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Posts posted by BlueBelle

  1. The NZ Army in Libya WW2 used a similar device, the 'Thermette'. Google and ye shall see.

    The British Army has never, to my knowledge of them in Libya, ever had anything so 'sophisticated' though I'd be very happy to be otherwise verifiably informed. Improvisation seemed to be the game even when other means of boiling a billy (mess tin too) were available; nominally any small-medium sized metal drum or box, sometimes intentionally perforated, was dug a little way into the sand and then half-filled with sand and petrol (too hot!) or vehicle/gun oil (just right) and, this was the BENGHAZI BURNER. Even in the 1960s. Very useful in sandy climes but not recommended on heathland or in the woods.

  2. Take a look here: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1727&context=tsaconf

    Dunlop. Neoprene rubber substitute. 'Camouflarge cloth' ....secret. Air Ministry Ballon Section built them, so did Shepperton Studios. Search Google widely and deeply and ye shall reap 'facts'.

    My interest is Force R, who whilst they were the masters of deception in WW2, were at some point brought back into play for the Cold War ...... certainly in Tripolitania in 1955 and as an overtly Royal Engineer unit were based in at least one regiment's base at one time (Homs, 3RHA) to utilise a new unusualy large purpose built aircraft-type hanger ....on the edge of the parade square to house what is anyone's guess as I can't track much in the archives remotely from the lands unfit for human habitation. I was alerted to Force R by a Veteran of 3RHA who was there and he told me that the unit was based in their camp and that personnel of Force R were not allowed to mix with the troops stationed in Homs as 'their work was secret'. They dressed in quasi-military uniforms and were 'scruffy'! What I have found out officially is that Force R were indeed in Libya to build dummy V Force bomber diversionary airfields in the desert .... as the real RAF Idris was a known diversionary real airfield for when the 'balloon went up'. The thinking is the large hanger was for constructing/inflating dummy aircraft ... the hanger, even I can remember as a child there in 1959-61 was huge and most certainly was big enough to house a blow-up Vulcan or two! Whether there ever were inflatable British jet aircraft at that time, or after I know not. The hanger was not used for anything after 1957 when 3RHA departed, seemingly 'empty' during 6 and 2RTR's time in situ though no other Veteran could tell me what the hanger was used for even if they could remember it being there. So if you know anything about dummy airfields, inflatable aircraft and Cold War deception in Libya, do please sing out.

    • Thanks 3

  3. Where has sense and sensibility vapourised to? I'd love to go and see 'The British Cold War Museum' with lots of Lt Stone-coloured vehicles as exhibits too! Oh yes, the Cold War was part of the reason HM Armed Forces were in Libya, Malta, Gibraltar, Egypt and, er, a many other Near and Mid East places other than BAOR and the UK.

    RAF Idris, Tripoli was a dispersal airfield for the V-Bomber force, 22 Fd Engr regt RE openly built NBC defences in Tripolitania and, practiced for war against Soviet forces. At least one decoy airfield was built, inflatable decoy vehicles were deployed (though how many, types, where and exactly when I have yet to find out) and, as a decoy airfield existed, then surely decoy or scrapped aircraft would have been sat on it. Then just look at the might within the Wheelus Airbase, the biggest US airfield outside of the US ..... all those Mace and Matador missiles! The Matador being the world's first  first operational surface-to-surface cruise missile. Bomber, fighter and transport fleets and massive areas of desert bombing ranges. Yes, the chill of the Cold War was evident in Libya. A read of the good book by Griffin and Robinson should be had: 'The Royal Armoured Corps in the Cold War 1948-1990'.

  4. 79 Railway Sqn RCT & Wksp REME in the 70s also had them in BAOR as did the train crew and REME repair team of the British Berlin Military Train "The Berliner". Their versions switched to red and green light also, for obvious reasons, perhaps. The slot frame on the back of the lamp played a part in their usefulness.

    Manufacture by Chloride Bardic Ltd, once upon a time.

  5. Am I missing something here? Please can someone explain how a Ferret Mk1 gets to be a Ferret Mk2/5 having "never had a turret fitted'?

    I do like a good mystery.

