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Everything posted by BlueBelle

  1. Yes! That's it, a Braithwaite tower! See, it's so rewarding asking a question and receiving an answer, especially a question to which you didn't know the answer and to then know the answer is totally correct! Thank goodness for the power of knowledge and unfogged memory, the fogged memory is not a condition I suffer from, yet, though I do have a lot of the fogged memories of some in their generousity to aid in my in my quest! Ah, it'll all become clear, eventually. Now, where was Gurgi Barracks again? So to THAT Soldier magazine. You mean this one below? With grateful thanks to Soldier Magazine. Saladin 07BB85 'Afridi' of Ajax Sqn 2RTR. Ajax named their armoured vehicles whilst based in Homs though not for long when they moved to Benghazi. Badger never named their vehicles, Cyclops did, though not when based in Medenine Barracks Oct 1961-Oct 62 and, Nero (HQ) only seemed to have named their armoured vehicles whilst Homs based. The black soldiers in the photo (I have a good few more of 07BB85 on that exercise) were, if my memory is unfogged, from Ghana on familiarisation training as their government had just bought or were considering buying, Saladins. Yes, I have obtained that magazine and a few others with less than spectacular coverage of all things Tripolitanian. If you know of more sources of sand-coloured Tripolitania stuff, then please do engage as I shall be more than grateful for the information, even if foggy. :-)
  2. Just to test your powers of observation with respect to the previous photo of the L.A.D vehicles. The K9 has both a REME arm of service flash (with white band and words 'LAD REME 2 R Tanks' and a Royal Signals one! Yes, that was the LAD FFW truck, complete with a real RS signals person though can't see the antenna mounts/connections nor can I remember without checking, which side of the truck all the antenna gubbins was. I'm almost sure I've seen it on either side. There seems to be 'something' on the cab roof, whatever that may be? The Halftrack has some nice tyres and a lovely shield-shaped Tripolitania District blue, black and white Barbary Dhow flash whilst the RL Binner has the rectangular version of it!!!! No strict rules and I even have photos where the Dhow is either facing the wrong direction or is missing one of its masts and sail sets!
  3. We need more sand-coloured stuff that was in Tripolitania, so let's see what this next photo does for you ... (Oh, the 2RTR tank park coloured photos went by without notice, as did the that b&w one with all those .... oh, never mind, you're all too stunned for words!!!!) Yes! An Austin K9, again! RL Binner and fitter's Halftrack L.A.D REME 2RTR, Homs 1960/61. Photo by John Empson REME. I've asked 'those who were there' what the tall, glassed hanger-like building was used for and we're stumped. I have a similar photo showing the building under construction sometime in 1956/57 when 3RHA were in-situ. Stumped. No, it was not a gym, so I'm told. I have had the suggestion that it housed inflatable decoys of some sort? Too far-fetched perhaps? Perhaps not. During the latter half of 1950s, I am well informed that squadrons from 22 Regiment RE based in Tripoli were involved in setting up or trialling decoy targets for the Warsaw Pact hostiles, and, I also understand (perhaps an airforce expert may be on here to enlighten/verify) that RAF Idris to the south of Tripoli was a diversionary/dispersal airfield for the UK's V Bomber force. Hmm, maybe the hanger in Homs had in it a blow-up Vulcan? Or a regiment's worth of inflatable Shermans left over from WW2? I jest, of course, though the truth is just waiting, somewhere to be found and told. Oh, the RL Binner is not a special version with a structure mounted on the roof; it is the camp water tower behind the truck. There is a special name for that type of water tower; maybe we have an RE specialist who would know the answer?
  4. Thank you! I wonder how many times that vehicle, or the vehicle that bore that registration, went in for modification and re-issue for trials, prior to being ...... shot at, melted down, left to rot or 'preserved'? it looked better in Light Stone.
  5. Super! Are we going to see your photos then? Please? At least the sand-coloured ones? 00CA24 was sand-coloured and, in TRIPOLITANIA (Yay!) which is why we're here! :laugh:
  6. Now we'll have another one from Max Warwick REME and a stunning line-up for an annual Admin Inspection of 3RHA in Homs, 1956. Admin Inspections in the 50's were enshrined in unit calendars but perhaps fizzled out completely by the early 60s. Maybe something do do with track mileage expenditure! I digressed. Look! Its another Scammell Explorer and its VRN is 94BD67 ..... well fancy that! We've seen 94BD17, 94BD27 and now 94BD67. OOOEEEE! And look at that Centurion ARV Mk1. Stunning, as indeed is the turnout of those lovely Halftracks and the soldiers. Funny how scruffy today's soldiers look on parade (Guards Brigade/Household Division excepted) in those baggy shirty-hanging out camo rags and ortho brown boots 'shuffling' along out of step and dressing. What was wrong with 'barrack dress', those shirts-non hairy tucked in, green woolly pullies, stable belts, berets worn properly with badges over the eye, not ear and shiny boots ammunition, with or with studs and toe/heel-clicky bits? Don't answer on this thread, please. The airstrip to the south east of Leptis Magna was the usual venue for vehicle parades, whether Admin, Colours, Queen's Birthday and so on. As children, we and my mother were bussed to the airstrip for 2RTR's Standards parade in 1960 to see the whole regiment drive past in clouds of sand and dust! The band played on, may have been (I'd have to check) the Royal Irish Fusiliers from Medenine barracks, Tripoli.
