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Posts posted by BlueBelle

  1. They look a bit like Valentine tank bridgelayer sections. At the workshop I was at there was a WW2 tank bridge at one time at the washdown point.




    Whilst one was typing away to explain the bridge, I noticed just as I went to 'submit' that Richard had beaten me to it!

    This is my response:


    Another great photo of ..... everything! Look at that REME K9! The 'ramp'; I think it is a WW2 remnant, probably a tank Scissors bridge No1 30ft (30ton) as fitted to Valentines and Covenanters. Really distinctive leading edge mini-ramps to the main ramps, type and position of plate cutouts and then there's the flimsy-looking metal matting trackway. It had an angled 'hump' at the folding center as opposed to a 'gentle' rounded hump. We've not seen any camels yet. Of course, I could have barked up the wrong tree about this! :cheesy:

  2. These are the only two photo's I have of Armour in Libiya


    on the back is written "Camp DERNA"


    The registration on the nearest Saracen appears to be 98BA?8 and I assume they are towing the 1 ton trailers?


    S/Sgt Wally Roach, REME. Fitters Saracen, Ajax, 2RTR out of D'Aosta Barracks, Benghazi (Cyrenaica). I have other photos of him with his Saracen. The other chap is REME too, name unknown. Wally Roach was nominated by my father for the award of a BEM, which he received (as a WO2 {AQMS}) for his ideas and work on the Saracen reverse air cooling system whilst out in Libya. Yes, Saracens pulled 1 ton trailers!

  3. A couple of photos showing sand coloured overalls, it would appear that brown was another colour worn.




    Great photos Andy!

    The REME chap on the Austin K9 radio truck (219 'Tripolitania' Sigs Sqn, R.Sigs) is wearing something more akin to a 'pixie' tank suit, rather than standard issue coveralls. The other two sat with him are not soldiers (locally employed civilians) wearing anything but standard issue coveralls. In the Bedford RL photo, the two soldiers are wearing 'holiday' footwear as seemed to be quite common out there between 1950-66 (remember, it was then a holiday posting). The coveralls appear to be sand-coloures though the cuff of a rolled up sleeve is ..... green! The RL could be 'poorly' too; is that a tow strop hanging down? Certainly missing a headlight! Oh, the Bedfords belong to 38 Coy RASC (in 1965, or maybe a year or two before, they became 38 Sqn RCT).

  4. What did the Saladin hit?


    Not known. Perhaps lurched into a structure or ditch in a failed attempt to navigate a bend or stay in a straight line? They apparently were not the easiest of vehicles to steer in inexperienced hands. Traffic accidents seem to have been rife in Tripolitania at that time, especially those involving military and civilian vehicles. The Homs to Tripoli road was particularly dangerous, with dry/flooded wadis and (collapsing) culverts to cross.

    There are press photos of a Saladin in N.Ireland on top of a car (not for here!) that failed to turn correctly.

  5. Yes, 2RTR in Tripoli (Cyclops sqn resident in Medenine Barracks with the RS from Oct 61 to Oct 62) and with a rectangular Barbary dhow District flash, tells me the year of the photograph being taken is 1961/2. Had it been the shield shape flash, it would have been a Homs-based vehicle of Cyclops, Aug 1959 to Oct 61. The place these photos of Saladin 07BB88 were taken is, I suspect, Station Wksps REME, Gurgi Barracks. It may have ended up subsequently as BLR/BER in 595 Ordnance Depot, Kassala Barracks, either for shipping back to the UK for a rebuild or for use as a hard target on the Tarhuna ranges, though I doubt it was that badly damaged so as to warrant ‘total destruction’ by Malkara missiles or other means (plenty of surplus/BER vehicles were simply taken away to be blown up by the REs, so as to prevent the locals from getting their hands on complete military vehicles). Strange how operational practices (rules and regulations?) in Libya were so different to those of the time, say, BAOR or UK home units.

    The first photo shows evidence that Saladin 07BB88 2RTR (Cyclops 5 Troop Leader’s when in Homs) has just had an accident and the RMP are present questioning two RTR crewmen whilst I guess, the REME are gleefully photographing the event! I have identified the two crewmen through 2RTR. See what follows, the state the Saladin ended up in (bits pinched, REME larking around in it) and do please add your bit. It would be nice to have some commentators, other period photos and so on, rather than just viewers (or ‘lurkers’ as the owner of a certain ordnance-based forum publically titles them – I know, I was a ‘lurker’ there until I contributed)!

