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Posts posted by BlueBelle

  1. Here we go, the moment, that you’ve all been waiting for .......

    Three photos of Scammell Explorer 35BC13 ‘recovering’ a dodgy Dingo, a scrapped one in use as a training aid. Perhaps an ‘open day’ demo for families, or school children, given the audience. Location: Tripoli (see the Tripolitania dhow flash on the Scammell and you’ll also see the word ‘Tripoli’ stencilled on the Dingo superstructure). But where in Tripoli? Station Workshops REME no doubt but where was the workshop located? Gurgi barracks? Kassala barracks? Prinn barracks? Medenine barracks, perhaps not. Not quite hitting the right spot here in the Research forum, am I? Maybe everyone who ‘knows’ or was there, is deceased, parked-up in the sky tank park? Anyway viewer (I know there’s more than one of you, really I do), enjoy the photos.









    Mobats! Still on an OFP somewhere, methinks, and possibly at Kassala camp on the NE outskirts of Tripoli, were some 1954-vintage Mobat L4 Anti-Tank Guns. Two photos of the same gun from different angles. Can you see the spotting gun mount for the Bren Gun? I can (on the side, not the top).

    You may wish to challenge that we’re looking at M40 106mm Recoilless Rifles, or L2 BAT Guns, or L6 Wombat Guns or even L7 Conbat Guns.... but we’re not!

    BER/CAST/Surplus unwanted, left to the elements and the clue to that reasoning is the gun barrel left in the air (plugged or unplugged they would never be parked like that in service) and polythene/Harry Black wrapped around the what I think may be the elevation/traverse block assembly.

    Initially, the Mobat was towed by the Austin Champ, more latterly, by Landrovers.

    Any further enlightenment on these guns and their location, Kassala camp and the units therein will be most graciously received.


    I guess most the OFP stuff we’ve seen would have ‘gone down the range’ as my 2RTR contact ‘who was there’ advised, further saying that most ‘armour’ not sent down the range was stripped/stolen by thieving non-British, or was taken on to LSTs for dumping overboard (not as uncommon as you may think) with very little taken all the way back to Ministry disposals sites in the UK. Can’t imagine there would have been any demand from anywhere in the World for turretless Stuarts though if you know something I don't, then please say so!

    So glad that you and one or two others are looking and doing the important bit here, commenting. You’re allowed to embellish with ‘epic tales’ and memories of those times for all to read. :cheesy:



    An Ordnance Field Park, possibly 595 at Kassala Barracks, Tripoli and here’s a feast for your eyes, if you’re looking! No, no Scammells yet, but just look at the line ups here! M5A1 Stuart Gun Tractors (for 17 pdr Field Guns), M5 and/or M9 Halftracks and Daimler Dingos. No, you are not looking at a WW2 vehicle park though all the vehicles are of that vintage. Lined up is some of the ‘military might’ for Operation H, no, not ‘Hamilcar’ (or Humiliation) as was the original name for the Suez Debacle of 1956, but for Musketeer (thus representative of the 3 ‘allied’ nations that took part – UK, France and Israel). The vehicles that were prepped for/landed at Suez wore the H mark, not an M mark as no one could be bothered to change the markings. Libya based units, whilst prepped, were 'not allowed to go' on the invasion. I'll let you look up for the reason (I know :-D).

    (The French for ‘Hamilicar’ is ‘Amilcar’ and therefore the French perceived ‘confusion’, hence too, the ‘main’ reason for changing the operation name).

    The vehicles in this photograph (and those shown on other sites showing UK unit vehicles in Libya between 1957 - 1959) continued to wear the Suez invasion H mark for several years after 1956, including those in-service by British units in Libya though especially those left on disposal and Ordnance Field Parks. I’m therefore suggesting that as we know ‘our’ intrepid photographer was busy with his camera between 1959 and 1962 that the vehicles shown here were surplus stocks in an OFP (probably Tripoli – maybe Kassala Barracks as there was an OFP there) and that the photo was taken there between those years. Hard targets on the Tarhuna ranges, for Malkara in 1962? Oh yes, I can confirm that some Dingos certainly became shrapnel, thanks to Cyclops 2RTR and of course, I surmise, the RAC Para Sqdn in 1964 with former Cyclops personnel. The Malkara trials team would have had some nice Dingo targets too.

  4. Oops, I mislead you. I meant the other East, the West - sorry. The workshops were on the Azizia road, heading West out of the city. I remember Prinn too, lots of on-base quarters there.


    Ah, did 'we' ever pass an army Map Reading course, Class One? :-D Let's try GURGI Barracks as 'home' for 5 Medium Wksps which became 61 Staition Wksps. Ring any bells, anyone? The next photo and lots more to come, could have been taken by our unknown REME photographer in Gurgi Barracks?

