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Post Info TOPIC: Mephisto's Whereabouts.


Legend

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Mephisto's Whereabouts.
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Mr. Josh Tarrant, the very kind Information Officer at the Queensland Museum & Sciencentre (sic), has been good enough to send the following reply to my enquiry about Mephisto's welfare:

The January 2011 flooding entered the display enclosure for Mephisto and came part way up its tracks. As soon as the flood water abated, Mephisto was cleaned and conservation treatment commenced to prevent rusting or any other deterioration. This initial treatment successfully stabilised the exposed surfaces.

The Queensland Museum has begun a program of building improvements that includes the construction of a public staircase linking each of the exhibition floors, commencing in the area where Mephisto has been displayed for the past 18 years. This means that Mephisto must be moved, and provides the Museum with the opportunity to undertake a comprehensive conservation assessment to identify short, medium and long-term conservation needs including any preservation treatment that may be required. Because of Mephisto's mass and size this work can only take place in an appropriate off-site facility.

Mephisto has been on display at the Queensland Museum since 1919, and once the conservation work is completed we are planning its return to the South Bank museum. As you would appreciate there has been considerable public interest in both the preservation work and the return of Mephisto. Our insurer has advised that the current location should not be publicly disclosed, and as such we regret that we will be unable to provide you with such† information. We will be photo-documenting the entire conservation assessment and any consequential preservation treatment and will be making these photographs publicly available through the Queensland Museum website once this work has concluded. I anticipate that Mephisto will be off
display for approximately 12 months, and I encourage you to keep a watch on our website (www.qm.qld.gov.au) for news of its return.



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Legend

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You got the standard polite reply - Mephisto was supposed to be returned to the Museum in August 2012 - so far no sight of it.

Regards,

Charlie



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Legend

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Oh, well. At least it's polite.



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Colonel

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And at least he got a reply at all - and one which makes some sort of sense. I wonder if there was a delay in funding, or if there was a change of plan as to work needed, for instance to fabricate special items or to soak in anti-corrosion liquid (perhaps once they took it down and could see what the issues were).

I'd much rather they took their time and did a proper job with due respect to the existing paintwork and structure - like the F4 Corsair restoration at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton UK on which there is an excellent book "Corsair KD431 Time Capsule Fighter" by David Morris.

I was slightly surprised there are no interim photo reports but on a little reflection I expect it is to prevent anyone recognising the facility and people involved, i.e. to follow the insurance company's request.

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Lieutenant

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The insurance company says that they can't reveal where the tank is being restored?

That seems odd to me.

Isn't it a government funded museum and project?

Doesn't the public have a right to know where their property is being working on?

I would complain to a government official. It's not like the technology is secret.

Mike "Bunkermeister" Creek
http://bunkermeister.blogspot.com/

"As our nation's forefathers would likely agree, the beguiling problem with quotes seen on the Internet is that you can never be certain they're genuine."
-- Abraham Lincoln



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Mike "Bunkermeister" Creek


Legend

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Assuming Mr. Tarrant is to be believed and is not involved in a conspiracy of any kind, the insurers have "advised" that the current location should not be publicly disclosed. I should have thought that taking the advice of one's insurers in such a matter is a good idea.



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Legend

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There is a new state government in Qld with the LNP (Liberal National Party) in power. This Govt has been slashing spending on many projects -

usually those which LNP mates don't have a financial interest. Whether the Qld Museum project funding continues isn't known as yet. The LNP

Govt. has also been mass sacking public servants - some 14,000 jobs will go - including my partner who worked for QHealth.

If Qld can't display the A7V the museum should give it to the AWM in Canberra or even Bovington - would believe the LNP would sell the A7V if

they could.

Regards,

Charlie



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Legend

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Whatever the degree of the individual's fear/resentment of government, the slashing of public spending is appears to be ubiquitous. You naturally have my sympathy, Charlie. What other contributors to this thread might think of the concept of universal health care, I cannot say.