    Saladin 07BB88 and its fate.

    Saladin 07BB88 being driven with skewed wheel station. Hull probably damaged too.


  6. A poorly Bedford RL from 1 Inf Div, probably a CS Royal Artillery one. That’s what the white 13 superimposed on what seems to be an RA rectangle is telling me. As an RA truck, I wonder why I can't see a Battery insignia on the cab door? The RA 'always' displayed insignia, didn't they? Certainly the RHA liked to do that (as you may see later on in my 3RHA Homs, Libya 1954-56 ish offerings-SEXTONS, Cromwells, Halftracks, Diamond Ts, Champs! – drool material for some?). Many RA units visited Tripolitania from the UK, Malta and Cyprus for exercises, schemes, annual firing at Tarhuna (just south of Tripoli) and so on. The white diamond on a black rectangle indicates 1 Inf Div who around 1958/59 were based in Cyprus so the truck could be a 29 Field Regt RA truck from Cyprus (that unit visited Tarhuna twice, in 58 and 59) that needed a trusty old Scammell Explorer's assistance.

    His coveralls appear to be sand coloured, just as the vehicles are. Do you know if anyone from that era ever had sand coloured coveralls? I thought they were, in different versions and conditions, always a shade of green. I know pixie tank suits were not green but these are one-piece standard-looking coveralls. Maybe some trickery/illusionary thing going on?

    No, I've concluded that as his coverall sleeves are rolled up and 'a different colour' to the rest of his coveralls, that they probably were not sand coloured at all, just sun bleached!:cheesy:

  7. Hi Lizzie,

    I can see what looks to be two German tyres on the trailer, as well as a sand tyre and a Dunlop Trackgrip, is this what you meant? I wonder if the German tyres were dating back to WW2?


    regards, Richard


    Well I never! German tyres! So Richard, you also picked up on my clue 'attired' :yay:

    Yes, it was obvious just on observation and you were the only one to spot it! ;) The British liberated much more just than axis-controlled Libya; 'liberation' also included ordnance depots (two of which became Keren and Kassala barracks respectively with the British) and all their spare parts etc.. The Lancia and Alfa Romeo factories and workshops in Tripoli were commandeered to 'host' British workshop units, though which units I know not, yet. So yes, tyre appropriation and stockpiling, I surmise, would have been appropriate as 'spoils of war' though seems just a trifle odd to be putting the stuff into use some 17 or so years after the surrender of Tripoli.

  8. The Scammell’s FV3621(A) Low-Loader 20 Ton Trailer parked up with a double load of a Thames E4 truck and a seemingly wheel-less water bowser trailer. Now then, surely someone is going to challenge my call on that truck, aren’t they? Well, I hummed and hawed about it, looked up ‘every’ possible military truck body possible and the only one that ‘looked’ like the one in the photo was the Thames E4. The cab? It can’t really be seen though the tiny bit showing did seem a like that of a Bedford QL but I couldn’t relate that to the body. If the wiser than me folk on here tell me, unequivocally that it’s not what I said it is, then I’ll go with them! Maybe. The bowser? Who knows?


    Can you see anything a little odd at the rear of the FV3621(A) Low-Loader 20 Ton Trailer? I can, and it was not unusual either! I have photos of trucks, trailers and, somewhere, I have even seen a photo of a Scammell Explorer 'attired' in the same way. If it fitted, then it got used!

  9. Just another view of the Halftrack being dragged off the FV3621(A) Low-Loader 20 Ton Trailer by Scammell Explorer 94BD17. Note the interior layout, curved rear corners, rear door and other features marking it out as an IHC M9A1 as said previously. Shabby paint too.

    Interesting building, lots of galvanised sheet iron and au-naturel air conditioning provision to save on window frames and glass. Rather like Tarhuna Barracks, though built of stone. Oh, I see another 'thing' sticking up at a rakish angle on this side, just behind the door. One each side, so what were they for? Can you see a machine gun mount? I can, though if guns were ever fitted in service post-war in Libya and you can prove it, I'll ........ ?

  10. I wondered if the plank was hinged along its bottom edge so could be dropped to a horizontal position to act as an external sun visor, perhaps.


    Close study of the photo does reveal four dark blobs that could be hinges.


