Operation: Restoration

Breathing new life into a piece of the past

By Gillian Brunette

“If you are going to write about the carrier then you should take a ride in it.”

And with those words (and my one-hour interview concluded) Richard Hatkoski led the way from his office onto the production floor of Commercial Pallet, where a restored 1942 Universal Carrier, more commonly referred to as a Bren Gun Carrier, awaited.

Climbing up and onto what would have been the gunner’s seat and with Hatkoski at the controls, we ventured out into Baysville’s backcountry. Noisy and cramped, the tracked carrier can exceed 30 mph and turn on a dime. After an exhilarating 15 minutes we returned to base, the experience offering a better understanding of the workings of the carrier and a deep respect for those who operated them behind enemy lines…

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