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British WWII Lightweight 100 Gallon Water Trailers

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I restored one of these seldom seen small water treatment bowsers a few years ago. They were developed, along with a wide range of other specialist trailers, based on 10 cwt components for the Airborne divisions.

At least one was said to have been landed by glider on D-day and used to set up a water point on the River Orme at Benouville.


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They consist of a 100 galvanised tank on a special mild steel chassis that utilises standard 10 cwt wheel. axle, hitch and brakes. Water filtration is by a Metafilter.



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They are rare and only a handful are still known to exist. One other has been fully restored and a couple of others are in the process of rebuilds in Uk and the Netherlands.


So imagine my surprise five years ago, when walking in a remote part of West Sussex near Midhurst to find these in an overgrown corner of a field:


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Having discovered these bowsers tanks, in then took several months to find the farmer who owned them as he did not live near the site.

There then was a protracted period of several years trying to persuade him to part with them, even though they clearly had not been used for decades.


This was finally achieved last month and a friend and I drove to collect them with an enjoyable 80 mile round trip in our Jeeps and Airborne trailers.


As the bowser tanks were galvanised, they have survived remarkably well, but the pre-war truck chassis that they had been mounted on had rotted into the ground. I assume they were purchased at a surplus sale after the war and just used to take water for livestock.


Their location was so remote and overgrown, that anything larger than a Jeep would not have gained access without some significant arboricultural work.


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Really just a story of patience and persistence paying off, and now both bowser tanks have been saved.

I'm pleased to say one is already with its new owner in the North of England who plans to mount it on an original Lightweight Water trailer chassis that he has but was missing its bowser tank.


So I hope we'll see another one of these unusual trailers at shows in the future.


P.s.: If anyone knows where there is a Metafilter looking a for a home.....please let me know






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I'm pleased to say that both of these bowser tanks have now found new homes and will be used to build 100 gallon Lightweight Water Bowsers.


The first went to Richard in UK last year, the second was also quickly sold to Paul in USA and was shipped out today:





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This post has been over ten years in the making!

Feel its only fitting  that I continue where John left off. 

It all started with the purchase of a 10cwt 100 gallon water lightweight trailer chassis over 10 years ago...

These rarely come onto the market and was one of the missing links in my Airborne collection. The trailer had been through numerous collectors hands, and having personally missed purchasing the trailer 12 months prior I wasn't going to let it slip again so I bit the bullet and made the  purchase and took delivery. :-) 

I figured the best course of action would be to only start the restoration once I had 90% of the parts to complete .

The key component would be the water tank itself. The likelihood of finding an original that had been salvaged after the war, spent its life on a farm full of water,  hadn't rotted out or had long since being sold  off for scrap.. my starting point was to contact someone who had a good original example of these trailers, who didn't mind me crawling all over it so I could take measurements create templates so I could  remake a new tank. 

John was that person. My plans we're (at some point in time) to visit with a camera and tape measure. So you can imagine my surprise with a call out of the blue that two had been found in a corner of the field. 

Again another long wait, several years later my day came to go and collect. Finally the restoration was starting to take traction. 

Unfortunately I have had a small mishap with a laptop hard drive, so have limited pictures. 

The water trailer chassis  is the forth from the left.  







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Hi Richard...and here is the Bowser before you collected it from me.

Great that  we were able to reunite a chassis and bowser....but what we'd like to see is some current photos of progress!

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Thanks John

The progress has been slow and steady, I figured the best plan would be to try and collect all the bits before I start. 

Obviously getting the tank was a big push in the right direction. So many thanks for that. 

The next focus would be to turn up a pump and filter. Easier said than done. Filters are practicably impossible to find, constructed from brass and copper. chances of these surviving the scrap man very slim....... fortunately Ian (restoring 180 gallon water bowser trailer) was kind enough to let me measure one of his originals. 

So this was my starting point. No luck in picking up an original (10 years in the looking) nothing. so onto making an replica.  

So progress so far.




Edited by Jerryjeeprichard
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