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BlueBelle

Libya, Tripolitania, vehicles, barracks 1950s to 1966

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Ha Ha Richard! I need to type faster, perhaps!

Fancy, we both 'got it' and I'm so impressed, you have the book! :-D

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A 2RTR Ferret Mk1, 34BA26 NOMAD displaying the Colours or Standards in 1960/1. The vehicle belongs to Nero (HQ) sqn and the vehicle name is on the superstructure front sides though not visible on this shot. The location is the old airstrip to the east of Leptis Magna and about 3 miles from the camp in Homs, Tripolitania. What, you can’t find the airstrip on the map? I can; depends also on what map you’re looking at! Behind NOMAD are the ruins of an old Italian fort. My, what a tatty 2RTR flag or an optical illusion. A rather long whip antenna? What radio set was fitted for this antenna and why that long antenna on this parade occasion? The Standards bearer is the RQMS (a family friend) and the driver’s wife baby-sat for us! How many official 'real' Standards Parades were there during 2RTR's time in Libya? I have photos of similar occasions ‘in the desert’ where the uniforms (and attendant bands – all non RTR!) wore best BDs, KDs and even, for the Standard bearer and driver, Blues!

Families and guests were bussed from Homs in those Bedford SB buses that have Green Goddess-type fronts (not the flat-fronted SBs) to spectate from seats erected on the side slopes of the airstrip.

Do you know where 34BA26 is now? I don’t.

So much information from just one old photo, so many memories evoked and yet, so many questions, unanswered.

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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A great thread of 'bygone days' which all of us contribute to over the years in our own special way. Note the RQMS is wearing a good set of medals.

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Could that be a Morris Commercial MRA1 in the background? Pretty sure it is not a K9

 

Yes, it could be, even the welding truck version though the plant generator can’t be seen! The tilt ‘looks’ more MRA1 ton than it does K9 and I’m sure that looks like the prominent body strake rail of the MRA1 Ton.

 

I'm certain that's a K9, and I've owned enough of them. K9 GS had the big rubbing strake as well, above the rear arch as in the photo whereas I'm pretty sure the one on the MRA1 is interrupted by the wheelarch; and you can see the wheelarch extensions on the front wings and the prominent curve of the wing.

 

Another view, showing the ramps.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]118696[/ATTACH]

 

- and a couple of nice K9s!

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I'm certain that's a K9, and I've owned enough of them. K9 GS had the big rubbing strake as well, above the rear arch as in the photo whereas I'm pretty sure the one on the MRA1 is interrupted by the wheelarch; and you can see the wheelarch extensions on the front wings and the prominent curve of the wing.

 

That's it! Settled! Settled by the 'whole body length' rubbing strake of a K9 being on view, quite right, thank you Sean. I'd forgotton about the 'interupted' strake of the MRA1. There are people 'out there' who sincerely believe the GS bodies of the K9 and MRA1 were identical ......... though they're not on this forum. :-D

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BlueBelle said:
S/Sgt Wally Roach, REME. Fitters Saracen, Ajax, 2RTR out of D'Aosta Barracks, Benghazi (Cyrenaica). I have other photos of him with his Saracen. The other chap is REME too, name unknown. Wally Roach was nominated by my father for the award of a BEM, which he received (as a WO2 {AQMS}) for his ideas and work on the Saracen reverse air cooling system whilst out in Libya. Yes, Saracens pulled 1 ton trailers!

 

Following my previous about S/Sgt Wally Roach, REME and the LAD fitters Saracen, Ajax, 2RTR out of D'Aosta Barracks, Benghazi (Cyrenaica), here are two photos of the Saracen and Wally on a different occasion. This photo was taken by one Wilf Harrison, REME attached 2RTR, who was previously a 2RTR regimental fitter ‘forced’ to rebadge along with thousands of others when regiments ‘lost’ many of their regimental trades (mid to late 1950s). Wilf was also a dab hand with a camera and was employed as a regimental photographer who’s collection of 2RTR photos has been passed to his son and daughter and made available to me to use. This, and any subsequent photos by Wilf Harrison will be credited, as requested in memory to their dad, as ‘Wilf Harrison 2RTR/REME’.

Photo: Wilf Harrison 2RTR/REME

Photo: Wilf Harrison 2RTR/REME

Edited by BlueBelle

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It went quiet, maybe you fell off your sandbags or got a bigger kick on here out of winter woolly combat hats? :-D

Thanks to Charles Yerrell 6RTR/2RTR for the following photos and for allowing me to use them. Sandbags plumped up again, bottle of Miranda to hand, sit back and enjoy!

