Historic moment

Here is a little story of how I got infected with "the green thing".

My earliest memories in which military vehicles play a roll go back to 1973. I had to go to hospital for some minor surgery. Since my family felt sorry for me,they gave me a lot of presents. The toys I liked most were given by my great grand parents. They gave me some Dinky Toys like a jeep, a Kubelwagen and a PAK canon. Great stuff to play with. As years passed by my interest for military history grew. It was fed by the exciting stories my grandfather told me about the Second World War. Stories like how they stole from the Germans or how they exercised with parachuted weapons like Stenguns. Like many young kids I played soldier and bought old army stuff at the dumpstore. When I got older I started reading about the war and collecting books on thesubject. When on holiday I "forced" my parents to visit war related places and museums. I always hoped to buy a jeep as my first car. Since WW2-jeeps aren't as practical as a car for daily use I made a compromise when I got my drivers license. My first car became a Suzuki LJ-80Q (which I do still have). In 1993 my father saw a Ford jeep for sale in the newspaper. We went to have a look and decided to buy it. Once we got the jeep I started to collect militaria to dress it up. These days I have my jeep, I am saving money for a Dodge WC-54, collect books on World War Two, make battlefield trips, visit war museums, I have this website etc...etc.......etc.

Here one can see the earliest photo of me standing next to a military vehicle. This must have been one of the moments that decided a part of my life. It was taken in the middle of the seventies at the old section of Schiphol Amsterdam Airport. I remember the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was visiting Holland.On a Sunday afternoon there was a static show on the platform of the airport. Next to the Hurricane, Spitfire and AVRO Lancaster there was a show of military vehicles. My father took the family to the airport and photographed us. This is probably the moment that I first saw a Dodge WC-54 ambulance. I am the one standing on the left, next to me is my little brother. By then I didn't know I'd be infected with the "green virus" for the rest of my life. The photo on the right was taken nearly 25 years later in July 2000.Marcel Brinkhorst, the owner of the vehicle, offered me to drive his 1942 Dodge WC-54 ambulance. It felt like heaven!

Dodge WC-54 and little Dennis                     Dennis drives Dodge

These photos were taken in the autumn of 1998. No doubt  I had the "green thing" running through my veins by then. The photo of me sitting in a GMC was taken in one of the halls of  Museum Bevrijdende Vleugels, Best, The Netherlands. I could not resist climbing into this GMC truck. What a privileged persons must the GI's who drived this "closed cab" truck have been compared to their fellow soldiers driving in "open" vehicles like the jeep. The other photo was taken in front of one of the Sherman tanks outside the museum.

Dennis in GMC.jpg (40574 bytes)                 DennisSherman.jpg (54623 bytes)