War truck will steel the show

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.

A HISTORY enthusiast has loaned his Second World War vehicle to appear in Tring’s annual open-air Shakespeare festival – and he’s in the cast as well.

Lee Marsh’s Dodge weapons carrier will take to the stage during the production of Much Ado About Nothing at Pendley Manor in August.

He said: “Pendley 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 its original condition.

Next month he will be heading off for Normandy where he will take part in a memorial for the American Army Nursing Corps.

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

Details of exactly how the vehicle will be used 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 such an important role.