From Wheelchair To Tank? The Story Of An Epic Transformation

A Shropshire man pays tribute to his WWII Veteran dad by making over his wheelchair to look like a tank.

Peter Shaw, 60, hit upon the idea for the transformation after his father’s standard wheelchair became stuck in the sand while visiting a beach. His idea was to convert the wheelchair to be able to manoeuvre just like the tanks that his father bravely fended off in action during his military service.

Community help

After discussing his idea for the conversion with a few friends, news of his project got out to the local community. People were happy to help, and his makeover was given a helping hand with many parts being donated by local businesses.

With the kind assistance of three friends, it took Mr Shaw just 30 hours over one weekend to perform the transformation, and cost around £500 in total for the rebuild.

Powered by a 4.5 bhp Honda engine, which was fitted into the frame of a motorised wheelbarrow, the wheelchair is still operated from behind.

The inspiration behind the build

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Mr Shaw said, “My dad was attacked by tanks during the Second World War — so I thought it would be fitting to create him this. He never got chance to ride them but managed to fight one off with anti-tank missiles. Now this is his chance to have his own little tank.”

With a top operational speed of 8 mph, the tank-chair is able to reverse, making it easier to navigate in and out of confined spaces, and Mr Shaw even fitted a van seat to the framework to make journeys more comfortable for his father.

Now that his wheelchair has been modified, mainly using a motorised wheelbarrow and some tank tracks, the new tank wheelchair means that Eddie Shaw, 96, can now visit the beach as many times as he likes without trouble. He is reported to be really pleased with his new wheelchair, and has successfully road-tested it on the beach where he first became stuck.

Eddie Shaw served as a sergeant during world war two, supplying essential ammunition and fuel to soldiers fighting on the front line and in enemy territory. He courageously fought off a German tank attack with an anti-tank weapon, while serving in an Algerian minefield in 1942.

New-found freedom

The wheelchair does bring back memories of the war for Mr Shaw, but he is more than thrilled with the new upgrades made to his chair by his son and his son’s friends, and this will now allow him better access to enjoy the beaches and the Welsh countryside that he has longed to visit for some time now.

The new-found freedom that Peter Shaw has given to his father has been life-changing for the both of them. For Eddie, being confined to a wheelchair isn’t exactly fun, but with the new and improved manoeuvrability of the chair, both father and son can now enjoy environments that were previously off-limits to them.

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