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Repairing the Roller: Fanshawe students refurbish ‘Holy Roller’ WWII tank

London, Ontario – Students from Fanshawe College’s auto body and welding programs were trusted with an incredible piece of Canadian history recently as they helped refurbish the Holy Roller Sherman tank in commemoration of the 78th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

More than 8,000 hours were put into the restoration; the tank, which landed at D-Day and fought across Northwest Europe until the end of  WWII had been sitting exposed in London, Ont.’s Victoria Park for decades. In 2021, volunteers began disassembling and repairing parts as well as sandblasting and repainting the body.

“It’s been two years [and] a lot of work and a lot of research. It looks much like it would have looked in World War Two,” Ian Haley, a former lieutenant colonel and commanding officer with the 1st Hussars reserve armoured regiment told the London Free Press.

“When we moved the tank, things got shaken and moved,” he added. Some of these ‘things’ included tools, shell casings and a British two-pence minted in 1797.

The interior of the refurbished tank will be closed to the public, as it always has, but Fanshawe College students have been creating a visual tour during the restoration and after that will provide a complete inside look, Haley said.

 

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