  7. Any mention of Libya and the trialling regiment?
  8. Thanks for posting about the Cambridge Carrier. Advanced search completed to find your Cambridge thread; failed! Can you please point in the right direction? I wonder why the Cambridge Carrier was abandoned in Canada? Is someone operating what you've shewn or restoring them? Thanks in advance.
  9. Magnificent! SAND-COLOURED too! Thank you for posting. MORE! Hmmm, Arm'd Regt? 3RTR? 3RTR did not 'do' Libya as a regimental or squadron posting, though maybe a troop/trials troop could have 'done' the desert. If Arm'd I'd go for 5RTR Dec 54-Mar 57 Barce Cyrenaica District or 6RTR Nov 57-Aug 59 Homs Tripolitania District or Queen’s Bays Feb 56-Aug 57 Sabratha If we can prove either way I'd be even happier! The source of the photo is.....? I might need it, legally, for my book!!!! Just realised, there are TWO of them, side by side!
  10. Hmm, not sure where 2RTR parked their Austin K9s, so we'll keep on trying ..... Did you notice the first ever literation of the reverse air-flow cooling on the nose of the early marques of Saracens in the previous photo? Yes, we've covered this before with the REME AQMS Wally Roach. Did you also see that cute little ..... generator on the Saracen's wing? Must be one of their command vehicles (no, not with the modified superstructure, just a bog standard Saracen). What can we see here in John Empson REME's photo? Well, there's one at least!
  11. Lovely sand-coloured stuff. Much nicer than anything else, don't you think? You don't have to agree though ......
  12. Spring forward a few years, miss out 6RTR's time in Homs and we come to 2RTR's holiday in Homs (only joking -- they worked hard, played hard just as all previous encumbents did) and LOOK what was on the tank park!!!:wow: These next few photos are from John Empson REME who 'was there' as was my father who ran the REME workshop as the ASM whilst the two REME officers were, erm, perhaps doing something elsewhere, perhaps one always in Benghazi (the EME) where 2RTR's Ajax squadron was based (D'Aosta barracks), and of course, I, moi (kinder) was there and walked through the workshop gate, through those vehicles almost daily enroute from our Libyan Lodge or school (bottom end of camp outside the wall) which finished at 13.00 as did the soldiers in the summer 9 months, to the beach, just 100 yards from the front main gate of the camp. Can you see an Austin K9? No, neither can I. :-D
  13. Oh. Cobberton? I hope they've not disguised it as something else then! :-D
  14. Then you will be justified in 'doing over' the K9 into whatever colour scheme and markings you wish .... Light Stone, Libya-based would be nice! Plenty of photos to follow!:cool2:
  15. HQ Egypt & Mediterranean Command. Up to mid-50s. The Light Stone did it for me!!!:-)
  16. Yes, well done! Very rare vehicle indeed. See my other comment and photo. I believe one version survives somewhere and that the others graced the ranges or melting pot. Anyone know for sure?
  17. I am so impressed! Spot on! Yes, 3RHA had at least one of these vehicles on strength for a while. They were trials vehicles, pre-cursors of the FV432 series. Perhaps only 12 pre-production models were made for evaluation. It never made full production. I wonder where the other vehicles were trialled? I have this photo of the Cambridge AOP in my collection and I'm not sure of its origin. Perhaps IWM? Credit to them if due.
