VIP truck
moving tribute to
a tragic Army hero

It has ferried blue bloods, film stars, and even supermodels around one of the finest pheasant shooting estates in North Yorkshire.

But the Land Rover 101 Forward Control started its life as a humble military vehicle used by army mortar teams.

It was then bought for use as a shooting truck on the Zetland estate in Richmond.

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For the past 18 years it has protected its venerated passengers from the biting winds and bitter cold of the North Sea as they aim to bag themselves a bird, or two.

During the last few years of its working life it carried pheasant beaters, whose job it is to flush the birds out from their hiding places.

Now new owner Julian Didelot has spent almost £3,000, and countless man hours, restoring it to its former glory in memory of the gamekeeper’s son killed while serving in Afghanistan.

Mr Didelot said: “The Land Rover 101 Forward Control, to use its full title, was brought out for the mortar section of the military.

“When I was in the Green Howards, 2nd Battalion – Delta Company, in the early 1970s we were one of the first units to evaluate them.

“They were just what was needed at the time, absolutely amazing.

“They could carry a ton and pull a ton – a brilliant concept.

“Over the years they started to appear on shoots ferrying passengers, because of the load capacity and as a 4X4 they could handle any weather or terrain.

“The estate bought this one around 18 years ago and we have used it on the shoot ever since.

“It’s a fact they are to be found on shoots all around the country, especially on grouse moors where the going can be seriously tough.

“Because it’s got long legs (high ground clearance) and huge pay load it’s an ideal vehicle.

“Sadly, I’m not at liberty to say who, but she has carried many, many VIPs over the years.”

The estate P-reg Land Rover has 3.5 litre, V8 petrol engine now converted to electronic ignition which makes it an “excellent starter”, according to Mr Didelot.

Its name comes from the fact that, unlike with other more conventionally designed Land Rovers, the driver sits above the 101’s front wheels for better control.

The driving position offers a greater all-round-view as you sit higher above the road.

Mr Didelot is a country journeyman who has worked for the Zetland Estate and many others since the mid-1980s.

The 63-year-old lives in Whitby with his partner Christine and their youngest daughter.

He told the Yorkshire Post the motivation behind his decision to restore the Land Rover was inspired by the person who used to sit behind the wheel.

Mr Didelot said: “The estate’s gamekeeper is Mike Scott.

“His son, Phillip, was one of the main drivers.

“Later he joined the Army – he served with the 3rd Battalion, The Rifles (3 RIFLES). But when he came home on leave he still drove the 101 on shoot dates.

“Tragically he was killed on November 5, 2009, by a roadside bomb while on duty in Helmand Province.

“The Earl of Ronaldshay took over the running of the estate from the Marquis a few years ago.

“And so, over the years the Land Rover had come to the end of its working life on the estate.

“I was very kindly given the opportunity to purchase the vehicle from the earl, so duly bought it, with restoration in mind.

“As we all miss Phil so much I decided to do it, and name it in his memory, and now the last thing to do is get it through it’s MoT.

“Then I’ll will put it up for sale.

“Now it looks great, just like when it rolled out from the military.

“It’s a fitting tribute to Phillip who was a wonderful person and a family friend.”

Sjt Scott, 30, who was born and grew up in Malton, was a section commander with the elite Recce Platoon, 3 RIFLES.

“Scotty”, as he was known, was deployed to serve in Afghanistan in September 2009 alongside his brother Serjeant Robin Scott.

The 30-year-old was stationed in Edinburgh and was married with two children.

He was killed by a roadside bomb while helping to clear the town of Sangin in Helmand province.

A career soldier, he aspired to pass Special Forces selection after completing that particular tour of Afghanistan.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said Sjt Scott had “excelled at everything in his career and this (selection) would have been entirely within his abilities.

“He showed almost infinite potential and was certainly on a path of rapid promotion and excellence.”

His widow Ellen added: “My husband was a very brave man, loved by all his family and a very dear husband and father.”