  5. I was in Tripoli at the end of that era and lived near to the REME workshops on the Azizia road, to the South-East of the city (well away from the other barracks). I'm fairly sure it was the only workshop then.


    I was a pupil at the Army Children's School and on Wednesday afternoons (I think) a few of us were taken to the workshops where, under the watchful eye of 'Q' Hayward (fading memory but I think that was his name) we were allowed to play with all sorts of lovely stuff. It was the first place I drove a car - an Alfa Romeo 2600 straight six (probably worth a fortune now) which one of the school teachers had rolled and we (with much help) stripped to the chassis to drive around in/on.


    Happy days.



    The army school in Tripoli used to be in Azizia Barracks until the barracks were handed back to the Libyan army (under terms of the Treaty of Friendship 1953, the British Army had to remove themselves from the centre of Tripoli to outside a 5 mile radius by 1958) and moved to, I believe, Miani and the location also it seems, of BFBS radio. So you wouldn’t have had to go far for your day with REME. Interestingly, the car you mention may have been ‘liberated’ by the British Army REME in 1942/3 who occupied the ‘near to Miani Barracks’ Lancia and Alfa Romeo car factories (assemby plants and workshops) for some time afterwards.

    I went to the Army School, a regimental one for children of all ages, in Homs, 80 miles or so East of Tripoli on the coast. 1959 to 61. The regiment there were the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment where my Father was the WO1 (ASM) REME. 2nd RTR vacated Homs in Oct 61, with Cyclops going to Medenine Barracks, Tripoli and the remainder from Homs and D’Aosta Barracks, Benghazi to Wavell Barracks, Benghazi.

  6. Richard, Austin and Phil,

    Thanks for commenting, you drive me on to post more.

    Austin K9s? None in current tranche but the stuff I’m presently posting, wait for it, should be eye candy enough to overcome the K9 shortages! Besides, this is history, isn’t it? :-D

    The barracks you’re geographically alluding to Phil, is I suspect Prinn Barracks. Going north, north west on the Azizia road, from the bottom end of Tripoli (outskirts, very rural in 50s/60s) there was a smallish barracks called Miani Barracks (so named after an Italian Colonel Antonio Miani) on the right hand side of the road, immediately followed by the much larger Prinn Barracks (Muaskar Birin in Arabic) to the left (another arabic word for ‘Barracks’ seen on maps is ‘Hamiyat’). Prinn housed, it seems, a multitude of units though if that included 61 Station Wksps or not I don’t know, yet.

    I have a series of 1943 (some updated around 1962) Royal Engineer/US Army large scale maps of Tripoli (and Homs, Misurata etc.) that show barracks everywhere! Some old Turkish, the remainder, Italian and all occupied by the British Forces, primarily the army. I can see (the outlines) of all but two or three of the Tripoli barracks on Google maps and satellite view. I’m not going to ‘guess’ which Tripoli units occupied which barracks until I am able to corroborate the ‘fogged’ memories that are to be found on the web with facts..... may take more effort than I have the strength and willpower to proceed with! There, set everyone on a ‘barracks hunt’ in Tripoli now! :cheesy:

  7. Now for .....another photo. Here’s an RL that’s come a cropper shewn as belonging to The Welch Regiment who were based over at Benghazi 1958-60. Either the truck was visiting Tripoli for the photo to be taken or, the truck was actually in Benghazi and ‘our’ intrepid photographer, whoever he may have been (suspect a REME bod), was there as well as being in Tripoli where most of the other photos were taken (proven by being able to see Tripolitania vehicle flashes and not those of Cyrenaica District. Who knows? Getting closer though to Scammells all the time....

  8. I know you're all as keen as Richard to see 'those' Libya vehicle photos that I wrote about, so lets start with this: (All photos belong to me unless otherwise indicated/accredited, and where this is the case, I have express written permission to show them. so please, no copying).


    The year is 1959/60 or summer 1961. The car photographed is parked up at a barracks in Tripoli, Tripoli it is as (I know it’s not Homs Barracks or D’Aosta Barracks, Benghazi) I can see the Tripolitania Dhow flash on the Bedford RL and on the Landrover (can you?). There’s also a Ferret Mk? and a couple of 1ton trailers (Brockhouse or Sankey – I can’t make out the panel x ribbing?). I’m guessing this was the Tripoli Station Workshop? I also know who the car belonged to (a 2RTR officer) and that it did end up in Tripoli Station Workshop. In which Tripoli barracks though, were the workshops located? The workshops were known in the early 50s as 1 Base Wksp, then 1st Infantry Wksp, then 5 Medium Wksp, then Station Wksp and finally, from 1960 to 1966 and withdrawal of British forces from Tripolitania by March 1966, as 61 Station Wksp though trying to find ‘official’ corroboration is not easy or as yet, complete. The question also is, were the workshops always in the same barracks? Don't be shy in coming forward as I don't know and can't find the answer anywhere, yet. Besides, the REME Museum don’t want to play as they’re busy reorganising their furniture and polishing exhibits having recently moved from Arborfield to Lyneham.


