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Everything posted by BlueBelle

  1. Wally, do your records state when the tank went out on extreme temperature trials? A date might help narrow down where the tank went on its trials and when. Fingers crossed!
  2. :yay::yay::yay: See, see I told you there was sound reasoning behind my push for an explanation! Dear Wally, you are the bees knees and I can't thank you enough for that priceless piece of information. Where did you look to get it (no, don't say it's a secret!). Got any more info on it? Well, it didn't go back to Ludgershall from Egypt as that had shut down years before but it doesn't mean that it went back from Tripoli either. I still need to prove the location for the photos. During Malkara/Hornet 'heat' trials, the report suggested the Libyan desert was not hot enough and so other 'hotter' venues were sought. I wonder if this Centurion went elsewhere too, for 'hotter' extremes? 3 years on heat trials. Hmmm, fascinating stuff. In another thread on here last week, a revelation (in my opinion as I knew no different) was made (if I remember correctly) that The Tank museum had told the poster that the armoured vehicle record card system was non-existent prior to 1968. If so, would it be the same for B-vehicles and thus explain why my 'bought from the RLC archive' record card for Scammell Explorer 94BD17 (Libya) was blank from its 1955 date-into-service until it was listed in 1968 at a Malta VSD? How did Wally track down his wonderful information then and, what happened to this tank post-Ludgershall? First Class, Five Star research material result! And sand-coloured stuff too! :)
  3. Hang on, yes, I do know about the housebodied thing. Look at this, though I don't know whether it's Tripoli or Eqypt. Many vehicles that John Newton seems to have photographed whilst based at 10 Ord Depot Geneifa appear again in Tripoli where he was posted to from Geneifa. 3RHA, less J Battery, were also based in different camps in Eqypt and their BLR vehicles ended up in 10 Ord Depot workshop and were shipped back to workshops in Tripoli for repair/scrapping and thence to Homs to where J Battery were awaiting the return of the rest of 3RHA from Egypt. Some Scammells and DTs photod by John in Egypt appear in his Tripoli photos too! Every unit evacuated Egypt in a hurry with many of them finding themselves sent to Libya or Cyprus, again, and some into premature disbandonment prior to being hurriedly reconstituted again for Suez. Photo by John Newton REME
  4. Yes! Well spotted 10 68, with your sighting posted here as I was writing to Richard to ask if he'd seen what else there was besides the trucks!
  5. Hello Richard, Boxes, panels even pallets I thought I saw! Over the exhaust/catwalks and placed so as not to get in the way of the transmission decks. Monitoring panels? Could well be. If the photos are as I believe them to be, taken in Tripoli then the date would be between post-Mar 1956 when Egypt had been evacuated and Feb 1957 when John Newton completed his time, assuming he didn't extend his NS. The MK7 started to come off the production line towards the end of 1953, if the one source I've read can be believed though it seems to have taken around another five years before they started to be seen in BAOR regiments (judging again, by books read, photos seen and accounts of regiments such as 2 and 6RTR, who even in 1959 were operating Mk3s and 5s). Heat trials could have been performed in Egypt as regiments and Ord Depots there had Centurions, even in the late 1940s so I wonder why more heat trials say, 10 years later. Couldn't be waterproofing/wading work, could it? No, surely not! Though the timing was right in 1956 for waterproofing/wading work with a return to Egypt by sea on the horizon! I know the practical waterproofing and prep work for the Suez invasion was wholly carried out in Malta by 6RTR as were practice beach assaults. Hmmm, a mystery. Yes, you spotted the other vehicles but did you spot the D Battery 3RHA Sexton? I have developed some new swear words as I have failed to be able to sufficiently blow up the large scans sent to me to enable vision and interpretation of formation and arm-of-service signs, not even the VRN on that Sexton superstructure side! I have no idea really about the trucks (REME perhaps, and no H marks) or the house-bodied thing though it could have been an officers caravan (whoops, I meant ops room!).
