The tank sitting on the hillside by the Lt. Colonel Clifton Centre , looking over Swift Current Creek, has an interesting history.

Many folks who have driven passed on 6 Avenue Northeast will have noticed the tank, and plenty have stopped and inspected the old war wagon.

While most folks are respectful and simply enjoy the sight of the machine, some have vandalized it over the years, with zero regards for Dora's significance.

That's how Andy Keys, a volunteer caretaker for Dora, ended up involved with the tank.

"I've just taken it upon myself after the first little bit of graffiti, which was about six or seven years ago," said Keys. "It was just because I have a little bit of history with the British Army, and it was in a very bad state."

After cleaning up the vandalism inflicted, Keys worked to upkeep the tank, repairing some of the rust and wear that had built up on the tank since it had been parked.

It was in his efforts to take proper care of the tank, he discovered more about its history.

Dora is a late-model Sherman tank, having been built and sold at the end of the war. Equipped with a 76mm cannon, and an increased armoured plating, the tank was originally destined to be sent to Russia via the lend-lease program.

As the war came to an end, the shipment to Russia was never realized. The tank ended up making its way to Alberta.

"It went to the King's own Calgary Regiment in Stettler," shared Keys. "It served with them from 1952 to 1963, and then that's when the I think the regiment might have been closed or decommissioned at that time, so it was then brought here shortly after that."

Dora was decommissioned, which meant she had her gun disabled, her engines and transmission removed, and her turret ring welded in place along with all her hatches to keep troublemakers out. Originally, the tank was equipped with a set of two Detroit 6671 six-cylinder diesel engines with a five-speed transmission driving the tracks.

Originally, this tank wasn't Dora. She gained the name after Keys and others worked to restore her to reflect the original Dora that served with the local regiment overseas in the war.

"There were three Sherman tanks that were stationed here," revealed Keys. "We picked that one when we refurbished it about seven years ago and named it Dora just because, through the historic pictures that we could find, Dora seemed to us as if it was the command vehicle because it had three antennas on top."

The other two tanks that would have served alongside the original Dora were named Dolly and Dory.

Currently, Dora is enjoying a fresh coat of paint after having been again vandalized earlier this year. Keys and his same group got together again and resupplied Dora with a fresh coat of paint, removing the spray paint and sprucing up the tank.

During a previous refurbishment, Keys managed to open the tank, which now is fitted with a lock and key, and got into the interior and helped maintain that space as well. Originally, five grown men would have operated the tank with a driver, a gunner, a loader, a hull gunner/co-driver, and a commander.

"It is still very interesting and we've taken people around the inside of it just to show him how cramped it is," said Keys.

There are currently no plans to restore the tank to running order again, as it does a wonderful job of standing on display. Although who's to say what the future might hold?

"It will take a lot of work, but I do know there's people out there that do that kind of thing," said Keys. "I have heard of lots of people refurbishing and getting them up into working condition. I have heard of people restoring tanks that have been in a much worse state than what this one is."

As you go about town this Remembrance Day, you may drive past Dora up on her hill. While this particular vehicle never saw the European theatre, it's a good time to stop and consider all those that did serve in armoured divisions and the sacrifices they made whilst abroad and overseas.