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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Tourist Dukw is to take to water
The Plymouth duck
The Plymouth Dukw can can carry up to 28 passengers
An armoured vehicle originally built during World War II is to become a permanent tourism feature in Devon.

The amphibious carrier, known as a Dukw (or Duck), has been converted to take tourists around Plymouth Sound.

A modern top has been put on the vehicle's original 1942 chassis after it was to taken to east Devon where it was stripped and rebuilt.

Dukws were used to carry supplies from ships to points on land. They were used extensively during the D-Day landings.

DUKW - GMC code
D - 1942 year code
U - Amphibious utility vehicle
K - Front wheel drive
W - Two rear-driving axles

The original rusting hulk was brought to Exeter and rebuilt before being taken for sea-trials in Exmouth.

The six-wheeled, 10-tonne yellow machine can now carry up to 28 passengers.

Nigel Maeer, of Blackhill Engineering, said: "To see it out in the water is absolutely brilliant. It has finished the job off nicely."

Although American designed, many of the vehicles were assembled in Plymouth, and the homecoming has not been lost on those operating it.

Howard Slater of Ducks 'n' Drake said: "They were brought over by the Americans, they were assembled here, and, in fact, the slip road we are going to use is the same slipway the Americans used to launch them in the first place."

Inside the Dukw
More than Dukws 21,000 were manufactured
Former Dukw driver Roy Marshall saw the sea-trial in Exmouth by chance. He drove one while he was in the services in 1948.

He recalled: "You used to have change the tyre pressures with a lever in the dashboard. You had to change the pressure for going into water and again for coming out.

"It brings back memories seeing the old Dukw."

The name Dukw came about by chance. The vehicle was based on the General Motors Corporation's (GMC) standard army truck and GMC's single-letter coding system for features of military equipment worked out to spell the acronym.

More than 21,000 were manufactured.


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See the Dukw in action



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