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Underwater_Alex

Thistlegorm vehicles - mistaken identities

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FUEL_1.jpg

 

application.pdf

Not sure if this picture will work but if not here is a link AA72-05 Albion AM463 Refueller.jpg. The first thing that caught my eye with this truck was the hoop shape behind the cab that I mistakenly thought was part of the fuel tank. As can be seen in the picture this is not the case. The second feature was the spirals from the original hoses. Finally, the 3 posts at the back are still easily recognisable. However, I am sure that the manufacturer would use the same fuel system on different chassis so it may not be an Albion AM463.

 

That picture looks very close to me. Has the spare wheel and wheel arches. :-)

Edited by Underwater_Alex
Added my own picture so it was clear what was being discussed.

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You are right Alex, this is the biggest truck I have seen on the wreck. However, it does not have a distinctive bonnet which is on the TS19 pictures I have seen. What was noticeable at the time and in your picture is the cylindrical object next to the drivers seat. Its a very curious vehicle.

 

Tony

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Just found another thread linked to Simon HMVF and one of the vehicles may be a Leyland Hippo(4002188462_6b64e02438.jpg). I think the image is of a MKII which is post war but there is a soft cab variant which may explain why it seemed to be missing.

 

Tony

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I think the key is the support bracket for the central windscreen pillar seen on the Retriever. Using the same cab front panel as the Retriever by the look of it, the Hippo was very much a latecomer in the war - what date did the Thistlegorm sink?

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I think the key is the support bracket for the central windscreen pillar seen on the Retriever. Using the same cab front panel as the Retriever by the look of it, the Hippo was very much a latecomer in the war - what date did the Thistlegorm sink?

 

Sank in 1941 so your suggestion of the Retriever is probably correct.

 

Tony

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Hi Chaps, having a real problem navigating this and several other forums since I updated to internet explorer 9 anyway

We also believed the truck with the 4 pillars is a truck that carried bridging components and is either a Leyland or an Albion but a Leyland looks favourite.

The truck with just the front view is a new one to me but i also think its a Leyland which had a canvas top to the cab,

 

The truck with the wheel on the drivers door is an Albion bowser with the 3 refuelling booms, I have a note on a disc that motorcycles in hold 2 were BSA but personally motorcycles are not in my knowledge pot ! Once I get these bl**dy pc problems sorted I will try and contribute more to this thread including pictures wish me luck no wonder I have no hair and now the state pension.

I would like to share this with my son but he is abroad and it may be some weeks be fore I see him.

 

TED

Edited by ted angus

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Thank you for the continued encouragement. The Norton exhaust is certainly interesting and I will check that on my next visit to the wreck. Although I have photographed the Thistlegorm many times, I have not photographed there since understanding exactly what is what. I know the wreck very well and know exactly where every vehicle is, I just didn't know what they were.

 

That is a big part of this project for me - as it will be great to return there and know what everything is and hopefully a few new things might crop up.

 

To answer a couple of questions from 79x100, all the bikes I have seen on the wreck are fully assembled and were loaded onto the flatbeds of the various trucks.

Also, I don't think that any cargo was unloaded in Cape Town.

 

Alex, if there is enough of those Nortons visible next time, distinguishing points for the India Office machines are the grab-handle front mudguard stay, the extra-wide sump bash plate and the rear mounted air filter (although the British Army also had these fitted during 1937). If Thistlegorm didn't take on extra cargo at Cape Town, then I'm at a loss to understand how it came to include motorcycles supplied prior to mid-1939 to the Indian Army or the British Army in India (it's a complicated piece of colonial history).

 

Glad to see Ted on the thread by the way. This is going to be one of those that there is much to learn from.

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I agree with Tony (NOS) on his identification of the Retreiver but I favour an Albion for the bridge type vehicle as the front wing looks much more Albion than Leyland.

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Wow, lots of great progress.

 

We also believed the truck with the 4 pillars is a truck that carried bridging components and is either a Leyland or an Albion but a Leyland looks favourite.

The truck with the wheel on the drivers door is an Albion bowser with the 3 refuelling booms.