But that is beside the point. Brian Crozier, formerly of QM, was complaining about cuts and the prospect of job losses a decade ago. He also said that the AWM were constantly trying to relieve QM of Mephisto, something which was stoutly resisted. From what I gather, he did become a victim of cutbacks, but, happily, it seems he is operating in a freelance capacity: http://www.museumandhistoryservices.com/index.htm



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Legend

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I can understand why public spending is being slashed in the US and Europe but Australia pretty much dodged the GFC thanks to

Chinese demand for Iron ore and Coking coal, Govt stimulus programs and the local banks didn't invest in shonky derivatives (the banking

regulator would have savaged them if they had).†

The cutbacks seem to be some sort of aping of conservative movements in other countries who are, as far as we can see, in shitter's

ditch. The AWM is in a terrible position because they keep getting landed with various bits of obsolete military gear such as a†

Caribou transport plane which they have to store but there is never an increase in funding just increased demands on their

resources.

The situation of the A7V certainly bears watching closely. At least the Qld Museum has said that the A7V won't be located on the ground floor

of the museum when it comes back so it should be safe from future floods.†

Regards,

Charlie



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Captain

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My understanding is that Mephisto is on permanent loan to the QLD Museum from the AWM.

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Legend

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The AWM would have you believe that - it's not true. The tank was recovered by a Queensland Battalion (6th from memory) and when the war trophies were brought

back from Europe Mephisto was unloaded at Brisbane into the care of the Queensland Museum - the rest of the war trophies went to Melbourne.

Mephisto has never belonged to the AWM or†anyone else except for the Qld Museum.

Regards,

Charlie



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Sergeant

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Mephisto's capture.

"On the night of the 13th July, the 28th Battalion was relieved by the 26th Battalion which consisted mainly of Queenslanders, together with some Tasmanians. Shortly after midnight the 26th Battalion sent out patrols to probe the German positions held by the 148th Infantry Regiment. They moved through the Orchard, along the Demuin Road and captured a section of the Stamboul Trench, just to the west of the trees. At 6 pm that evening an assault party from B Company, comprising of Lieutenant J.O. Gibson and eight men, advanced further down Stamboul Trench and captured the junction with Syria Trench after a stiff grenade fight with the German garrison. At the same time, two other parties captured the Syria Trench, west of the Demuin Road, while men from D Company made a successful bombing attack through the orchard east of the road, which pushed beyond MEPHISTO. A subsequent advance on the night of the 17 July, as part of a wider operation to improve the Allied line in front of Villers-Bretonneux, established the outposts further beyond the tank. Veterans of the 26th Battalion, Mr R. Caplick and Mr W.J. Barrett, recall that MEPHISTO was a German strong-point and that there were several dead Germans in the tank a the end of the fighting.

The battalion's commanding officer, Major (later Lieut-Colonel) J.A. Robinson, was keen to salvage MEPHISTO, although it had been quite badly damaged before capture. With approval from General E. A Wisdom (commanding the 7th Brigade, of which the 26th battalion was part) he liaised with Major Harrington of the Tank Corps and artillery officers and planned an operation for the night of 22 July. MEPHISTO was examined by men from the 1st Gun Carrier Company and a recovery route was selected. although the 23rd Battalion took over the front line on the night of the 19th July, working parties from the 26th Battalion came forward during the two nights preceding the operation to prepare the route.

The tank lay in full view of the Germans, so the recovery operation had to be carried out at night with careful precaution against discovery. The 23rd Battalion pushed outposts as far forward as possible. After dark on the 22 July, two tanks of the 1st Gun Carrier Company with a detail of 23 men crept forward from Villers-Bretonneux, accompanied by a party of 12 men from the 26th Battalion under the command of Sergeant F.R. Hansen. To disguise the noise of the operation, a light artillery barrage was launched on the German lines and aircraft flew low across the front. Apparently by coincidence the Germans also were active that night, launching a heavy gas attack around Villers-Bertonneux, including Monument Wood. Mustard gas shells plopped around the recovery team who toiled away with the added discomfort of wearing gas masks.

