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Posts posted by BlueBelle

  1. On 8/3/2019 at 11:04 AM, Chris marsh 1955 said:

    I came across this feed by accident, my father Staff Sargent George "Arty" Marsh RE was in Lybia mid 50's till 61 ish I believe, my 2 younger sisters were born there. Dad looked after a power station water pump somewhere near Leptis Magna if I remember the location correctly. He was seconded to the tank regiment there and have proof as me and my sister can be seen playing on them on some old 8mm cine film my dad took. There is also a massive parade in the desert with literally hundreds of military vehicles, tanks, ferrets, trucks etc etc. My email is chris_marsh2@sky.com, I could possibly send some footage in return some history on my dad I'd anyone new him.

    We are connected now ..... even though I'd not looked at this thread for 18 months! He has info, official docs and photos from me now. Happiness.

    • Like 3

  2. On 3/29/2020 at 3:06 PM, len lucas said:

    Hi, I hope you will excuse me for butting in on your site. I served in Tripoli in 1957/58/59 with X Plt TK-Tprs 38 Coy R A S C. based at Medenine Bks driving Diamond T units pulling dyson trailers. We served the Queens Bays at Sabratha and the 6 RTR at Homs . From memory they were both equiped with ceturion tanks. I do have a few photos that may be of interest. Thanks and many regards   23472848 Len Lucas

    Hello Len,

    I wonder if you had a big brother there same time as yourself? 22848487 Cpl Douglas Harold Lucas RASC 38 (MT) Coy RAMC? I have records for him, his wife and children born in Tripoli and baptised at Christ The King.

    I've messaged you privately but no response, perhaps you're not logging in to check for a response or that your settings are not selected to notify you by email that you've got a new message. It would be great to connect as I'd like to further my research on shifting Centurions around Tripolitania. One of your DTs tripped up the snake-bended Garian Pass carrying a 'German' Sexton SPG from Medenine Barracks to the desert location of the film 'Ice Cold in Alex'. Another DT from 'your place' would have taken the same Sexton, still in its DAK livery, from 595 Ord Depot RAOC Kassala Barracks to the range area on TA24. I have the photo and colour photos of the said Sexton, collected from your drop-off point, under tow by an ARV Mk1 of 6RTR south of Zliten (not Zavia as I first wrote!) to be placed as a hard target for the Centurions of 6RTR.... 1959. I know the commander of that ARV and, I know a Centurion gunner or two that shot at the Sexton. Rumoured the shattered hulk and bits were collected by an enterprising Arab from Zliten who put it back together, under a tent, with added bits from the many Stuart Gun Tractors, Dingos and Halftracks that littered those ranges!

  3. Here's another thing. Those two Sextons in the photos above are Mk2, not Mk1 in my book. Note the gun muzzle brake, the stowage boxes as part of the rear superstructure,  the Canadian bogies and Canadian dry pin (CDP) tracks. All Mk2 features though it's possible that stowage boxes apart, some of those features may have been on some of the 125 Mk1s built and supplied to the British. Over 2,300 Mk2s were built though I'm not sure if all went to Britain. Portugal got some for sure, India and probably Pakistan too. A shame we can't see the front transmission covers or other frontal formation markings.

    This source link is reasonable to get a grounding in Sextons though I bet there are better ones here on the forum, Wally. ;)  http://panzerserra.blogspot.com/2019/04/sexton-mki-25-pounder-spg-case-report.html


  4. P Battery. Can you see the 'white' Gothic letter 'P' up front top side of superstructure?  Pre-1952 VRNs unless the fuzz has affected my capabilty to interpret what I see. Facts so far.

    Various internet mumbo jumbo and contradictory 'stuff', even on 'official' sites is from where the following comes from. P Battery was part of 3RHA with 2Pdrs?, 3.7" guns? and most oddly, Sextons early 1940 up until early 1941 (when did the Sexton come into service, everyone asks? Mid-1943 I thought?) when the Battery was incorporated into 6RHA with, Sextons? ... India and Palestine? All articles trip over 6RHA, 6LAA and 6 Fd RA. Where's a 'proper' historian or compos mentis Gunner to be found when one wants one. Hope this helps though it would be much easier if you wanted to know about the post 1952 Lt Stone painted Sextons Mk2 of D, J and M Batteries 3RHA Egypt and Libya 10Armd Div...... I can 'do' them quite easily!

  5. ☺️

    15 hours ago, john1950 said:

    I wonder if Bluebell is watching this thread develop, Please keep the pictures coming.

    BlueBelle ..... she watches! This is the most interesting thread for ....... Egypt! There, you thought I was going to say "ages". Great when stuff like this comes to light and gets posted here. Thanks. 

    • Like 1

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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'.

  9. 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.

  10. 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:

  11. 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?

  12. 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

  13. 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!


  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.


  17. 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!

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

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