Jump to content
LarryH57

Military Engineering Establishment in Christchurch, Hampshire

Recommended Posts

This is a short Pathe film from 1965 showing the activities of Military Engineering Establishment in Christchurch, Hampshire, since closed and now a retail park?

 

Did the trench digger ever enter service?

 

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/army-innovations/query/Christchurch

Yes the trench digger entered service as the Light Mobile Digger (LMD) now long gone...........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As bob rightly says Thornycroft light mobile digger the one in the clip the prototype top picture the in service version

lower picture

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of it became a retail park, but QinetiQ ran a small area of the site for bridge test and wet gap crossing until a few years ago. It now has, or is about to become a supermarket and housing estate: http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/9320528.Multi_million_pound_plans_to_transform_derelict_Christchurch_riverside_site/

 

The pub/restaurant on the retail park is called The Bailey Bridge, so at least some history remains.

 

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Did the trench digger ever enter service?

 

Definate yes.

But fitted with a cab.

I used to operate one for a year or two around 1980 - 1

Very thirsty for petrol when operating about 15 gallon an hour at working revs and a large flame out of the exhaust.

Just what you want when trying to dig a hole at night in the open.

Edited by ploughman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of the LMDs came out through Aston Down in the early '90s. Can't have been well liked as they only made a few hundred each.

 

I went to the auctions when MEXE / MVEE / DRA / DERA Christchurch closed. Shame, really. Unfortunately I think a lot of the more interesting odds & ends that were still there went in the bin. Bought a Sentinel office trailer and some odds & ends - in fact, I'm still using some hand tools I bought there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A lot of the LMDs came out through Aston Down in the early '90s. Can't have been well liked as they only made a few hundred each.

 

.

 

I overhauled a good few of these and being involved with a lot of Engineers plant at the time, thought they were a fascinating piece of kit despite a few shortcomings. The whole digging frame could be offset left or right, spoil conveyor would go either way, and a hydraulic drive on the transfer box would drive the vehicle at digging speed. As has already been said, the choice of a B81 to power it was not good and a diesel would have been better. Driving it had the feel of a WW2 British truck and was actually based on the old Thornycroft Nubian 4x4. I can quite understand why they would not have sold well at auction as their use commercially would have been limited, with a set digging depth for trenches and gun pits as I recall. Always enjoyed testing them after repairs, but operating them all day might have been a chore! :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like you I thought they were brilliant things, very clever but I suspect they went for breaking money - a B81, the hydraulics and what they weighed. Shame really. Again, it's one of those thing I nearly bought just because they were so cheap, but I couldn't see a use for it and didn't want to buy and break them, so I didn't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Like you I thought they were brilliant things, very clever but I suspect they went for breaking money - a B81, the hydraulics and what they weighed. Shame really. Again, it's one of those thing I nearly bought just because they were so cheap, but I couldn't see a use for it and didn't want to buy and break them, so I didn't.

 

I purchased two of these from Aston Down, one cost £380+VAT. This would be the late 1990's so even at todays money quite cheap

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From an operators point of view my biggest complaint was the changeover switch from Creep Drive to Normal by the Air changeover switch. Could often take 10 - 20 attempts all the while getting abuse from some irate infantry man.

 

Close behind that in popularity came changing the digging teeth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...