    Not that I know any better than you really, but I'm rejecting the planks as a sun visor contraption and am going to stick (no pun intended) with my assumption that it's a rudimentary local modification (no EMER trace) stowage assistance device MK1 - cam net/hessian sausage thing. Besides, the Workshops would have had a metal-bashing gang to hand, ‘metalsmith’ was the trade, I think, and they could have bashed together something more ‘visor-looking’ than wooden duckboards! I seem to recall a photo somewhere of a Scammell Explorer with a ‘proper-looking’ metal visor, probably civilian though.



    Scammel 94BD27 looking rather pristine.


    That Scammell, 94BD27 lived at Medenine Barracks Tripoli in 1961 and 62 with the Royal Scots and Cyclops 2 RTR. On which unit's strength it was held, I know not. I have a nice colour photo of it there, taken by a 2 RTR chap which, when i have his permission, I'll post in due course. I wonder if this one survived?

  12. 22 Engineer regiment became established at Perham Down Tidworth in the 1970's

    Not sure if they went to Tidworth direct from Tripoli or via another location.

    There was a 6 Fd Sqn with them at that time, along with 8, 52 and 1 other, but 6 were in 1978 an AMFL Sqn geared up for service in the Arctic and Norway. Bit of a change from Tripoli if it is the same unit.


    22 Engr Regt RE in Libya was comprised of 12, 17 & 23 Fd Sqns & 6 Fd Pk Sqn.

  13. "On the back of the photo is written (The last vehicle "AJAX" 2 RTR) note the Divisional sign is not a sailing ship?"


    Yes, we've gone to Cyrenaica. Not a Divisional marking but a District one, just as the Barbary dhow represented the Tripolitania District. 2RTR and little me (my Father was their WO1 (ASM) REME) arrived in Homs, Tripolitania in August 1959. Ajax 2RTR though, went to D'Aosta Barracks, Benghazi, Cyrenaica and swopped over with Badger from Homs a year later. Then, in October of 1961, the camp in Homs was handed back to the Libyans; the regiment moved into Wavell Barracks, Benghazi (including Badger from D'Aosta Barracks with the exception of Cyclops who went west to Tripoli and Medenine Barracks (co-located with the Royal Scots inf.). The regiment left Libya around October 1962. Maybe your Father was attached to 2 RTR? If you provide his name I can post onto the 2 RTR Old Boys forum to see if anyone remembers him (I'm very active on that forum, particularly the Libya thread in efforts to get those who were there to dig out their photos and memories).

    Maybe I've already posted a photo on this thread here, of your Father? I've some more to put up on here, including a sad looking 2 RTR Cyclops Saladin in a Tripoli Wksp with REME 'jokers' messing about in it! Circa Oct 1961/62

  14. Meanwhile, back in Libya.......

    Oh, just because I said in a previous post that the HMVF chap's dad drove Scammell Explorer 94BD17 around in 1956/7, we have to remind ourselves that it was perhaps not then a REME vehicle as the driver was a Sapper (there’s another Sapper too, who drove this vehicle in 6 FD Pk Sqn RE, do look up a Frank Hallsworth on Forces Reunited to see his two poor quality photos of 94BD17 – he doesn’t answer requests for info, just peeps back at my profile!) with 6 Field Park RE and, said Scammell then had two mudguards which didn’t sport a REME flash but that of an RE Blue rectangle (or was it a square?) with a white 42 superimposed thereon (correct marking for a Fd Pk Sqn RE in an Armd Divisional HQ and Troops unit). The other mudguard was embellished with the white standing rhino facing left on a black oval (correct marking at that time for 25 Armd Bde). 6 Fd Pk Sqn RE were, I am lead to believe, co-located with the 5 Medium Wksp REME (became the smaller Station Wksp REME by 1958ish) in Tripoli, were part of 22 Engr Regt RE based also in Tripoli (Prinn Barracks) though if all other Sqns were there or not, I don’t know. The entire regiment exited Libya for the UK by 1958. A resident Tripoli RE Sqn in 1960 (maybe there earlier?) was 33 Independent Fd Sqn RE though I not much more about them other than they with their trucks and another 19 Bedford RLs from the Royal Marine Commando group aboard HMS Bulwark who landed at Homs (Apr 1960) to put in place fuel dumps in the Fezzan for 2RTR Cyclop’s epic desert trials to the border with French Equatorial Africa (Toumo water hole in the Tibesti mountains) with their new Saladins, Alvis’s Mr Sydney Bunce and other, some very old, vehicles! Ex Crescent moon it was called and perhaps more of it with vehicle photos, another time. 10 Armoured Division in Libya existed for 10 months - prep for the Suez (no Libya units took part), though immediately prior to then, 25 Armoured Brigade (an expanded one) with the same white non-rampant left facing rhino ruled the roost (or paddock). Once 10 Armd Division ‘dissolved’ and approx. 6,000 troops departed (by 1958/9) from Libya to leave around 2,000, there soon were no more white rhinos on serving vehicle markings or on uniform shoulder flashes. Instead, troops in Libya came under a Malta and Libya Command, split into two Districts, Cyrenaica to the East with it’s black and white Cyrene roman pillars as rectangular vehicle marking and shoulder patches, whilst in the West, Tripolitania District adopted the blue, white and black barbary dhow on rectangles and/or shields for vehicles and just shields for shoulder patches. The barbary dhow insignia had first been used (stolen, I think, from the Italian rulers of Tripoli in 1944) on stationery, though whether or not on vehicles/uniforms in the early years of British military government, I know not.