One of the 26th Battalion party, Mr S.F. Smith, recalls that by 9pm the recovery tanks had been attached to MEPHISTO and its tracks had been carefully oiled to prevent noises which might alert the Germans. It was dragged from the shell hole, back through the orchard. By now, all of the men were suffering form the prolonged exposure to Mustard gas and had to fall out, one after another. But before dawn MEPHISTO had been hidden under camouflage among the trees in the eastern edge of the Bois dŃquenne and a false trail had been laid to deceive German aircraft observers.

MEPHISTO was taken to the 5th Tank Brigade demonstration ground at Vaux-en-Amienous, near Amens. On arrival the tank showed sighs of its ordeal. a large hole had been blown through the roof on the front right-hand side and another explosion had caused damage a little further back at the base of the turret. The flap between the front tracks had been broken in half and an explosion had buckled steel plates just in front of the fuel tanks. By early August, many fittings had been stripped. Photographs taken at at this time show the tank looking worn and abandoned with fuel tanks. a radiator, machine-gun mountings and other components strewn around. Part of the driving platform had been removed and placed on top of the tank behind the turret. It is reported that the German carburettors, which had been damaged by the fire were replaced with Zenith units but that these were taken by the Australians who were particularly enthusiastic souvenir hunters.

The exterior also had been receiving attention. An Australian artist decorated the left side with a painting of a loin resting his paw on an A7V, presumably a response to the illustration of Mephistopheles on the front of the tank".




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Commander in Chief

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Certainly a battered old girl on capture.

( One picture of this is captioned as being Elfride)



I found both of these amongst this list. http://www.aviarmor.net/tww2/photo/germany/a7v/?ND



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Phil from Brisbane

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I have included a link to a photo of the Queensland tank that I took in 1987, before they enclosed it in perspex. †These kids will remember the experience for the rest of their lives.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201947923604314&set=p.10201947923604314&type=1&theater&notif_t=like



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Sergeant

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To Bunkermeister and others..

I live in Ipswich, and I can tell you, you may think we are in a Democracy, but infact it is an elected dictatorship... just look at the Pollies giving them selves up to 30% pay increase, etc, while slashing everyone else's spending & jobs galore...

on a lighter side, they set up a special fund to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WW1 and Anzac Landings, and put 85 Million Dollars into it...  yes $85,000,000.  When they could not find 25 Million to help workers in Victoria...

My big Concern is what are they going to Waste it on.  as there is no public discussion, plans are not open to review, or tender. etc... a Committee decides who gets what... and what safeguards there are that the public gets quality or value for money...

I have already come across one glaring blunder, they made a series of very poorly executed WW1 Recruiting Posters... (there are others in their series just as bad)

copy below... I owned an original that I had scanned into my computer before the flood of 2011...

the comparison does not accurately show, just how dark their poster actually is (as the computer has lightened theirs slightly., but you can get some ice of how much shadow detail was lost... (mind you I am a professional Photographer & retoucher, and I have over worked mine do death, to hide damaged areas)

My point is, if this is what they though was good enough to sell to the public... just how good are some of the other decisions they are making...  IE what lack of Quality Control they show...

so I would questions, as to just how well their "restoration" of the A7V is... is near enough good enough.? or is sloppy low standards now the norm.

Sandy Barrie. Hon. LM. AIPP.



-- Edited by nurgle on Thursday 27th of March 2014 10:38:02 AM

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Sergeant

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another "mistake"... I can understand them wanting to reproduce they poster exactly as it is NOW... though the original was never that dark..

but to leave the Cockroach Scat (shit) in the final print.... what were they thinking...  did they care what the customer may think...

some decisions by them bewilder me...

Sandy



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