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Guy vix-ants - queens messengers

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Does anybody know whether any of the Civilian Guy Vix- Ants as used as the Queens Messengers ever made it into preservation or does anyone know of any other wartime Vix - Ants which have survived ??

 

Any pics - I have one of a Guy water tanker in the Queens Messenger livery - Any Others?? :coffee:

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Don't know if they still do, but everynight under Terminal One at Heathrow was a Black 3 litre Granda estate. That was Queens messenger's, the famous Greyhound Badge.

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Glynn,

 

You've probably seen the photos in Classic Military Vehicle magazine of Guy Vixants belonging to the Queen's Messengers Convoy / Ministry of Food "Food Flying Squad" (June 2002, p59 & Feb 2003, p4-6). As a brief reminder, I attach a couple of photos from my collection, which I lent for the article; and one of one of the Bedfords now in UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) markings. I suspect the same fate befell the Guys. (As an aside, I note that Czechoslakia received Guys from UNRRA - Wheels & Tracks magazine, #56, p23.) If I'm not mistaken, another picture of this convoy hangs on the wall of the MV museum at the Hop Farm, Beltring.

 

 

 

I've also a vague recollection that I've seen a picture of a Vixant in AFS/NFS markings, but may be mistaken.

IMG_0002.jpg

IMG_0001.jpg

IMG.jpg

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I've been doing some hunting in records at the National Archives - there's a fair bit on the disposal of the QMCs due to the politics of dealing with items donated by prominent people.

 

Very briefly, it seems there were 21 convoys, not 18 as suggested in contemporary publications (and repeated in CMV magazine). A typical convoy consisted of 4x canteen lorries, 2x kitchens, 2x store vans, 2x water tankers, 1x welfare van, 1 x utility vehicle and a dispatch motorbike. Not all the convoys had a welfare van.

 

The water tankers were Guys; the utility a Ford (evidence would suggest WOA2 types); the rest Bedfords - either 30cwt (2 ton) or 3 ton chassis depending on role. I didn't see what the m/cycles were.

All the vehicles appear to have been registered in either the CCA or CUN sequence. From one of my reference books, I believe both of these blocks were issued by the County Council of Denbigh. If that sounds a bit strange, it would seem the Ministry of Food, Emergency Services Division was run from the unlikely address of Colwyn Bay Hotel, Colwyn Bay, N.Wales. I don't have a full fleet list but the Guys I've noted had registration numbers CCA990 and CCA992 to CCA996. The only chassis numbers I have are for two of the Bedfords: OXD/15055 (40cwt Food Store Van, CCA665) & OXD/15031 (40 cwt Food Store Van, CCA685). Further digging at the Denbighshire Record Office, Ruthin may yield further results. Anyone want to take up the challenge?

 

The convoys went variously to UNRRA for service in France and Belgium; to the Netherlands for service in Holland; and to South East Asia Command (SEAC) for service in that region. Also a suggestion that at least one convoy spent some time in Norway.

 

Things that caught my eye:

25/6/41: A note says: "Water Tanks. I noted the point you raised in your last letter and will write to Guys on the subject. Our object in suggesting that the vehicles should be stored empty was to save unnecessary weight on the springs..."

 

I couldn't see the outcome!

 

7/10/41: A note, responding to a request for more utility cars for transporting crew, says: "We had the greatest possible difficulty in obtaining the release of the existing utility vans from an Army Order..." The strong indication was that no further cars would become available.

 

15/12/41: A circular says: "All major servicing and repairs should be carried out by the manufacturer’s agents. Bedford agents exist in all towns where Convoys are situated. If there is not a Guy agent within reasonable distance, all the Guy vehicles should also be taken to the Bedford agent. The utility vans should be dealt with by the Ford dealers... Vauxhall Motors Ltd. and Guy Motors Ltd. have made arrangements with their agents that the Queen’s Messenger vehicles should receive immediate attention. Lists of their agents with whom these arrangements have been made are attached to this circular...

