Photos Loss of Centurion AVRE's during Op Granby.


Mi Private
MI.Net Member
May 12, 2009
I am trying to find out the circumstances of the loss of three Centurion AVRE's during a two day period, in the build up to Granby. A question to the MOD under the freddom of information act has given some info but can anyone add to their reply

and a transcript because the electronic version is a bit scrambled!!

Mrs K Winmill LF Sec Ops 2b
Headquarters Land Forces
Erskine Barracks
Wiltshire SP2 0AG
E-mail: 01722 43 3138
01722 43 3138
Reference: LF Sec/1/37/6/51432
Date: 11 May 2009
Dear Mr Fincher
Request for Information - Case number: 20-04-2009-125246-005
Further to my letter to you of 6 May, I am now in a position to reply to your request concerning the Centurion AVRE incident.
There were 12 Centurion AVREs sent on Operation Granby of which 3 were lost in training in 2 separate incidents involving vehicle fires and subsequent detonation on in-board munitions. A single AVRE was destroyed in the first incident on 5 February 1991 and two were destroyed in the second incident on 6 February 1991. I have been unable to locate copies of any accident reports, however, it has been suggested that information might be found in the following 2 published documents:
The House of Commons Defence Committee, 10th Report 1990-91 Session;
Preliminary Lessons of Operation Granby (HMSO, 17 July 1991).
I attach a copy of a photograph of the second explosion from the 6 February incident which was provided by the Armoured Centre in Bovington. They believe that there were 4 injuries resulting from this explosion: 3 personnel sustained minor burns and one had a stone break the skin behind his knee.
I am sorry that I am unable to provide any further information on these incidents.
Yours sincerely,
Mrs K Winmill
LF Sec Ops 2b
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by god thats some explosion, great post :eek:
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one of the AVREs was lost due to petrol fumes ignited whilst cooking in the vehicle, if i remember correctly the other two were lost due to accidental ignition of giant viper rockets while testing the firing curcuit
i was there....

while browsing the internet i came accross this incident. i was there on the day and saw it all unfold. we had parked up in troop line for an orders group when the first fire broke out. "wolfy" the pod op was washing the airfilters/ engine decks with benz (pink petrol) while a crew member was using a cooker (i believe inside the turret) the fumes flashed through and the first avre caught alight (think this was john mudds tank driven by sparky). as it began to cook off the column starburst but one AVRE could not (either dead or too dangerous to move). there was then the largest explosion i have ever seen. 70 odd 165 rounds, 30 cal and 50 cal ammunition, personal arms and grenades plus full fuel tanks went up in a second. this caught the second alight and the process was repeated.
apparently road wheels were landing over 2 miles away in an arty base who thought at first they had "in comming"!!!

both tanks were from 31 armoured engineer sqn 32 armoured engineer regt and i believe 5 troop. cpl mudd was definatly one of the commanders but not sure about the second.

all that was left of the 2 avres was one track which i have a photo of me sitting on :)

Has anyone other photograhs of the incidents, or images of the wrecked vehicles, after the events?

only thing to survive of the two that went up during the cooking incident was one track. i have images of before during and after.

Great info and pics I defo saw one of these blow up, i was with 23 bty 2nd field Regt RA.
For anybody reading this, the type of vehicle blown up

Here is the same explosion from another angle (small pic sorry)
cent avre exploding.jpg

EDIT - Found a bigger pic

AVRE Centurian Unexpectedly Explodes.jpg
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The chain of events was Csqn QRIH had returned from exercise, from our position we heard a large explosion and saw a burning vehicle, 11a was scrambled carrying lt Cameleri, the bandsman sergeant (forgotten his name) and medical kit whilst the 432 (ambulance) was de camed and sent out.
11A arrived at the scene to find the burning tank by which time the 432 was on its way, a german fox came close to the "Rescuers" and the commander shouted some choice words at the "Rescuers" along the lines that going away sharpish would be a good idea (in no uncertain terms)
at this point the 432 arrived and placed its self between the the burning AVRE and the land rover (mainly due to the fact that it was the squadron leaders pride and joy and we didn't want it scratched)
The medical team then transferred to the 432 that started to reverse away from the burning AVRE the land rover behind it reversed back using the 432 as cover.
When the AVRE blew, a reasonable size chunk (allegedly a heat shell) hit a saracen bin that was fixed over the engine hatch of the 432, the land rover was un damaged.
I also would like to see more pictures of it, I was the one in the land rover.