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Posts posted by BlueBelle

  1. Let's look at that very same Austin K9 FFW in this photo from John Empson REME of a line-up of 2RTR's L.A.D REME, Nero sqn (not one of the regiment's sabre sqns L.A.Ds). What are the differences with that K9 compared to the previous photo of it? My father is to the right on this photo, ooeee, fancy that! That'll be his Ferret, more than likely though I have another photo where he is in a turreted one.

    This photo features a sand and fluff storm going on in the camera. I wonder how clever I need to be to eliminate this phenomena and the time it would take to do satisfactorily?


    Oh, Sean et al, I think there is a problem with some of the photos not expanding, regardless of being logged in or not. Some are expandable, some are not. Hmmm, what's going on as I upload in the same way each time (I think I do, as there is only one way, isn't there?).


  2. They were, for my ageing eyes at least, a bit small to see & pick up on much detail, and don't click through to a larger version like some others.

    Austin K9 has an earlier registration than the RL (BG vs BJ) yet is a later vehicle. Could the RL have been in store for several years before being allocated a service registration? That doesn't seem to tie in with what I understood to be the practice.

    RL without a bridge plate, just the number painted straight onto the panelwork which seemed to happen a lot on R types - and the half track with a bridge plate but no number.

    What is the square thing on the front of the K9 roof, above the screen just at the top of the passenger side 'A' post?

    I wonder if you put two flashes on a restored truck whether you'd get a lot of flak from the rivet counters?


    The photos expand on 'click' if I'm logged in and the L.A.D vehicles 'blow up' magnificently! Is it me or you? :-)

    No idea about the square thing on the cab roof front though to the rear of it, perhaps sticking up on a mini-mast or on a small base plate welded to the cab rear, seems to be one of those black rubber antenna base units.

    No idea of disparity with dates into service though there are many Homs shots of that RL Binner in my collection and, indeed, of the Halftrack. Tripolitania was 'awash' with RL Binners in the 50s and up to 1966. All regiments had three or four of them, if not more, and 595 Ord Fd Pk RAOC as part of 25 Armd Bde had scores of them as my photos show (yet to be seen here), multiplied when 10 Armd Div formed in Libya for Suez. There would have been many of those returned to RAOC Vehicle Parks/Depots post 1957 in 'the new order' of 'things' (not in Tripolitania parks/depots but probably Malta).

    Bridge Plate classification may not have mattered much in those parts of Libya in them days?

    Two flashes are fine in being historically correct if you have the reference. There were other radio vehicles in 2RTR though what we have to account for is that regiments, most definitely armoured ones, had a Royal Signals troop attached who were responsible for regimental radio/signals traffic/regime. Maybe it was so throughout the British Army worldwide though I suspect it was more of a 'desert thing' due to long distance communication requirements in climatically hostile environments. Rules were made up as they went along in Libya in them days and, nobody stuck to them, so it seems just by looking at markings, naming conventions etc.

  3. 10FM68 said:
    Braithwaite Tower.


    You should get hold of copy of "Soldier" for January 1961. The feature article is called "War in the Desert" and described Exercise NATATION. Troops involved included Pathfinders from 1 Gds indep Para Coy2 Para, 41 Para Lt Bty RA, 2 Tp 9 Indep Para Sqn RE, 2 coys of RIF, a Yorkshire bn from Gibraltar and 2 RTR.


    The front cover shows a Saladin of 2 RTR "Afridi" and in the article is a picture of an Explorer NNBD70 towing a Leyland Hippo, 56YY78.

    10 68

    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. :-)


  4. 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!

  5. 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!!!!) :laugh:

    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?


  6. Sorry, no photos of sand coloured 421s but here is the photo of 00CA24 as built in DBG and carrying what I guess is a full load of amunition:





    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.

  7. The original design of Fv421s had the front of the 'cab' in one continuous slope, no window in the only cab door which was on the left side and was hinged on its rear edge. There were no hatches in the cab roof proper but provision for an AA gunner/observer just behind on the centreline of the vehicle. They also had the track idlers very close to the rearmost road wheel.