Camouflaging Roofs

Since the issue of circular CON.9 it has been decide that the roofs of all vehicles should be painted dark green and brown in camouflage effect; arrangements for this to be done should be made forthwith. The cost should not exceed 35/- per vehicle.

Battle Honours

Unless the battle honours are already painted on your vehicles the Minister desires that they should be painted as shown on the attached photostat.

The “battle honours” on the water tanker should be painted on the door of the cab starting with the driver’s door, and not on the back of the cab as shown in the photostat..."

 

The drawing shows battle honours to be in red letters on a brown ribbon. It also shows how it should be positioned on the different vehicles.

 

20/10/44: Note says: "It is proposed to withdraw 11 of the 21 QMCs for transfer to the Continent and negotiations with the donors and departments concerned are now proceeding."

 

3/11/44: Letter from Guy Motors: "Dear Col. Llewellin. Very many thanks for your letter of the 31st ult. and I am delighted to have your confirmation of the good work which I had heard the vehicles of the Queen’s Messenger Convoy have been doing.

I note that you are approaching the authorities concerned with supplies with a view to finding out the most effective way the Convoy might be used in the devastated areas of liberated Europe and should it be decided to ship them overseas, if there is any way in which we can be of assistance please do not hesitate to communicate with us.

I might add, that the majority of parts which are used in the construction of these vehicles is identical with one of the military types we supplied in large numbers, together with large stocks of spares, and it may easily be that such spares exist in the particular territories to which the Convoy would be shipped. This is just a thought which may be of some assistance.

Again thanking you for your letter.

Yours sincerely, George (?) Guy."

 

The signature was difficult to read. In retrospect, I'd expect it to be signed by Sidney Guy - mental note to double check sometime.

 

15/11/44: Letter from Buckingham Palace: "Her Majesty notes the suggestion that four convoys should be made available for the needs of the people of Holland, and the remaining eight for those of UNRRA and accordingly approves this use.

The Queen assumes, however, that when you say these “should be handed over to the Netherlands Government” etc., it is not intended to part altogether with these convoys and to terminate their ownership, but only to place them at the disposal of two users who have the expectation of an immediate use of this service.

The War is in a state of continual fluctuation – the requirements of tomorrow may be wholly different to those of today – and The Queen cannot but doubt the wisdom which commit one irrevocably today to a plan which might, in the coming months, preclude an even more valuable use.

Probably this is not intended, but Her Majesty thinks it well to clear any uncertainty as to what is precisely proposed."

 

Ultimately, they were handed over!

 

25/4/1945: Letter from UNRRA: "As you know the Ministry of Food have been so good as to give us a number of Queen’s Messenger Convoys and I should tell you what we are doing with them.

Eight of these, plus four welfare vans, are being diluted to make sixteen Flying Squads to deal with displaced persons on the Continent. Six of these Flying Squads are to leave this month for Belgium and we have been asked by the 21st Army Group for fifteen more Flying Squads. Pending their use in this way we have loaned two of these eight Convoys to the Belgian Commissariat for Civil Defence and they are working in Antwerp, Luge and Brussels. The remaining two Convoys less their welfare vans are being diluted to form four Feeding Columns which it is hoped to ship during May: Two such Columns will go to Yugoslavia, one to Northern Norway and one to Luxembourg. We have been asked by the Norwegians for ten more Feeding Columns for use in Southern Norway, and I suppose we must expect to get further demands.

I am now emboldened to ask whether you can recommend that we should get more. I do so because of our so great need for Europe and I hope you will forgive my making the enquiry."

 

They didn't get the remaining convoys as they went to the Netherlands and SEAC!

 

9/5/45 Note says: "We have made arrangements for the release of the last four of our Queen’s Messenger Convoys at present stationed at Tunbridge Wells, Chelmsford and London (2) to the War Office for use in South East Asia Command and to the Netherlands Military Administration for relief work in Holland. The Convoys at Tunbridge Wells and Chelmsford are going to Holland, the two London Convoys to SEAC. The Convoys for Holland will be transferred to the Netherlands Depot on Tuesday 8th May.