    Without a turret, the Ferret is quite cute and would grace my drive quite suitably here in Calgary :goodidea:

  6. 1 hour ago, johnwardle said:

    Photo from another angle showing the layout of the air cylinders, in the description of the F.V.16103 in the Data Book of War Department G.S. B Vehicles dated 1960 it states that "There is in the order of 1 ft 6 in space available round the compressor" sorry about the quality of the photos

    Just the ticket John, thank you! Look at those angled corner lockers! I can't see if the air cylinders are sat in 'cups' to prevent the cylinder bases from sliding. Do you see them in your book? Is the photo you've taken a photo of the book or a scan?

  7. Engine starters - Tanks and Planes? No. Balloons? No. fill an air barrage balloon or any balloon with air and ..... see it stay on the ground. Unless it's hot air of course.

    From CMV Autumn 2013 I have extracted the slightly re-written info below:

    'The MRA1 'Dry air charging' (FV16103) was a conversion of the original cargo body by Strachans under contract 6/VEH/11579 for 29 vehicles. The body featured a Coventry Climax 4-cylinder engine driving a Reavell three-stage compressor mounted on a reinforced floor. The top edges of the front two body side panels and the forward bulkhead were extended upwards to allow the compressed air bottles (I say cylinders) and the associated pipework and control equipment to be supported. Two large cylinders were fitted each side, upright and clamped in, with another three smaller cylinders fitted over the wheel arches.

    The dry air charging trucks were intended for use with the hydro-pneumatic  recuperator fitted on the 5.5" Howitzer. In 1958 there were five medium regiments equipped with the 5.5" Howitzer and each Battery REME section had such a vehicle issued, operated by REME Armourers ( I say, Gun Fitters as Armourers only 'did' little guns, personal weapons, section machine guns and maybe the 'little guns' fitted as co-axial machine guns on some vehicles)'.

    I'm actually astonished they were using compressed air with its O2 content of 21% in an oily recuperator system. O2 under pressure with just a hint of a hydrocarbon material in or around the pressurised area can result in an explosion. Hence an inert, clean dry gas was 'normally', specifically Nitrogen as in say, suspension struts and so on. Some Howitzers of the same period seem to have had their recuperators charged with Nitrogen. Maybe someone on here knows more about recuperators on artillery pieces?

    Here is another gas safety lesson for you: The valve outlets on 02 and Nitrogen gas cylinders are identical, as are the cylinders themselves. Colours are different but can sometimes be difficult to distinguish so, the only way to tell what's in your gas cylinder is to read (and understand) the labelling on the cylinder. A recuperator around 2005 had just been serviced on a Royal Artillery 105mm L118 Light Gun and the gun was put to use to target the enemy in Afghanistan. On firing, the gun exploded in the fire pit; fortunately the gun crew were not killed and the live ammunition in the gun pit seemingly did not detonate. The recuperator had been mistakenly filled with O2 instead of N2, the recuperator's grease recated with the O2 under recoil pressure ..... Boom! The video, stills and story were rapidly withdrawn but not before I saw them and 'captured' what I needed to. Similarly, a gas suspension strut under a jacked-up 100 ton coal dump truck which was in for servicing ('somewhere in Nottinghamshire') and on axle supports had O2 released into the strut instead of N2 and an immediate explosion resulted - the truck collapsed onto the mechanic. I won't show you the photo - it's my line of business to make people safe around compressed and cryogenic gas and equipment and, if they've not heeded me and not learned to apply the imparted knowledge and implement a 'safe system of work' , I sometimes get called back to tell them what went wrong. 

    MRA1s are such dinky little trucks, even though they were 'hated' by their users in uniform.


    • Like 1

  8. DUKW's, LVTs, Terrapins were there and I'm sure I've seen a photo on the web of a Seep-type thing.  Spoilt for choice on what to take there! Except that perhaps some of those vehicle types are no longer resident in the UK? The hangers they used were on the site of RAF Morfa .... nip out of the camp, over the main railway lines onto the beach and into the water. Instead of a vehicle you could try to get one of the few types of aircraft (Queen Bees -radio controlled Tiger Moths and, Henleys ) that flew out of the airfield as target tugs for the AA 3.7" guns just a mile further north at Tonfanau Camp. RAF Morfa reverted to being an army-only camp shortly after the end of the war, if not slightly before.