  6. Thanks, 10 98. I'll leave AVREs alone now, more so that I have no evidence that any were deployed to the sandy shores of Tripolitania, nor it seems were Centurion Bridgelayers. Bazooka plates? Hmmm, I wonder if those 'many extra scrim hooped' bazooka plates for MK7+ tanks were interchangable with earlier marques, and vice-versa? These Centurion MK7 photos, as noted, don't have the extra hoops but do have the ammunition loading point cover. Am I going to search and sift for photographic evidence? No. So, I wrote that I'd pop 2 larger photos on here of the 'on trials' Centurion MK7. I'll spoil you, dear viewer, with 3 of them. You might even make out that GHQ Trials flash on the front mudguard. All 3 photos by John Newton REME
  7. Perfect! A perfect response from you, 10 98. See, so much added value to my meagre efforts. Thank you for your comments and for making the effort. My hanging questions are designed to engage, sometimes they work and then..... they don't. Book references. Hmmm, one book tells me that the hulls for the MK5 AVRE were new MK7s, yet the colour plate drawings clearly shows an un-lengthened Mk3 or 5 with no rear hull extentions and fuel tank and so on. Another says they were MK5 hulls, modified. Another says early Mk5 AVREs were built on standard MK5 hulls, unmodified save for frontal interior ones to accomodate the extra crewman. One other says only one was built on a MK7 hull! ARGH!!! What a minefield information is; one needs a good rake through with a Pearson on a MK12 105 AVRE ....and still won't arrive with safe, sound facts. Facts and verifiable information is all I need and is why I ask questions, in the hope that someone looking in has those answers to my questions. I don't want to learn how to become a Centurion 'Expert' (though I could be on the way, ha ha); I have other things to do and get right for 'the book'! Those bazooka plates with all the extra scrim hoops do not appear on many of the plates worn by any of the Marques, 7+. Nor were they 'just for AVREs' as there are photos of gun tanks with them. I wonder if (oh no, another question) the ammunition loading hole in the LH hull was the same size diammeter for both the 105mm armed MK12 AVRE (and gun tank) and the 165mm armed MK5 AVRE? Quite right about the MK8/2 etc. I didn't want to get into the depths about marques, derivations, uparmouring etc. but I'm glad you've gone into it someway ...... thus enhancing what I wrote (great stuff!). I must confess those other two Centurion photos are rather small to the point of being next to useless; forgive me please as I got carried away in reducing the big photos into something not worth stealing (I think that I'm still affected by the theft revelation a few posts back, though I've got over my sulking now, can't you tell?) and I'll look at popping two bigger ones on. Now I'm going to think of a whopper to tell on here and see if someone spots it and says something! Be alert! :-)
  8. Thanks for your commiserations. I 'must be right', there are no Centurion 'experts'... or are they keeping schtum! No, Malkara John Newton is not the same person. 'My' John Newton was a Feb 1955 National Serviceman, trained as a Recovery Mechanic REME.
  9. Oops, it happened again! A week gone by with over 1,500 views of the latest 'Centurion in the desert' post and no further forward. I shall park the topic after the next two photos. Two photos of what I believe is the same tank 'trundling in the desert' and these are provided by John Newton REME who served at 10 Base Ord Depot Geneifa Egypt until its closure very early 1956 and was posted to 'a workshop' in Tripoli. The photos are not marked and, like most of my 'living and willing' contributors, there is no desire from them to communicate and illucidate on the photos, hence the 'clever' guesswork (hardwork). So, these two photos, I claim, were taken in Tripoli in 1956 or 57 and show a MK7. Proper headlights (wrapped and covered with Harry Black masking tape as per an un-issued vehicle), longer hull and just look at that little disc on the bazooka plate. I know what its for and all I'll say about it is that there isn't one on the other side and was not a feature of earlier marques! What I see of the mantlet tells me that the tank is not a higher marque than a 7. The front LH wing bears the triangular GHQ Trials flash. Again, look at the slanting two board-things at the rear of the tank, leaning against railings and, the railings around the rear sides for... people to hang on to? I say it's Tripoli too, as the style of the sheds, the hangars are peculiar to those built by the Italians in Tripolitania and used by the British (an exception to this would be sheds and hangars at Gurgi barracks which are of a style not seen in other Tripolitanian barracks), a style not seen in Egypt as the Italians never extended their 4th shore into Egypt. The tents were 'standard' accomodation for troops and stores until at least the end of 1958 when thousands of British troops departed and barracks began to be handed over to the Libyans. Photos by John Newton REME.