  18. Really glad you like the photos, dear viewers. I could list all Tripolitania barrack names and units 1951 and 1966 though I'm not going to here as I simply cannot pinpoint with conviction and accuracy the locations of those barracks, most certainly not the Tripoli ones as named in The Treaty of Friendship 1953 (freely avail on the web). I can certainly pinpoint all the former Italian/Axis barracks in Tripoli/Tagiura (Tagiura = Italian camps at km 20 and 27 named by the British post-war as ‘Kassala Barracks and land’, which I can also see now on Google Satellite and on my £300.00 Italian Military Institute map of Tripoli dated 1938 showing barracks (no names though) all over the place. I have a British/US map of Tripoli dated 1943, updated 1962 that shows barracks but doesn't name them! There are different versions of the US/UK map which show either errors or omissions in barrack locations and outlines. Prior to 1951, its minefield with no marked mines trying to find information, especially as the British occupied many more barracks and buildings than The Treaty refers to. Official archive records are scarce and those that may exist are very difficult to pinpoint within archive folders and files, which is certainly the case with The National Archive with whom I've spent over £1500 on remote research in return for next to nothing! I must though, recount this, that in researching the activities of the RAOC Tripoli in order to gain clues about barrack locations etc., I received an unwanted 126 page report from The National Archive that revealed, amonst other less than useful information, how many pairs of boots were repaired by DADOS (Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services), 1945 Tripoli! I don't have a belly but that revelation, despite the expense of purchasing the record, made me belly laugh 'till it hurt. ‘Where’ those repairs took place, I’ve no idea though it was ‘somewhere’ in Tripoli. For those not in the know, the British named most Italian barracks in Tripoli and Tagiura occupied by themselves after battle victories against Italian occupied Africa. Thus, we have, as named in The Treaty, Kassala barracks Keren barracks Medenine barracks (Yes, I know Medenine is a city in Tunisia but it really was a barrack name, really, in Tripoli) Mareth barracks (suspect it was old cavalry barracks, RAOC there early on with BFPS – BFPS moved to Miani Barracks, RAOC to Kassala barracks, all I see on mine and Google maps) Azyzzia barracks Gurgi barracks Gialo barracks and Annexe (Jalu in Arabic as it shows up on Google maps) Then we have: BMH Tripoli, renamed from Caneva Ospedale at km1 from Porta Benito (Caneva was an Italian General) Miani barracks, name unchanged from Italian (a 1920s General) and is in Arabic, Miyami Prinn barracks is the British way of interpreting ‘Birin’ (adopted in Arabic) who was an Italian senior diplomat and the name of a capital ship Then we have barrack names such as Marine, White, Imperial and so on. If you Google the Arabic for say Gialo barracks, which is Mu`askar Jalu, you’ll see ‘roughly where it was in Tripoli. Try again for Medenine barracks, which is Mu`askar Madanīyah, you’ll see roughly where it was. Try Prinn barracks, which is Mu`askar Bīrīn, you’ll see roughly where it was. Try Miani barracks, which is Mu`askar Miyāmī, you’ll see roughly where it was. Though not precise, those Google indications roughly equate to the barrack locations on my maps. I just need verifiable confirmation, that which eludes me and archive holders. Otherwise, take it all with a pinch of salt! Sometimes, references are given to a kilometre point from Tripoli, a case in point being Kassala at km20. These km points are not measured from the centre of old Tripoli, but from the gates (Porta) on the outer defended wall (1st ring road now) through which all main roads went. Thus the zero point for km20 was at Porta Taguira. The 5km point on the road to Ain Zara was measured from Porta (I’ve forgotten!) but you ended up at Miani Barracks. Thus 5kms from Porta Benito saw you at Medenine barracks! Another word for barracks is ‘Hamiyet’. Italians used the word ‘Caserma’, very similar to the German ‘Kaserne’ though I’ve no German maps of Tripoli and surrounds. All areas outside that defended wall were still desert or farmed lands with ‘real’ oases everywhere. Post 1960, it started to be built upon (oil had been discovered in 1959) and soon the city expanded dramatically. Pouring over maps is fun, especially when you find ‘something’ and ‘the penny drops’. All thrilling stuff, you’ll agree, no doubt!!!!!! My quest for Tripolitania info goes on; I have a book to write. I'll either have to hire a researcher, go thereto archive holders myself or find a willing unpaid volunteer who lives 'nearby' to go and dig out the information sought. I cannot rely on people's memory either, as either they really can't remember or they provide big bright red herrings that I can tell, are just that. A classic case in point are some lovely gentlemen I know who served in Tripoli but cannot remember the name of the barracks or where it was in relation to others or notable focal points etc. I have learned from records though, that counter to the ‘dodgy’ memories of some, the REME workshop (61 Station WKSP and previously known as 5 Medium WKSP) was at GURGI Barracks (even during 2RTR's time out there) yet I still don't know where those barracks were or if they were close or attached to another! Anyway, if only regiments had fulfilled their duties in completing their quarterly Unit History reports to then deposit them in the appropriate regimental/national archives then my research would be that much easier. Its not just the photos that I need, its the history that allows me to write with authority and conviction lest I produce something not quite what I'd intended it to be. From official records, I can say that at the height of our military presence in Libya, there were around 10,000 personnel just after withdrawal from Palestine, 1949. That number depleted as Libya units went to quell the locals in Egypt/Jordan, then rose again to around that number upon withdrawal from Egypt (Canal Zone) and then, dropped massively by around 8,000 just after Suez. So just around 2,000 personnel post 1956/7 as units returned to the UK or went to Cyprus, Jordan, Aden, Kenya etc. There was no real political will, military strategy or finance available to maintain forces in Libya, other than in the end, the staging post of El Adem and port facilities at Tobruk. I tend to just have a passing interest in what happened with British Forces in Cyrenaica, other than with of course, the superb 2nd Royal Tank Regiment.
