Vintage war truck will be star of the Pendley Shakespeare Festival

12-448    Lee Marsh and his 1944 Dodge weapon carrier at Hemel Hempstead.
12-448 Lee Marsh and his 1944 Dodge weapon carrier at Hemel Hempstead.
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A HISTORY enthusiast has lent his World War Two vehicle to appear in a theatre company’s open-air Shakespeare festival.

Lee Marsh could be upstaged by his dodge weapon’s carrier when it drives on stage during the production of Much Ado About Nothing at Pendley Manor, in Tring, during August 7 to 11.

12-448    Lee Marsh and his 1944 Dodge weapon carrier at Hemel Hempstead.

12-448 Lee Marsh and his 1944 Dodge weapon carrier at Hemel Hempstead.

The 1944 vintage truck has certainly seen a lot of action - of a different kind - but for the entertainment of theatre goers in the area it will be the play’s most interesting prop.

He said: “Pendley Shakespeare Festival decided to do Much Ado About Nothing with a World War Two theme because it’s a Jubilee and Olympic year.

“I bought the truck for about £5,000 from a guy in Belgium. It was filed in 1944, came across Europe and served with the American forces at the end of the war it was transferred to the French army until the 1970s and was bought by a private collection and eventually sold at auction.”

Lee spent five years and another £6,000 transforming the vehicle to it original condition and on June 5 this year he will be leaving for Normandy where he will take part in a memorial for the American Army Nursing Corps.

He will back in time for the truck to be in the limelight at the Tring production.

The details are yet to be finalised, but Lee thinks the truck will be driven on stage where it will decamp a group of soldiers.

The 62-year-old from Berkhamsted is playing a variety of small background parts in the play and is excited to see his pride and joy, which he nicknames The Beast of Berkhamsted, take an important role.

It will be the first time his dodge has been used in a play but it has on many occasions been the centre of attention.

Lee, who is a history teacher, is a member of the First Allied Airborne Association and travels around in the dodge to take part in re-enactments.

He said: “The great thing about having the dodge is as soon as I leave my home wearing my kit and driving the truck, I’m re-enacting straight away.”