  10. The book caption reads: ”This Centurion is travelling across fresh desert scrub at about 10-15mph and is raising something of a dust cloud. The engine covers seem to be raised, perhaps to improve cooling, and the three men seated on the turret are certainly not regular crew members, which may indicate that the tank is undertaking some sort of trial". (Warehouse Collection) In referring to the book, one assumes (nothing more) that the author has some expertise on the subject of Centurions. I am astonished that the author doesn’t seem to know what he’s looking at in stating that the engine decks are raised, seemingly! The tank of course is a MK7 or later development of the marque. Can you see the rear hull fuel tank and filler cap? Yes you can. Do you know where the engine decks are on any marque of Centurion? Of course we Centurion ‘experts’ know, and those are not engine decks as stated, not least because they open the other way and can’t be open with the turret in that position. Could we be looking at raised transmission decks? No, no, no, surely not, they’re too short aren’t they, with the outer edges hanging over the exhaust covers, and I’m not sure that the decks could be opened like that without having to have them all opened in sequence. Those ‘deck things’ appear to be rectangular plates of metal or wood, leaning on a frame, with another frame (grab/hold on rails on both rear hull sides for personnel, perhaps?). So, dear viewer, dear real Centurion experts who I hope look in, what are we looking at here in this photo? What, where and when? What year did the MK7 appear, as all the author Centurion experts seem to ignore telling us the years different marques were introduced as prototypes, production and ‘in-service’. Why am I so intrigued, I hear you all ask in unison? Well, it’s a ‘Libya’ thing, a ‘Tripolitania’ thing as part of my research as I’m convinced ‘that’ Centurion is in Tripolitania and its VRN is 43BA03 and that it bears a red triangular GHQ Trials flash on the front wing! I also think the tank is operating out of a barracks in Tripoli and that the year is 1957! Maybe though, there were more tanks so configured? There’s more to come, in a while. I would like to write to Pat Ware but it seems impossible to find an address to do so; if you’ve a pointer then please don’t hold back or, if you know him or of his whereabouts, please put him in touch with me. If you notice the second photo on p45 of the book, it states the Centurion is a MK3 when, clearly it is not a MK3 but is a MK7 or subsequent development of that marque (long hull, solid hull rear plate, rear hull fuel tank – yes, I can even see the rear hull fuel filler cap and, what about that gun barrel?). Same basic mistake on p51 with the second photo; it’s not a MK3 at all but it very definitely is a Mk8/2 or Mk9 (clue: hull rear, fuel tank, fuel filler, gun mantlet and just look, possibly a split cupola!). There’s more. I just wonder if there is a real, trusted source or authority on the Centurion tank? I have Mr Dunstan’s/Haynes new Centurion manual. It appears to be very good, his best yet (?) though doesn’t have what I was looking for and has only drawn material from a very limited number of sources (regiments other than 2RTR operated Centurions, Mr Dunstan) including my very good friend, the delightful Trevor Dady 2RTR ( provided Dunstan with a great write-up on life on the tanks in the 50s in BAOR) whose entire 2RTR photographic collection 50s and 60s is with me! Lucky me, thanks Trevor.
  11. Centurion in the desert. On p45 of ‘Images of war special –The Centurion Tank’ by Pat Ware there is a photo of a Centurion (it is a MK7 at least, by my reasoning) trundling along in the desert. The photo is replicated below. Photo by Warehouse Collection.
  12. I see Mummy has ten puppies, yet earlier you said there were eight! What's going on? They are gorgeous, all of them but, the Light Stone ones are special! If I were UK-based, I'd be knocking on the door for two of them.
