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Fundraiser brought original amphibious vehicle to Sutton Bridge meeting




Sutton Bridge U3A's latest meeting at the Curlew Centre, Sutton Bridge, was a talk on D-Day by armed forces fundraiser Harold Payne who brought an original American DUKW amphibious vehicle.

The 35ft six-wheel-drive craft (colloquially known as a Duck) was actually at the Second World War landings on June 6, 1944 and had also taken part in the 75th anniversary commemorations in Normandy.

Mr Payne, owner of Fleet's Anglia Motel, spoke about the D-Day memorial visit which surviving veterans from the Spalding area attended earlier this summer, plus their experiences at one of the most important days of the 20th century.

Pictured with the amphibious vehicle, back, from left are: John Topper, Harold Payne, Frank Heinrich-Tiller. Front: Trisha Topper, Brenda Spaghioli, Chris Livesey.
Pictured with the amphibious vehicle, back, from left are: John Topper, Harold Payne, Frank Heinrich-Tiller. Front: Trisha Topper, Brenda Spaghioli, Chris Livesey.

Some 80 U3A (University of the Third Age) members attended the well-received event, as Sutton Bridge U3A press officer Frank Heinrich-Tiller explained: "They gave us a really interesting presentation.

"It was an original American landing craft. There are not that many original ones in working condition and he has spent something like £60,000 restoring it.

"The feedback was very, very good. Harold has done an awful lot for the veterans and he organises trips to the battlefield.

The DUKW.
The DUKW.

"He uses any money left over from the motel to take people over there. We were delighted to see him there."

It is hard to say how many original DUKWs are still in working order, but many seaside resorts promoting “Duck Tours” such as nearby Hunstanton have gradually replaced them with LARCVs (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo vessel) used in Vietnam.

The University of the Third Age aims to encourage people in their third age (following retirement) to come together and enjoy learning subjects of interest.

At the next U3A meeting on Tuesday, October 1 at 2pm is a talk by Ashley Behan from the Institute of Advanced Drivers on night time driving at the Market House, Long Sutton.

• Did you know? The name DUKW comes from manufacturers General Motors Corporation's specification: D, Designed in 1942; U, Utility; K, All-wheel drive; W, Dual-tandem rear axles.


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