    An accredited critic once said of this car that it was the most ineffective bit of engineering since the Maginot Line. The metal was so thin and rickety that you could hear rusting taking place. Its most salient feature was its slowness, a rate of acceleration you could measure with a calendar, frequently losing in drag races with vintage farm equipment. The car was made world-wide and over 2 million of them were sold, thus proving how desperately people wanted cars. Any cars. The car is, of course the Renault Dauphine.

  9. As your Forum title suggests Lizzie. I agree with Richard, you served with THE Corps? ;)


    I also like the RL, I had one until 3 years ago. Manufactured in 1953 & Saw action in the Suez 'Crisis'. Lovely vehicle to drive & work on. Which I also did was I was in the Corps myself! :-D Also owned three Ferrets as well, which you also like, you say?


    Welcome to the Friendly Forum! :yay:


    Hello Ferret Fixer,


    Thanks for your welcome. Ferrets! Great, now let me guess, your 1953 one was with .....hmmmm, 6RTR? That regiment scuttled out of Suez for Homs, Libya with a squadron going to Cyprus. Not many photos or accounts of their time in Libya, unfortunately. WRAC/REME yes, not so sure about the Arte et Marte though! A BIG hand wave back to you! :yay:


    Kind regards,


  10. Hi Lizzie,

    That is an interesting profile. I must say, the 1950's vehicles are of interest me (as well as my WW2 British vehicles) and the Explorer and K9 are particular favourites, along with the RL of course.


    I am guessing you served in REME?


    regards, Richard


    Hello Richard,


    Thanks for your response. Nice to know that we’ve similar vehicle interests. Your Dingo; well I shall put up some post-war Libya Dingo photos soon that should be food for discussion or just enjoyment. As I’m sure you and all forumers (is that a ‘proper’ word?) well know, many WW2 vehicles soldiered on in great numbers well into the late 50s and beyond. I have to say that I’m really inquisitive about the vehicles that are subjected to my attention, forming questions about VRNs, units, unit locations (barrack names), unit markings (and subtle differences), colour schemes, dates in service/photo taken, quantity on strength and....what happened to them!

    Yes, Bluebelle was indeed, WRAC/REME! Well travelled too, both as a child and when in service herself. My brother was REME/QDG/REME, our father was first an RAOC Boy Soldier became a REME Boy Soldier though into adult service (tiffy big guns/vehicles), his father was exactly the same (AOC/RAOC/REME) and his father too, was an AOC Armourer S/Sgt with the 4th Rifle Brigade (1887).


    Kind regards,


  11. Hello Folks,

    Having lurked around on this great forum for a considerable while, I thought I should let you know who I am, especially the 200 or so that have peeped at my profile to see who I am and found..... nothing! Fixed now.

    I’m a Brit business woman in Calgary who is mad about British Army vehicles in service between 1950 and 1990, particularly those that were utilised in Libya up until 1970. I’m also an amateur military historian focussed on that period, again with a Libya focus. Why? No idea though being an army brat may have something to do with it, having lived and gone to school in Libya (Homs) where my father was the WO1(ASM) of the REME LAD attached to The Second Royal Tank Regiment 1959-1962. I, and my brother also served in HM Forces, hence the handle, BlueBelle ...now there’s a clue to those in the know! My name otherwise is Lizzie Taylor and I originally hail from deepest, darkest Wales. The village of Fairbourne to be precise.

    From an historical perspective, my favourite vehicles of the period are (with a Libya focus again), the Scammell Explorer, the Diamond T Tank Transporter, M5/M9 Half Track, Cromwell (still in use in 1955/6 with 3RHA Homs and their Sexton SPGs), Comet, Centurion, Saladin, Saracen, Ferret, Champ, Ford Thames E2/3/4 truck, Morris MRA1, Austin K9 and, wait for it, ...... the Bedford RL Binner! I’d love to own a vehicle that survives from that era. The LAD Binner brought us children our tortoises when the troops came back from desert schemes! The LAD Half Track was sometimes our school bus! My father’s big Mercedes saloon (ex-Wehrmacht) substituted as an ambulance to ferry us poorly children to BMH Tripoli when hordes of us fell ill with dysentery and the army ambulances were fully over-engaged! Halcyon days!

    I have vehicle photos that I’ll be posting whilst also some time soon, requesting information on certain aspects of army vehicles, particularly of those used in Libya.

    That’s a BIG intro! Isn't it? :wow:

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