This now disposes of all our Queen’s Messenger Convoy vehicles, with the exception of the motor cycles, which are being disposed of to the Ministry of Supply."

 

15/5/45 Letter from The British War Relief Society Incorporated of the United States of America: "Thank you very much for your letter of May 7th. I have just returned from my visit to Holland and I can now with complete authority speak of the gratitude of the Dutch for this transportation which you have made available to them... I saw one of the Queen’s Messengers at a village called Ede, near Utrecht, and was told that they were performing invaluable services everywhere..."

 

Well, that just about wraps things up. If anyone would like further information do ask and I'll try and answer, although I may not be able to reply until I've made another visit to the NA.

 

There are also plenty of other files to do with canteen vehicles generally, if that's your bag (but I'm not sure I've got the energy to go through them!).

 

Oh, finally, for Robert, I've found this in my collection:

IMG_0001.jpg

Edited by Runflat

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A very interesting history lesson , thank you for sharing it and all the details you have been able to collect .

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Thanks for sharing the fruits of your research intertesting to note the roofs to be camo painted I could never understand the colour sceme they were produced in ?? unless it was to try and raise moral whilst at the site of use ? Here are a couple of colour shots I captures from the britian at war in colour TV series ; Post war the new flying squad vehicles were just plain blue

 

TED

Queens messengers  2.JPG

Queens messengers  1.jpg

Edited by ted angus

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What fantstic colour pictures - thanks Ted.

 

I didn't find anything directly on the origins of the colour scheme, although a circular of 30 April 1941 says: "... Vehicles may be painted in Queen’s Messengers Colours only with the prior consent of the Wartime Meals Division. Save in exceptional circumstances, the only vehicles which will be so painted will be those comprised in the Food Convoys..."

 

Having now started this little project, I'm quite keen to find other material that may be available. Plus there are various 'gaps' that would be nice to fill, such as the true origin of the idea for the convoys; and when are where they were deployed in action in Britain (I have some info as to where they were based). I have in mind a few places in Britain where I can do some further digging. But if anyone can add to the picture post dispoal from the MoF, that would be just as interesting - from the sounds of things the convoys would have gained much publicity. Do send me a PM if you have something to offer. Hopefully there's enough info out there to put together a fuller article at some time.

Meanwhile, wouldn't it be great to see a replica QMC vehicle on the rally scene - the colours alone would make it something different!

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Spot on - Thanks everyone for your input- does anyone know if any have survived into restoration??cheers:coffee:

Gents I know the WVS later WRVS raised as part of ARP later CD were requested to crew the convoys I think there may be stuff in WRVS WVS archives I got some pictures of the 1950s convoys that came third hand from there; I captured the lower of the colour shots as it reveal the lettering colour maroon

 

TED

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Thanks Ted - I hadn't thought of the WVS/WRVS archives. I wish I was retired: to do extensive research is a full time job!

 

To my eyes the lettering is brown - which probably explains why the 'battle honours' were to be done in brown. Or do you have something to the contrary?

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Thanks Ted - I hadn't thought of the WVS/WRVS archives. I wish I was retired: to do extensive research is a full time job!

 

To my eyes the lettering is brown - which probably explains why the 'battle honours' were to be done in brown. Or do you have something to the contrary?

 

Be assure being retired is not what its made out to be; I remained in this area as it was my last post in the RAF i don't know anyone here as all my lads in the RAF have all moved on.

 

I don't have a minute to spare gipsy fire pump models forums household duties its bloody hard work. turnning to the lettering your long post says red letters on brown ribbon, I will have to look at the film again it gives a truer indication. I did think originally it was purple brown whioch is the lower colour used in cabs by many coachbuilders and most famously in the goddess cabs.

must think about bed

TTFN

TED

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Time to pick up this thread again with some info from Motor Transport magazine.