    Later they were modified and possibly some built new with the more vertical windscreen, roof hatches in the two sloping sections of roof directly above driver and co driver, a window in the now front hinged door. Seperately the idler was moved back about 9" to the position shown in the photo in the post above and mounted on a much stronger adjusting mechanism with its pivot below the wheel centre instead of above.


    Another change saw the main radiator moved from the very back of the vehicle to the front of the engine in the air intake stack and a very much bigger air exhaust duct that enclosed the two exhaust pipes and mufflers which had been to the right of the duct before.


    I have a photo of 00CA24 in the original configuration so that one was definately rebuilt at least once.


    Note that they never got a door on the driver's side of the cab because the fuel filler is there together with all sorts of bits on the inside of the cab side.


    Does anyone have a copy of the later user handbook (W.O.Code 18396) that they might sell/lend for scanning/or scan and email to me?




    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:

  8. 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! support_70f4b451d1ce894bd94e58eb847d56e8.gif 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. :laugh:

    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.


  9. BlueBelle in post 134 you make reference to the Cambridge Carrier and then ask where they were trialled.


    I would suggest that Canada is an answer as this one exists today near me. I have posted these before, they are my images not to be reproduced etc etc.

    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.

  10. Hopefully this will satisfy the appetite of those wishing to see a FV421 on trials in Libya, I believe with 3RTR.




    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


    6RTR Nov 57-Aug 59 Homs Tripolitania District


    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!

  11. BlueBelle said:

    So I will now provide the photographic proof, as discussed further on around page 12/13, that the above photo from page 1 of the 2RTR officer's red Dauphine is indeed, was taken in Homs camp at the REME end of the camp.

    The new photo has been provided by John Empson REME who took the shot we are now going to see. Focus on the hanger arrangement and more closely on the 1 or 2' high angled ridge of concrete that is on the ground, projecting out from the hanger. It seems be be a barrier between, perhaps, two different levels of ground, maybe even to prevent the REME A-Frame wheeled crane hoist thing from rolling away. The ridge is clearly evident in both photos. There we go! Done!

    But 'what a photo'! Just look what vehicles are in it! This photo also confirmed for me (2RTR couldn't!!!) that the camp's ambulance was, in addition to my father's big black Mercedes (running boards type and called on when required) that great truck, a Fordson Thames E3 FV13304; yes, one of them, bottom right nearest the camera!


  12. 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? :laugh:

    Well, there's one at least!


  13. 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


  14. Thank you Richard thats it exactly, the Light Stone is a recent layer and on top of the badge. The body on this truck is not original, its been replaced at some point in the last 20 years. paint layers on the body appear to go Grey primer, DBG, DBG, NATO Green (or similar) then red primer, Light stone nato green. The last 3 layers have beeen put on in civilian ownership I'm fairly sure. The Chasis cab goes Grey primer, DBG, Light Stone, DBG and posibbly Nato green with the same three top layer as the body.



    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. Ive been doing a bit of "paint archeology" on the rear body of the K9 and have come up with this


    Its the good old Lion on a crown as found on the BA flag, but without the crossed swords and on a red over blue horizontally divided background. I know the Lion on a red over blue back ground was UK land forces during WW2 but cant find anything post war. Anyone got any ideas?

    Working through that badge revealed what appears to be a plain dark blue smaller rectangle or square but without any discenable markings on it, you can just see the bottom of it below the lions front paw, I shall have another go at it later in the week but unfortanately the dark blue has not keyed to the DBG underneath so is tending to flake off rather than sand back.


    I await you suggestions, (please endeavor to keep them clean and on topic :-D)





    HQ Egypt & Mediterranean Command.

    Up to mid-50s.

    The Light Stone did it for me!!!:-)

  16. 07BE16 said:
    I believe the last vehicle in the line is a Carrier, AOP No.4(FV402), the AOP version of the Cambridge carrier. Thanks for the posts my farther in law is very interested as he was with J battery 3RHA in Germany then Eygpt and then Libya.


    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.


  17. 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.

  18. Ooh a "German" Humber 1 Ton CT now that would be nice to see or even any non-Germanised ones please.


    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:



    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:


  19. 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.


  20. 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.



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