    There is some stuff about Morfa Camp, the RMs (who may have called their bit of the camp, 'Neptune'), the army and the RAF on the web but I don't have the links to share anymore. Also remember this is Morfa, Towyn, Merioneth, not the other Morfa near the other Towyn near Liverpool! All place name spellings are correct, as was!

    Towyn station at one time had its own main line railway sidings and loading ramp, now long gone. Tonfanau camp, if I'm not mistaken, also had a railway siding coming off the main line very near to where the quarry siding take off. So you could take a train of sorts, as well to your 'do' if you did some homework to find out what was used and so on. A train with DUKWs, LVTs, Terrapins, Queen Bees and Henlys on board!


  9. 2 minutes ago, fv1609 said:

    The answer is yes I have & yes you can.

    Wow! Thank you Clive. I'm 'on standby'. This is so exciting .... I might end up buying the truck as well! No, that's not an offer to buy the truck .... honestly. So easy to get carried away. To email then I guess, Clive and a BIG "Thank You" again.

  10. 17 minutes ago, fv1609 said:

    Lizzie there is a detailed description with photos & diagrams of the welding truck in EMER WHEELED VEHICLES P 440/1, 441/1, 442/1. Up until May 1960 this was issued as EMER VEHICLES GENERAL R 210/6, 211/6, 212/6

    There are also similarly detailed sections on the dry air charging variant in EMER WV P 440/2 etc from EMER VG R 290/5 etc

    Thank you Clive. Fantastic information for which I'm most grateful. You know what's coming next ......

    If anyone has the above EMERS could they please photocopy/scan said info/diagrams/photos for me? All costs met. Hmmm, I bet there are no such EMERs for sale, not that I need the whole EMER. A search in a well known auction website came up with .... no EMERs.

  11. That is a nice looking truck, Mark. Do you have any photos or drawings that depict what the layout and fittings were/should be for a Welding truck? I have a few photos of Light Stone-painted Welder's MRA1s trundling around in Libya but none that give me a clue as to the interior of the 'cargo' bay. I bought the UHB, WO Code 17802 in the vain hope there would be much to see ..... no such luck as it doesn't cover any of the variants. Just the cargo truck and the chassis for the water truck.

    In writing about Libya/Tripolitania and army equipment, I desire to do so from a very well informed stance. You may just be able to help me though I'm sorry to say that I'm not in the market to buy your lovely little lorry.


  12. Jayne Bond here: A guess that it was to set off the explosive charges to release the towing point bolts of the mono-trailer from the hull rear. Why put there on the collimator I know not. This also implies that I don't know where the switch for performing that delicate task was! Yes, explosive bolts and a 200 gallon petrol tank!

  13. Of note with the 2RTR Centurions on parade is that they were the junior armoured regiment in the brigade, and they sported a white 51 on a red arm of service flash in addition to the mailed fist of 20 Armd Bde to denote their ranking. The other Centurions with their aux. fuel tank drums belong to the senior armoured regiment in the same brigade, the pony soldiers or donkey wallopers of 17/21 Lancers whose tanks and vehicles sported a white 50 on a red arm of service flash. Note the cavalry chaps 'go to war' in their khaki forage caps or stiff hats!

  14. Treasure! The Centurions of Ajax 2RTR rumble through the streets of Munster on the occasion of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June, 1953.

    The Centurions are camouflaged too! Oh no they're not! Oh yes they are! The photo expands to reveal all. 'A' vehicles of 2RTR at the time had a three colour camouflage scheme. The underside of the glacis plate, lower half of the turret, some turret bin front faces and the underside of the gun barrels were painted in Light-Battleship grey (the barrels having a wavy-pattern). The remainder of the vehicle was painted in gloss black and gloss green. None of the vehicles had the same camouflage patterns as they were "designed" by a sergeant in each squadron. 2RTR changed colour schemes to Deep Bronze Green in 1957. 2RTR were then based in Munster Loddenheide, Swinton barracks as part of 20 Armd Bde, along with 1RHA in the same complex at Waterloo Barracks. The flagman in the photo is from 17/21 Lancers based at Munster Gremmendorf, York Barracks. 

