the Beach Recovery Section of 4th Assault Squadron, HMS Fearless, during the period 1974-76.

During that period we exercised in Morocco, North West Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, as well as on the beaches around Instow, North Devon and the Hard at Royal Marines Poole. Off hand, I cannot remember the registration mark.

My BARV, following a complete overhaul by the crew, while Fearless was undergoing refit in Plymouth, was swamped by a rogue wave, while going to the aid of a breached landing craft on the Texel, NW Holland. It was recovered and returned to Ludgershall in Hampshire and a replacement vehicle issued.

There were three BARVs in operation at any one time, One each on Fearless and Intrepid and one at Fording Trials Branch REME at INSTOW. The remaining nine were kept at Ludgershall.

Each BARV had a crew of four. Commander (Sergeant), a Driver (Marine), a Handler (Marine), who had similar duties to those of a boat's crewman, and a Diver (Marine) who carried out underwater checks on the casualties to be cleared (boats or vehicles) and hooked up cables under-water. The driver was from the Driver's branch while the other three members were VMs. All crew members were trained to drive the BARV. The section had two more mechanics to cover the ships complement of wheeled vehicles and three Michigan, Medium assault tractors, two with forklifts and one equipped with a bucket.

I have some photos and notes somewhere, probably in the attic, I'll have a search and, if I find them, I'll e-mail them to you.


David Brown
Royal Marines 1958-1981

Quick notes from the recent visit:-

Vistors were:-

William H. Black (Bill)
Noal Marshall (Charge Hand)
Ken Brace
Terry Lee
Dave Tuckwood

All ex Royal Ordinance Factory, Leeds

'Our' BARV was built in East Shop RoF.

The design team were also involved in the design and build of the Combat Engineer Tractor

More Help Needed

Can you help us with more history and photos? Please email

Unless other credit given photographs on this site are copyright Jim Keable 2002-2012