  13. Spot on, 10 68! I wasn't going to say as much (or anything at all as I'm sulking (with reference to my last about 'giving to much away') and being 'Neutral'. :laugh: A sundowner's G&T later will put me right!
  14. Yes, indeed, Vol3. Thanks for that. But they are still glaring inaccuracies or omissions, in my view, as I'd bought the 4 volumes (one at £140, yes, £140) to 'get to the truth' and, failed! I knew already from 'hard' evidence that at least two regiments wore camouflage in Libya, the Bays and a battalion of 'that' author's own regiment, 5RTR. There may be other regiments, who knows? Vol4 has the photo of, as you've said, the Bays' Centurion with splendid striped antennae. Now, on the subject of pennants and flags .... Vol4 ( er, yes, Vol4) has a whole illustrated chapter on the subject, page 85 to 104. My book? Yes, very sound advice, thank you, to employ a proof reader of the specified ilk. He or she will be found, of that I'm hopeful. I shall post something more about 'expert' authors, possible errors, omissions and wishy-washy photo captions in my Libya thread as I search for more knowledge regarding a published book, a photo, a caption and, my photo of the possibly the same sand-coloured thing.
  15. Of flags, pennants and guidions ..... The B&W photo of 94BD67 on parade with the LAD REME of 3RHA in Homs 1956 shows lots of pennants fluttering from antennae. Standards can be seen way back in the thread being held aloft from the 2RTR Nero Ferret, 'Nomad'. Anyway, take a look at the REME flag flying from an antenna with a radio on the other end and, it’s my father in his Ferret, Homs 2RTR 1960. Notice the lovely REME Halftrack! A low resolution photo for here, I’m afraid, as will all future ones be due to me being tipped off that the photos from my thread are being stolen and posted on someone’s FB site. I don’t yet know which FB site, or who's responsible nor which photos have been taken without permission/credits to photographers and, I don’t subscribe to such invasive and detestable media so searching will not be easy. Whilst it would have been naive to pretend it wouldn’t happen, it seemingly has and I’m a little miffed. I may watermark future photos, and limit even further the story board, a step I don’t want to undertake to spoil the enjoyment. I wonder if I’m ‘wrong’ in being aggrieved about this situation? (Good job the 'best' are being kept aside for 'the book'!) Ask me for a photo and if the photographer or their legal entity agree, I'll send you a hi-res one! Free! Yours for private use, not for publication, posting or financial gain and always to be used with full credit everytime to the original photographer or owner. Photo by Wilf Harrison 2RTR-REME
  16. Good stuff 10 68. A guidion is not a pennant. See this for a guidion: http://www.army.mod.uk/aviation/29056.aspx The word Guidon derives from the Italian guidone meaning guide or marker and the Middle French corruption guyd-hommes, hence it is the focus for soldiers in battle. British guidions are seldom triangular. A classic example of a pennant can be found near the pointy end of a Lancer’s spear. See some examples of British Army flags and pennants here: http://www.flags.net/UNKG06.htm Then, to mess it up even more, there are flags, Colours and Standards. Every vehicle on 3RHA parades in Homs, Libya would fly a pennant, though whether they denoted the regiment, the battery, the gun position in the battery or the rank/appointment of the vehicle commander, I know not for sure. I have a colour photo somewhere of a 2RTR armoured vehicle ‘hidden’ under desert scrim pretending to look like a sand dune, flying a white pennant attached to an antenna whip poking through, like a seaside castle with a ..... pennant from the flagmast. A pennant on a flagmast? Look on the Libya, Tripolitania, vehicles, barracks 1950s to 1966 thread for vehicles in Libya with flags and pennants, some fluttering from antennae with something connected on the other end! Vol 4 Warpaint, as previously indicated in my Libya thread has glaring inaccuracies. One such is the statement that vehicles never wore camouflage paint! There does not seem to be one clear, authoritative information and advice source or tome that can be trusted, sadly. Anyway, take a look at the Libya thread to see a REME flag flying from an antenna with a radio on the other end and it’s my father in his Ferret, Homs 2RTR 1960. Notice the lovely REME Halftrack.