Once I get these bl**dy pc problems sorted I will try and contribute more to this thread including pictures wish me luck no wonder I have no hair and now the state pension.

I would like to share this with my son but he is abroad and it may be some weeks be fore I see him.

TED

 

 

Thanks Ted. That is excellent information. Thanks for the input despite your computer problems at the moment, it is especially valuable as you've done this all before and have seen them underwater, rather than just in photos, plus back then, the vehicles were in better condition too.

 

I agree with Tony (NOS) on his identification of the Retreiver but I favour an Albion for the bridge type vehicle as the front wing looks much more Albion than Leyland.

 

That Leyland Retreiver is a great one. My uneducated eyes hadn't even noticed it was different!

 

Alex

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The next vehicle is the Morris CS 8 light truck, which I am pretty confident I have ID'ed correctly because of its distinctive shape, especially bonnet.

 

There are on the upper deck of holds 1 and 2. I am not sure how many there are as I have never counted them - my guess would be 4-6.

 

The distinctive shape of the bonnet is very characteristic. Plus separate wheel arches and different tyres to the other similar sized vehicles on the wreck. I think that is the starting handle at the bottom of the radiator.

MORRIS_1.jpg

 

Here are a pair of Morris CS 8, nose to nose:

MORRIS_2.jpg

 

This is the right hand one from the photo above. Part of the headlight is still there:

MORRIS_3.jpg

 

And another one:

MORRIS_5.jpg

 

As with the other posts, please let me know where I am wrong.

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The next trucks are the Ford/Fordson WOTs. There are twelve in the lower level of hold 2, in two rows of three on each side. They all face towards the bow in a symmetrical layout.

What is the difference in calling them Ford or Fordson?

 

These are also probably the most photographed trucks on the wreck because they are in one of the spacious areas of the hold, so just about every visitor swims over these. The front row on each side has Norton 16H motorbikes loaded onto them. The second row are more buried by material, including rifle boxes, wellington boots etc.

 

The diving magazines/books have regularly labelled these as Bedford trucks! And I have been guilty of propagating this incorrect information - the mistake of thinking that books written specifically about the Thistlegorm are sources of reference.

 

I also struggle to know the difference between WOT 1, WOT 2 and WOT 3. From looking at all the pictures, I think that these are WOT 3s. The first row of two rows always look bigger than the second row, although the other details of the trucks look the same. Maybe the floor of the hold was lower where the second row are. It is very dark in this area of the hold and the trucks are buried in a lot of detritus. So it is easy to be confused.

 

This is the classic view of two of the Ford WOT3s. This is the front row on the port side, middle truck of the three in the foreground.

WOT_1.jpg

 

This is the same truck from the other side:

WOT_2.jpg

 

And this is the most central of the first row of the three port side WOTs:

WOT_3.jpg

 

These all have motorbikes on their backs.

 

The ones above are all from the front row.

 

As I said above, I always feel that the second row are a bit smaller than the front row, but this could be an illusion, because they are more buried, or the floor of the hold is lower, or perhaps have different wheels? These are the three front row WOT trucks on the starboard side, with nortons in the back. 1 is the outermost, 3 is closest to the centre of the ship. 4 & 5 are the second row of WOTs. I think this photo does show that the tops of the cabs of the second row appear much lower than the front row.

 

WOT_8.jpg

 

 

This is the central truck on row two, starboard side.

 

WOT_4.jpg

 

This is the inner most one on the starboard side, still row two.

WOT_5.jpg

 

Here are the same two again, with lighting inside the second one to give the image more visual depth:

WOT_6.jpg

 

And this one is the middle truck on the port side, row two:

WOT_7.jpg

 

Are these all the same? And are they all WOT3s?

Edited by Underwater_Alex
Extra image added.

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I agree with the CS8s (though I am no expert) as I specifically looked for them on this trip.

 

These vehicles on the upper deck get called WOT 2s but I think the radiator shape is wrong. Do you have better pictures Alex to aid identification.

 

Tony

 

 

Yes, I'll do those in my next post, Tony. They are one of the most prominent and common vehicles on the Thistlegorm, so I am sure there is correct ID out there somewhere!