Look what was parked up in front of the 2RTR cookhouse in Homs, Libya 1959! Far more exciting than a Katy K2 fake, Richard!

There were three of these parked up (dumped), used in the film 'Ice Cold in Alex' and then returned to Homs for plunder by LAD fitters determined to keep other ones 'on the road', so to speak. They must have been 'borrowed' from 6RTR who occupied Homs 1957-59 as the film was made in 1957 to early 1958 and released in June 1958. There's just a slim chance that they were 'borrowed' from 3RHA who were in Homs prior to 6RTR. No prizes for guessing the correct make and model number (with justification for guess).

 

 

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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It went quiet, maybe you fell off your sandbags or got a bigger kick on here out of winter woolly combat hats? :-D

Thanks to Charles Yerrell 6RTR/2RTR for the following photos and for allowing me to use them. Sandbags plumped up again, bottle of Miranda to hand, sit back and enjoy!

Look what was parked up in front of the 2RTR cookhouse in Homs, Libya 1959! Far more exciting than a Katy K2 fake, Richard!

There were three of these parked up (dumped), used in the film 'Ice Cold in Alex' and then returned to Homs for plunder by LAD fitters determined to keep other ones 'on the road', so to speak. They must have been 'borrowed' from 6RTR who occupied Homs 1957-59 as the film was made in 1957 to early 1958 and released in June 1958. There's just a slim chance that they were 'borrowed' from 3RHA who were in Homs prior to 6RTR. No prizes for guessing the correct make and model number (with justification for guess).

[ATTACH=CONFIG]119754[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH=CONFIG]119755[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH=CONFIG]119756[/ATTACH]

 

Hi Lizzie,

Wondered where you had gone! They would be British halftracks, as this one is an International, as can be seen by shape of front wings and radiused corners on rear of hull, not sure of designation M5 I think.

 

Still think an Austin K2 is more desirable ;)

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No prizes for guessing the correct make and model number

 

Truck 3 ton 4x4 GS Bedford RL.

 

Oh, sorry...

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Yes Richard! :yay: Not an M9A1 as the fuel tanks are 'up front' in the load compartment so it's an IHC M5/M5A1. It was tinkered with though, probably for the 'german role' as there are vertical side extensions (approx 6") to the load compartment and some sort of strip welded on below that which made me think it was an M14 (based on an M5) with its fold-down upper sides as a number of them were stripped of their Maxson gun turrets and converted back into 'normal' halftracks and command vehicles. But no, not an M14 either. 3RHA may have some at Homs.

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Truck 3 ton 4x4 GS Bedford RL.

 

Oh, sorry...

:laugh::laugh::laugh: You are so naughty! I need more info Sean. Just a 'normal' GS? With winch? Early or late cab?

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Difficult to tell from such a small photo, Lizzie. I'd hazard a guess that it's an RLB or RLD so without the winch, and an early cab (and body). Might even be one of the trucks featured earlier in this thread?

Edited by Sean N

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Difficult to tell from such a small photo, Lizzie. I'd hazard a guess that it's an RLB or RLD so without the winch, and an early cab (and body). Might even be one of the trucks featured earlier in this thread?

Ah, Sean, you fell for my tease! :-D Yes, the photo is 'small', the Bedford could be, as you say though as I've not shown a Homs-based Bedford yet, 'we've' not seen it before on here. What makes you think it's an early cab? I thought you'd need a frontal view to establish cab type (hi/low headlights, radiator cowling cutout, grill, logo etc. There looks to be a hip ring gun ball mount, but I could be seeing things. Do please tell more about the cargo body types, early and late.

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Ah, Sean, you fell for my tease! :-D Yes, the photo is 'small', the Bedford could be, as you say though as I've not shown a Homs-based Bedford yet, 'we've' not seen it before on here. What makes you think it's an early cab? I thought you'd need a frontal view to establish cab type (hi/low headlights, radiator cowling cutout, grill, logo etc. There looks to be a hip ring gun ball mount, but I could be seeing things. Do please tell more about the cargo body types, early and late.

 

Well, only slightly. I thought you were teasing but thought I'd go for it anyway - and may have been teasing you back!

