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Saturday, 9 March, 2002, 18:25 GMT
Tank donated in war hero tribute
The Sexton 25 pounder self-propelled gun receiving finishing touches
The tank is overlooking the beach where troops landed
The son of a D-Day veteran has paid tribute to his father by donating a tank to a French museum.

Matthew Kiln's donation is also designed to honour all the soldiers who took part in the Normandy landings during World War II.

Mr Kiln took the 25 pounder Sexton self-propelled gun from his home in Bromley, Kent, to the Ver sur Mer museum in Normandy on Saturday.


The route the tank took is the same as the one my father and the troops took across from Portsmouth to Normandy

Matthew Kiln
It has been placed on a plinth overlooking Gold Beach, the location of a major surge of the British D-Day landings in which Mr Kiln's father Robert, took part.

Mr Kiln spent 12,000 restoring the machine to commemorate the bravery of his father, who died in 1997 aged 77, after serving in the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Yeomanry.

He bought it from a specialist second-hand vehicle dealer in Maidstone, Kent, and had it restored to its original colours and features.

Just before he crossed the English Channel on Friday, Mr Kiln, 46, a general practitioner, said: "My father died five years ago, it's something I feel he would have wanted, so I thought let's do it.

"I inherited money from him so I thought I would do it for him.

Major Robert Kiln
Major Robert Kiln died in 1997
"It's a tribute to everyone, not just my father. Having been over there and looking at some of the cemeteries.

"The Americans get all the stories but the British cemeteries are even sadder, if you look at all the stones, there are so many of them, so many killed on that day."

Mr Kiln said the journey with the tank, which was carried on the back of a transporter and taken by ferry from Portsmouth to Normandy, turned a few heads.

However, he said it was an appropriate route because it retraced the voyage taken by the original troops.

He said: "It's the same route that my father and the troops took across from Portsmouth to Normandy.

"I think the French press have called it the second landing."


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See also:

16 Jan 01 | Scotland
Piping his way into history
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