Roller Repair: Fanshawe students refurbish World War II tank “Holy Roller”

London, Ontario – Students from Fanshawe College’s Bodywork and Welding programs were recently entrusted with an incredible piece of Canadian history as they helped refurbish the Holy Roller Sherman tank in commemoration of the 78th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

More than 8,000 hours were spent on the restoration; the tank, which landed on D-Day and fought in northwestern Europe until the end of World War II, had remained on display in Victoria Park in London, Ontario, for decades. In 2021, volunteers started dismantling and repairing parts as well as sandblasting and repainting the bodywork.

“It’s been two years [and] a lot of work and a lot of research. It looks a lot like it would have looked in World War II,” said Ian Haley, a former lieutenant colonel and commanding officer of the reserve armored regiment, 1st Hussars. London Free Press.

“When we moved the tank, things were shaken and moved,” he added. Some of these “things” included tools, casings and a British two pence minted in 1797.

The refurbished tank’s interior will be closed to the public, as it always has been, but Fanshawe College students created a visual tour during the restoration and will provide a full look inside afterward, Haley said.