 

I don't have a clue what they are and indeed if they are all the same. They are all in vary states of vandalisation! So I have a range of images and each image helps build the picture of a complete vehicle.

 

I discounted WOT-2 for them because the radiator filler cap is ontop of the radiator, whereas it is more set back on the WOTs.

 

 

I'll post them later on today.

 

Alex

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Hopefully sorted the PC so much easier to move between messages

Firstly I have found a positive ID feature foir the bridging truck it is as Degsy stated its an Albion model Albion BY5 the recognition feature is the grab handle on the forward edge of the cab side- There is a grab handle on all the various 6x4 types but the Albion is the only one with it in this location, the rear body is a Bridging FBE to give it its full title Folding Boat Body No 1 Mk11 by Weymans - it is the onlt variant of the bridging trucks with that high locker arrangement behind the cab- I will stick my neck out and say it is only this variant that carries the spare wheel as seen in the picture at message 17 all the other variants carry it behind the cab.

re The Fordsons with the motor cycles in the back are WOT3 4x2 The WOT3A was a 1 tonner the BCD & E were 30 cwt.

For your interest the WOT1 was a 6x4 3 tonner sharing an identical cab with the WOT3; The WOT2 was a smaller vehicle of 15cwt capacity.

 

TED

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Hopefully sorted the PC so much easier to move between messages

Firstly I have found a positive ID feature foir the bridging truck it is as Degsy stated its an Albion model Albion BY5 the recognition feature is the grab handle on the forward edge of the cab side- There is a grab handle on all the various 6x4 types but the Albion is the only one with it in this location, the rear body is a Bridging FBE to give it its full title Folding Boat Body No 1 Mk11 by Weymans - it is the onlt variant of the bridging trucks with that high locker arrangement behind the cab- I will stick my neck out and say it is only this variant that carries the spare wheel as seen in the picture at message 17 all the other variants carry it behind the cab.

 

Fantastic diagnosis and information. Wow!

 

Just to be sure, is this the handle that allowed you to make the positive ID? :shocked:

 

albion_BY5_handle.jpg

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OK, and now the ones that Tony Edge posted about earlier - that I have really struggled with, every time I think I have an idea, there is always something on them that does not add up.

 

Also I am not sure that they are all the same (because of my inexperience and also the vehicles are in varying states of completeness, or incompleteness), but my guess is that they are all the same.

Distinctive features are tall radiator with cap on top. Front wheel arches attached to the bonnet. Spare wheel attached n the right hand side. Lights either side of radiator. Three spoke steering wheel - now all stolen. Two seaters with flat load bed behind (on the Thistlegorm, this is often filled with BSA motorbikes).

 

If you watch Cousteau's original 1955 footage from the wreck, you can see that they had a square windscreen, split into 4 pains of glass. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPBwwOzP3sA - these cars are on screen for about 5 second at around 03:12.

 

There are lots of these on the wreck, on the upper level of hold 1 and 2. Below are photos:

CAR_1.jpg

 

CAR_7.jpg

 

CAR_2.jpg

 

CAR_3.jpg

 

CAR_5.jpg

 

This is the same one as in Tony's photo (post #41)

CAR_6.jpg

 

 

This one has different tyres to the others:

CAR_4.jpg

Edited by Underwater_Alex

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On the question posed earlier in this thread "why Ford and Fordson names ?". As I understand it Henry Ford wasn't interested in building trucks and tractors in the UK, but his son was, so they started a seperate division.

 

David

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Those trucks have quite distinctive high sides to the bonnet with full length vertical louvres. Morris-Commercial CS11/30s ?

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Fantastic diagnosis and information. Wow!

 

Just to be sure, is this the handle that allowed you to make the positive ID

 

albion_BY5_handle.jpg

 

Yes that is it the other 6x4 open cab types have a handle on the outward face

TED

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As the ship left port on 2nd June and production of Albion BY5's only commenced in May I think it is more likely to be a BY3 which continued in production until November, this was all 1941.

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Am I right in thinking that the pink fish are a variety of SOLDIERFISH? Now wouldn't that be appropriate!

 

(sorry - all those images of Morris trucks triggered a bout of Attention Deficit Disorder)

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