  17. Beautiful Mummy and Pups. She does look pleased with herself, and so she should be. Light Stone coloured too, as all Scammell Explorers should be!
  18. 3RHA in Homs, Libya are in my mind for some reason. Oh, it's something to do with a chap on here who's restoring his Scammell Explorer, 94BD67, which I had a peek at and, saw Light Stone paint on the jib. Then I realised I 'knew' that VRN and after a little delve into the files I came up with this lovely photo of said Scammell, resplendent in 'polished' Light Stone on an Admin Parade with the LAD REME of 3RHA, 25 Armd Bde in Homs in 1956. All Scammell Explorers should be painted so :-D Look at those other sand-coloured vehicles too, ab fab! Pristine black gun planks on the ARV MK1. 'Never seen before' stowage baskets on the Halftrack! Oh, the photo too, 'never shown before'! Would have been early 1956, still 'cold', hence the BDs and, no H markings on the vehicles as preparation for the Suez debacle which they weren't allowed to go to afterall. Photo by Max Warwick REME
  19. 94BD67. I detect Light Stone paint on the jib. This Scammell served in Libya with 3RHA, 25 Armd Bde, 1956, Homs. You really should repaint your Scammell accordingly! Do take a look at the Libya thread, latest post, to see it on parade in its former glory. Libya, Tripolitania, vehicles, barracks 1950s to 1966
  20. What happened there? I just 'replied with quote' and Clive's Hornet markup and his photo appear 'huge' now! :laugh:
  21. Thanks for going to the trouble of marking up 21BK83 Prototype P2 Hornet as you've done Clive, truly illuminating and appreciated. :-) Just a pity there wasn't a little more clarity with my photo of it in the desert. A few more photos to come, associated with the 1961 trials, though not of the Hornet.
  22. Thanks for the above Clive. I shall always look more closely at Humber 1T APCs now, if ever I come across one. I don't think I can find the hasp close-up for you, or any other hasp come to that. :-) So much is yet to be written about those vehicles and their derivatives, as indeed there is about the holistic 'total' history of Hornet, Malkara and the soldiers, civilians and politicians involved. One day, perhaps you will do the honours? Staying on the Humber/Hornet/Malkara Tripolitania too, theme, here's the prototype Hornet launcher below, trialled in the desert 30 miles to the south of Homs, as per the official report Jun-Jul 1961 Tripolitania and, from The Tank. The last four of the VRN are BK83. You'll perhaps tell us the first two digits, please as the report omits the VRN. Notice not just the busy soldiers, but the civi boffins too, oh, and an officer in an official 'officer in charge pose' hoping someone knows what they're doing .. Photo by Peter Goddard 2RTR
  23. There were 4 Chieftains with 1RTR if the below is to be believed! The squadrons would not have stayed afloat for months at a time, certainly going ashore with their tanks, practicing beach landings and other tactical training and, Chieftain evaluations. Not much on the web about these tanks other than this below: Below is from: http://www.1rtr.net/history.html "The Regiment left Hohne for the Middle East in November 1965. B Squadron became the independent squadron in Hong Kong. The rest of the Regiment took over in Little Aden in December 1965, being rejoined by C Squadron in January 1966, from Bahrain. During the 12 month tour the Regiment was engaged in internal security operations in Aden. The Regiment had 4 (yes, it says, 4) Chieftains in Aden on desert trials. They had to carry loads of spare bulbs as the lights kept blowing. Sand induced breakdowns were frequent. *** During the year the Centurions were back loaded and the Regiment gradually undertook light armoured patrols in groups consisting of Ferret Scout Cars; Saracens; Stalwarts; Saladins; 432s and armoured Land Rovers and 3 Tonners. An Air element, equipped with Sioux Helicopters, was included in a newly created Reconnaissance Squadron. In December 1966, the Regiment paraded as the last Armoured Regiment east of Suez, the salute was taken by the Commander in Chief Middle East Command who said, "I'm proud of the Tigers in my Tanks". Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, B Squadron sent detachments to join units in action in Malaysia, as well as being involved in internal security duties". I don't think we know enough from the person who handed the photos over to, was it Starfire (?) to be able to say for sure that these photos were actually taken in Aden and not say, in Bahrain, Sharjah or some other exotic Gulf state. Where's a Chieftain or 1RTR 'expert' when one wants one? (Starfire posted before me, as I was writing, to confirm photos were taken in Aden, thank you) 02EB47, according to Griffin in 'Chieftain', was positioned on SPTA in Mar 2006. He also references 'hot sandy climate' trials with 1RTR in Aden 1966. Nothing by Dunstan in 'Chieftain MBT 1965-2003' or his 'The Chieftain Tank'. But, George Forty in his' MCV Chieftain' asserts 'two Chieftains arrived in Aden for trials, 02EB48 and 02EB44'. Those two tanks did some gunnery practice too, live firing. Four paragraphs. So, where was the Chieftain in 'our' photo, 02EB47 and 'the other one'? So inconclusive an account overall for Chieftains in Aden, such a shame. Digging out 'what really were the circumstances' at any time is always more difficult than imagined, sometimes more than needs be. A peek in the RTR journal The Tank for that period would shed more light. Perhaps. No photos, anywhere, so what Starfire has posted are gems indeed.
  24. Some great photos here, Starfire, thanks for posting A pity Aden was not in Tripolitania! :laugh: You've posted two of them before in one of the threads/links I've listed below. Photos would be from the latter end of the Aden conflict, possibly around 1966/7, judging by the 'guest appearance' of the Chieftain Mk2 and, some late marque Centurions and, application of DBG camouflage. It does not follow that because we're in an Aden thread, that the tank photos, or indeed, maybe the others, were taken in Aden as armoured regiments serving in Aden only seemed to of had perhaps one or two sabre squadrons actually in Aden, the others being 'somewhere' in the Gulf, Sharjah etc., and were rotated through. My best guess, as we've not got any information to accompany these photos, is that the Chieftains never went to Aden! The tank photos could even be early 70's, in the Gulf. The regiment with those tanks? Probably C Sqn, 1 or 5 RTR though I've not checked. Not 4RTR as they had Saladin, Saracen and Ferret in those parts around the Aden conflict period. The Halftrack type shown (converted International M5/M9) is the subject of a 'not filled enough' thread here on the forum, see link below. A great photo. Just look at them multi-hued jerrycans and, all those water chilling devices on the side rack! REME Halftracks, with or without jibs (for engine pack/gearbox removal and general 'lifting' purposes are great vehicles and worthy of specialist attention .... no, not me, I have to do my Tripolitania book stuff, though it's worth noting that I cannot find evidence of such a fine type of Halftrack being used in Tripolitania at any time. 5RTR used them in Barce, Cyrenaica 1955-57. Forward Repair Team-LAD REME Halftracks http://hmvf.co.uk/forumvb/showthread.php?23368-REME-Forward-Repair-Teams Lots of Aden vehicles https://www.pinterest.com/pin/332703491205988139/ 4RTR Aden pre-camouflage era-just pure Light Stone https://get.google.com/albumarchive/115599270779959726365/album/AF1QipN9eYastPAfHA4VR-S__3x0xu2sB6TBJyYnisDY 10th Hussars Aden http://xrhgb.com/xrhaden.html
  25. That was a Cyclops 2RTR Saracen in Homs Barracks and Medenine Barracks, Tripoli from 1959-62, wire up as an ACV and served as the squadron leader's mount. i have the photos and other information. The Saracen probably was handed over to 14/20H who in Oct 1962, took over from Cyclops 2RTR at Medenine. Two years later, there was no armoured representation in Tripolitania so the vehicle may have headed into the RAOC Ord Depot in Malta or Cyprus. The photo above is not of the Saracen in 2RTR ownership. Besides, it looks like it's been 'spoiled' by a dark camouflage paint having been applied. The prongs welded on to the nose would be for Dannert wire coils, ideal for Aden and other trouble spots coming online closer to home!
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