    Do you know who this fine REME fellow is though? I don't. Note, we've switched back to the REME 94BD17...... and its FV3621(A) Low-Loader 20 Ton Trailer :-D


  15. Remember that stone cairn/mini pyramid structure in Andy B’s photo of the Tripoli camp (still waiting for you Andy to tell us where in Tripoli the photo was taken/your father was based)? Well, the next two of 94BD17 show that it seems to have been manoeuvred into a sticky position on purpose, something to do with getting the angle of the dangle on the front swivelly axle in order to do some specific adjustment, maybe. Oh, it's really just exactly as Richard said, though in somewhat more technical terminology. These splendid photos and scenarios lend themselves perhaps as subjects of hilarity, humour, mirth and numerous gags, especially about REME capabilities and prowess as tradespeople, soldiers, drivers etc., though we know better, don’t we! ;)




  16. In a similar vein, even The Tank Museum states the following on their website:

    "Photography: Photographs taken inside the Museum are for personal use only. Photographs taken inside the Museum may not be used for commercial purposes without prior arrangement and may be subject to a licensing fee. Please contact the Archive and Library for more details".

    So just be careful in using photographs even if you were behind the shutter!

  17. Here are a few more photo's showing the trailer.





    Superb photos again, Andy. Keep them coming, anything that fits in this thread!

    Scammell Explorers going outside the barracks area in Tripolitania (probably Cyrenaica too) are often pictured dragging an FV3621 (A) 20 ton low-loader trailer (notice how I like using the terminology for the trailer, now I know) laden with jerrycans for its own fuel resupply (Scammells are thirsty, maybe more so in hot desert climes?) and sand channels, for obvious reasons. It was not uncommon either to be seen with no front mudguards, though for what reason I know not. Strange to see the planks across the cab roof top, maybe there to stow cam nets etc. on the rare occasions Station Wksps ever went out to 'play at being soldiers', after all, Libya was a holiday posting, for most, wasn't it? Certainly was for 2RTR in Homs, Tripoli and Benghazi!

  18. Was the stone cairn used to drive the front wheels of the Scammell up to check full movement of walking beams, and again for front axle?


    Ha ha Richard, you are so funny......... though quite correct! Stolen my thunder.... and I wonder now if you were there at the time Ha ha! Now I'm going to make you wait to see the photos ...... not long though 'cos I'm itching to post them!


  19. Any tips for driving a CVRT on sand?


    Sand in the Gulf seemed to cause regular track shedding fro what I've read.


    Presumably beach sand might be more forgiving than bone dry desert sand.


    I think neutral and tight turns might be out, to avoid collecting too much sand between the wheels and spuds.


    Any other advice welcome!


    Perhaps paying attention to adjusting and maintaining the correct track tension/correct number of links would be helpful? Certainly no 'hard stick' turns!

  20. This could be the same group of vehicles? photo taken by my late father (REME) about 61-62.



    Andy, what a great shot! Yes, it most certainly is the same group of vehicles with the photo being taken from the top of a Scammell Explorer (possibly 94BD17?) hitched to an FV3621 (A) 20 ton low-lowder trailer carrying jerrycans! The confirming factor about the two photos is for me, the tall tree! Yes, a tree! Andy, please, please can you tell me what the unit was and the barrack name that your late father served in whilst in Libya (I'll say its Tripoli) where this photo you have was taken? That little piece of info will cement much of my fragmented 'British Army in Tripoli' puzzle together.

    Now, I'll call upon you all, to pay attention to (not the issue rabbit/tortoise hutch) the angled stone cairn-type structure as you're going to see it again and what, in relation to Scammell Explorer 94BD17, it was really useful for! :-D

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