 

The high headlights were only in the very, very early vehicles - the lights were dropped quite soon, and many earlier cabs have low lights (counting 'early cab' as the type with the solid upper grille panel, rather than high vs low headlights). See your photo of 35 BR 68 on the first page.

 

I'm guessing an early cab for two reasons; partly because it doesn't look as though there's a lip round the upper grille (though it might be in shadow, and really the photo's too small to tell anyway) but mainly because in '58 / '59 the later style with the mesh upper grille would have been fairly new, so there's a higher chance that it's the earlier one!

 

You will now no doubt produce a photo of the same vehicle clearly showing mesh grille and winch fairleads.

 

I certainly don't have dates & changes for cargo body types on 3 / 4 tonners and my knowledge is by no means definitive, but my understanding is the type shown with four panels and two rows of tilt hooks is earlier, whereas later vehicles typically have a split drop side (so you can drop the front or rear half) with six panels, three on each half - see this photo of 50 EL 82 on Miliblog: http://miliblog.co.uk/wp-content/creativegallery/readers-photos-raymond/bedford-rl-3ton-cargo-50-el-82.jpg

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I served with 19 Armd Wksps and also 5 Medium Wksps, later Station Wksps REME, between 1956--58. This location does not look familiar to me at all. I was also temporarily attached to the Queen's Bays during the making of the film "No Time to Die" with Victor Mature, Antony Newly et al[ATTACH=CONFIG]118243[/ATTACH]I know you're all as keen as Richard to see 'those' Libya vehicle photos that I wrote about, so lets start with this: (All photos belong to me unless otherwise indicated/accredited, and where this is the case, I have express written permission to show them. so please, no copying).

 

The year is 1959/60 or summer 1961. The car photographed is parked up at a barracks in Tripoli, Tripoli it is as (I know it’s not Homs Barracks or D’Aosta Barracks, Benghazi) I can see the Tripolitania Dhow flash on the Bedford RL and on the Landrover (can you?). There’s also a Ferret Mk? and a couple of 1ton trailers (Brockhouse or Sankey – I can’t make out the panel x ribbing?). I’m guessing this was the Tripoli Station Workshop? I also know who the car belonged to (a 2RTR officer) and that it did end up in Tripoli Station Workshop. In which Tripoli barracks though, were the workshops located? The workshops were known in the early 50s as 1 Base Wksp, then 1st Infantry Wksp, then 5 Medium Wksp, then Station Wksp and finally, from 1960 to 1966 and withdrawal of British forces from Tripolitania by March 1966, as 61 Station Wksp though trying to find ‘official’ corroboration is not easy or as yet, complete. The question also is, were the workshops always in the same barracks? Don't be shy in coming forward as I don't know and can't find the answer anywhere, yet. Besides, the REME Museum don’t want to play as they’re busy reorganising their furniture and polishing exhibits having recently moved from Arborfield to Lyneham.

 

An accredited critic once said of this car that it was the most ineffective bit of engineering since the Maginot Line. The metal was so thin and rickety that you could hear rusting taking place. Its most salient feature was its slowness, a rate of acceleration you could measure with a calendar, frequently losing in drag races with vintage farm equipment. The car was made world-wide and over 2 million of them were sold, thus proving how desperately people wanted cars. Any cars. The car is, of course the Renault Dauphine.

 

 

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I served with 19 Armd Wksps and also 5 Medium Wksps, later Station Wksps REME, between 1956--58. This location does not look familiar to me at all. I was also temporarily attached to the Queen's Bays during the making of the film "No Time to Die" with Victor Mature, Antony Newly et al[ATTACH=CONFIG]118243[/ATTACH]I know you're all as keen as Richard to see 'those' Libya vehicle photos that I wrote about, so lets start with this: (All photos belong to me unless otherwise indicated/accredited, and where this is the case, I have express written permission to show them. so please, no copying).

 

The year is 1959/60 or summer 1961. The car photographed is parked up at a barracks in Tripoli, Tripoli it is as (I know it’s not Homs Barracks or D’Aosta Barracks, Benghazi) I can see the Tripolitania Dhow flash on the Bedford RL and on the Landrover (can you?). There’s also a Ferret Mk? and a couple of 1ton trailers (Brockhouse or Sankey – I can’t make out the panel x ribbing?). I’m guessing this was the Tripoli Station Workshop? I also know who the car belonged to (a 2RTR officer) and that it did end up in Tripoli Station Workshop. In which Tripoli barracks though, were the workshops located? The workshops were known in the early 50s as 1 Base Wksp, then 1st Infantry Wksp, then 5 Medium Wksp, then Station Wksp and finally, from 1960 to 1966 and withdrawal of British forces from Tripolitania by March 1966, as 61 Station Wksp though trying to find ‘official’ corroboration is not easy or as yet, complete. The question also is, were the workshops always in the same barracks? Don't be shy in coming forward as I don't know and can't find the answer anywhere, yet. Besides, the REME Museum don’t want to play as they’re busy reorganising their furniture and polishing exhibits having recently moved from Arborfield to Lyneham.