  19. Ha ha! Ok, but you can see a myriad of vehicles youself by watching the whole No Time to Die/Tank Force video free here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTelow6IArA Marks out of ten if you can identify all vehicles and who is using what! Great fun. :-) Sand-coloured photos of Humber CTs are not that common. I will dig, though there are some on another forum that you should look at: http://www.arborfield-september49ers.co.uk/libya-extras-03.htm
  20. Still with Sextons and 3RHA who were part of 25 Armd Brigade and then, 10 Armd Division and then ..... went off somewhere else which wasn't sandy .... oh, that'll be Bulford where I believe they switched to either towed 25pdrs or 5.5" guns .... DBG. From Max Warwick REME who was attached to 3RHA in Homs and Egypt (pre-Suez) as their armourer Sgt, we have this photo of the parade square in Homs camp. I'll help you with the line-up; I can see Cromwell AOPs and Command Posts (don't know the marques though other photos may help with identification), Sexton SPGs and GPOs and, a very strange-looking last vehicle. Hmmm, I know what it is, but do you? No copying rules apply.
  21. A Sexton GPO? Yes, nothing to do with the posties of yore but here's a lovely sand-coloured one that belonged to 3RHA and it's sitting on the back of a Diamond T rig. Notice the additional 'local' storage framework and, no big gun. Its the second photo, of course! As usual, please, no copying of any of the photos I post, lest I lose the goodwill (and you and I even more?) of their donors. Photos by Dudley Carter 3RHA.
  22. Things are 'heating up' on the Libya thread, no pun intended though I wonder if Libya has snow this week as many Arabic parts are having? No, by heating up I mean to say 'look', Magnakater and Kuno are are now contributing (photos please, 'little ones for here and LARGE ones to me by email or disc); isn't this wonderful, and, AndyB has got back to me with more, yes, more photos of Tripolitania sand-coloured things and the married quarters (Libyan Lodges) in Prinn Barracks, Tripoli in the snail mail to me!!!!:-)
  23. Now then, there were FOUR, yes, four, not two, 'Great' war films made in Tripolitania during 1957/8 with huge contributions from British Army units based in Tripolitania, in particular 38 Company and 1 Tank Transporter Company RASC, Queen’s Bays and to a lessor extent, by 22 Engineer Regiment RE (who kept and operated their Halftracks in DAK markings for 18 months, just in case ....), 3RHA, 6RTR and (as suggested by ‘weak’ evidence) 5 Medium Wksp REME. ‘Sea of Sand’ aka ‘Desert Patrol’ (US) ‘Bitter Victory’ ‘No Time to Die’ aka ‘Tank Force’ (US) ‘Ice Cold in Alex’ aka ‘Desert Attack’ (US) There may have been others. 3RHA in Homs also hosted cast members (Sophia Loren, John Wayne etc.) from the 1957 film ‘Legend of the Lost’, though whether or not any military vehicles were involved, I know not and as I have not seen the film. The set was Leptis Magna, Homs, my childhood ‘stamping grounds’. The DAK Sexton photo is from the defunct Illustrated London News (via Les Freathy) and shows the Sexton on the Diamond T navigating the Garian Pass, south of Tripoil on the way to or from Medenine Barracks, Tripoli and the Ice Cold in Alex film set. From the RASC Journals of the period, that Diamond T belonged to 1 Tank Transporter Company RASC, was driven by Dvr Smith..... and was the first occasion a Diamond T (laden or unladen?) had traversed the mountain pass. The 5km journey over the pass took 3 hours. The Sexton may have been a standard Sexton or a Sexton GPO (Gun Position Officer - a Sexton not fitted with a 25pdr) from 3RHA or supplied from an ordnance depot and converted to show it with a ‘fake’ gun and mantlet. For the film ‘No Time to Die’ (Tank Force), 1 Tank Transporter Company RASC used 16 DTs to transport the Queen’s Bays Centurion tanks to and from the film set and Sabratha Barracks, though the DTs were not seen in the film. My source again, is the RASC Journal of the period. Hilarious goofs throughout the film with Operation Musketeer invasion markings (H) that I saw on the Bedford QLs (though I wasn’t looking closely they may have been Austin K5s) and even the ‘Bays squadron markings on vehicles, a German picking up and firing a MG (sound effects heard) though it didn’t have a magazine or belt ammunition feed fitted, and that ‘German’ Humber 1 tonne CT ...... The Best of British film making of those times!
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