    Thank you for posting these great photos.

  15. Farewell to you Lords, Ladies, noble friends and those few of less than honourable intent, for the grains of Tripolitanian sands have ebbed from the timer of patience and tolerance, some grains seemingly misappropriated and becoming tainted, so I regret the best thing to do with regard to this thread which I love, is to turn it over to you to populate with your photos and interesting content. I shall perhaps look in from time to time as an outsider and provide, if I'm able, some history to what you've added.

    You can find me on LI and through my company website if you wish to connect. The quest to publish the Tripolitania book(s) continues unabated and I'm pleased to inform you that I've just received around 260 new and previously unseen photos featuring The Bays, 6RTR and 219 Tripolitania Royal Signals Squadron from Veterans who were there. Nearing 3,000 photos and slides now.

    Thank you for your participation, generousity and support.

    Kindest Regards,

    Lizzie Taylor

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  16. New format, missing the 'manage attachments' tool that used to be easily found and used on the old format HMVF. Can anyone provide a pointer please?

    Oddly enough, same thing about 'delete account' tool...... it looks a lot now like Hotel California .....  except you can't checkout and ... you can't leave!


  17. "110 psi is perfectly safe". No it is not. Even a gnat's whisker above atmospheric is a dangerous pressure. A 0.5 psi pressure is enough to penetrate the skin, an eyeball to cause an embolysm, usually fatal. Higher pressures than that, even under 110psi have proved fatal and I too have witnessed the aftermath of several fatality incidents where the blast from an unintended pressure release, three from air (receivers and tyres), another of nitrogen from a pressure vessel (and far to many from hydrogen, propane and acetylene - it's my core business, gas and pressure safety - but they don't call me in until its to late and after the event!). Pressure testing of vessels/tanks is a serious affair and, for certification purposes would normally be performed hydraulically (water) or with an inert gas (nitrogen). Air, with 21% O2 is not inert for this purpose.

    Oil under pressure, easily defeats skin and eyes too, causing the most horrific of flesh-eating type injuries. Amputation normally required. Always make the effort to be safe, stay safe.

    Perhaps a chat with someone from the DoT or elsewhere regarding Safety, Design, Construction and Use Regulations may prove advantagous. After all, you wouldn't want a catastrophic failure of your air receiver, I'm sure, especially if someone is nearby.

    What a great job you're doing with your DT.

  18. Sebha International Airport! Fantastic passenger terminal. Not seen that one before.

    The aircraft delivering to 2RTR is a USAF Douglas C54 Skymaster from 7272 Air Base Wing, Wheelus Field, Tripoli.

    Sick Parade at the ambulance for those with Tripoli Trots because someone filled the water trailer with water unfit for human consumption. Water trailer was abandoned. Fresh water found, jerrrycans filled for drinking/cooking and, empty fuel jerrycans filled with fresh water for engine cooling. Rationing. Fresh water further on, if you could make it ....... which they did. And, the water at the Toummo water hole was clean and safe to drink.

    Note the fuel dump, barbed wire.

    More photos from Keith tomorrow, he said. Isn't this exciting, dear followers of all things Light Stone? Not a question really but a statement! Unique history unfolding right at the tips of your fingers and in front of your eyes. You see, this thread can get through to those of you who have secret stashes of Libya photos to encourage you to share and add value to all you see and read here. Sometimes you know of a relative, a friend or colleague who has treasured photos like these and who can be persuaded to get them scanned and onto here or who will send them to me for scanning so that I can get put them up and consider some for the lonnnng awaited book I'm writing on the British Army in Tripolitania 1943-1966. Bring them folk and photos on, please do, but don't say that you will and then, a year later still do not deliver because you can't be bothered. It's happened over a whole treasure-trove of rare 6RTR Libya photos that were promised and I'm so disappointed. Keith's photos are here now though to enthral us, "thank you" Keith and, whose photos will be next, one wonders? Well, yes, more of mine of course!

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