 

February 15, 1941

 

Ministry of Food to Operate Fleet of 150 Emergency Vans

"Flying Squads" for Towns in need of Assistance

 

Over 150 new vehicles have been acquired by the Ministry of Food. This fleet is largely comprised of 30 cwt Guys and 2-3 ton Bedfords, and it is to be divided into 18 "flying squads" of eight vehicles each, which will be available for carrying food and drink to bombed towns. All the vehicles are owned by and will be operated by the Ministry of Food. Each convoy consists of a water tanker of 300 to 350 gallons capacity; two lorries, each containing approximately 6,000 emergency meals; two kitchen lorries, which will be used for the cooking of food; and three canteens, from which much of the food will actually be served. In addition, each squad will have attached to it five motor cycles for despatch carrying.

 

No trailer canteens will be used, as the function of the squads will be to take food where it is needed as quickly as possible. Each complete convoy has cost between £4,000 and £5,000, and bodies for the various vehicles have been made by Spurling Motor Bodies Ltd., Strachens (Successors) Ltd., Cunard Commercial Bodybuilding Co., and G Orton, Son and Spooner. The major portion of the cost is being borne by voluntary contributions from Empire countries and America, while the Queen has presented eight of the mobile canteens.

 

The convoys will be stationed in various parts of the country and will be manned by volunteer drivers, although the local Regional Food Officers will have powers to appoint fully paid drivers if necessary.

 

 

March 29, 1941

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April 12, 1941

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April 26, 1941

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July 5, 1941

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February 14, 1942

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OOOOHH must save this thank you.. The oxford diecast list shows a Bedford canteen van due later in the year may be a guy ant will come along later

thanks again TED

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Some more pictures.

 

The first two are from The Times and The Scotsman respectively, both dated Thursday, March 27, 1941. They show the Queen inspecting one of the new Ministry of Food convoys at Buckingham Palace the previous day. A third picture appears in The Daily Mirror but it is too poor to reproduce. No doubt there is whole series of photos capturing this event. (A link to the British Pathe newsreel is at post #2.)

 

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The next two are from The Western Morning News:-

 

Friday, 25 April, 1941: QUEEN'S MESSENGERS AT PLYMOUTH: Food convoys were rushed to Plymouth following the last raids, and the Queen's Messengers convoy was in operation for the first time in the South-West. Service and AFS men receiving welcome drinks from one of the canteens.

IMG_0004.jpg

 

Wednesday, 30 April, 1941: FOOD FLYING SQUAD HELP BLITZED CITY: Line of field kitchens at a Plymouth car park, where the meals distributed by the Queen's Messengers' convoy are being cooked.

IMG_0005.jpg

 

This last one is from The Times, Saturday, December 16, 1944:-

 

FOR HOLLAND: The Queen with Princess Juliana standing by one of the mobile canteens she has given for service in Holland. Altogether she handed over two "Queen's Messenger" convoys, 22 vehicles, to the Princess for the use of the Dutch Government.

IMG_0001.jpg

Edited by Runflat

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This last one is from The Times, Saturday, December 16, 1944:-

 

FOR HOLLAND: The Queen with Princess Juliana standing by one of the mobile canteens she has given for service in Holland. Altogether she handed over two "Queen's Messenger" convoys, 22 vehicles, to the Princess for the use of the Dutch Government.

 

That's interesting! Does this mean these convoys were used outside of the UK?!?

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Yes. Interestingly, official documents say four columns went to the Dutch Government. Others went to UNRRA (for service in France and Belgium), South East Asia Command (SEAC) and Norway - see post #6.

 

It would be interesting to hear more about what happened after they left Britain.

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Been to the Denbighshire Records Office in Ruthin today to look up some details of the vehicles registered to the Ministry of Food and attach what I found.

 

This covers only the CCA 900 - 999 batch, still plenty to find when I next go back.

Queen's Messenger Vehicles.doc

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Some more vehicles for the Ministry of Food and probably destined for the Queen's Messenger Food Convoys. All Bedfords this time with the exception of CCA 882 which is a BSA motorcycle. Not sure if this was for the Ministry of Food but as it fell in the middle of vehicles for them I have included it.

Queens Messenger Vehicles 3.doc

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