 

An accredited critic once said of this car that it was the most ineffective bit of engineering since the Maginot Line. The metal was so thin and rickety that you could hear rusting taking place. Its most salient feature was its slowness, a rate of acceleration you could measure with a calendar, frequently losing in drag races with vintage farm equipment. The car was made world-wide and over 2 million of them were sold, thus proving how desperately people wanted cars. Any cars. The car is, of course the Renault Dauphine.

 

 

Well, would you believe it? We have a new comment on this exciting and captivating thread! Yay! I'm so very happy and even happier that the commentator is 'someone who was there', there in Tripolitania as a serving REME ('Yay' again) soldier! Fantastic! Greetings Magnakater on this, I presume to be your first post and thank you for posting on this thread. You are going to have to post more and more, photos and facts and annecdotes galore, please.

Now then, the location for that photo, based on a batch of new photos I've received since I posted that one, confirms .... wait for it, that the location was not anywhere in Tripoli though it was without doubt, Homs Camp, Tripolitania!

The car, a red Dauphine, belonged to one Lt Rob Ockenden 2RTR (a similar white Dauphine was bought at the same time by another junior officer) and I am reliably informed that the two officers in the mornings would race each other down the road from the nearby Officers Mess in their Dauphines. The duty provost would hear them approaching and open the barrier allowing them to hurtle in to the barracks and across the square to the Cyclops squadron office block, sounding their car horns and screech to a halt by the office steps. One morning the usual happened, but Lt Ockenden's brakes failed and his car hit the office steps causing considerable damage to his car, much to the amusement of the squadron who were lined up ready to be marched on to the square for first parade.

 

See, history is a mystery, even if was written down in the first instance! For me, history always generates more questions than I'll ever get answers to!

 

Exciting developments! I now have in my non-sticky mitts another 300 photos and slides of 2RTR Homs (some Benghazi) awaiting scanning on my new gizzmo (when I've learned how to use it properly; the old one went up in a puff of smoke!!). In amongst the cache of treasure were lots of photos of Homs barracks and 'sand-coloured stuff' in it, including shots of the bottom south-east corner of the barracks (REME had the bottom 1/4 of the barracks) which show that the wrecked car is without doubt, parked up in Homs barracks, REME area and therefore, not 'somewhere' in Tripoli. Yay! The new photos of Homs and other parts of Tripolitania, once scanned will appear here for your perusal and enjoyment. Prior to then, I expect soon to put some other sand-coloured stuff here, especially Scammell Explorers and in particular, the story of 94BD17 :-) in photos whilst in Tripolitania.

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Well, Magnakater sadly is playing doggo, not even answering PMs, and as no one else is playing (not even AndyB anymore), I thought I'd treat you to a drool over these two photos from Spr Frank Hallsworth, taken in Tripoli 1956-57. He was in an NS draft squad from the W.Midlands who were all posted to 22 Eng Regt Tripoli, most of whom seem to have entered into 6 Fd Pk Sqn of that regiment based at Prinn Barracks. The other squadrons were based in Gialo Barracks Tripoli, though 3 Sqn were on permanent detachment to Cyprus. Through my investigative persual, I tracked Frank down and with the kindness of one of his sons, Kevin, I now have all of his Dad's Tripoli photos and usage permissions. Sand-coloured stuff, great!

 

Oh, look, its THAT Scammell Explorer, yes, 94BD17 that we've seen before on here. Isn't this exciting stuff as we see the machine in the hands of its first 'owner', new into service with Spr Frank Hallsworth! Yes, The RE 'owned and operated' Scammells, not just REME type bods. Apart from the affiliation with the W. Mids, you'll notice perhaps the affiliation to a regional beer (jerrycan full of it?) on his Explorer cab roof and the sign that lovingly displays the name of his wife, Jean. A Scammell Explorer named 'Jean'. Hats off to Frank and Jean! 6 Fd Pk Sqn also operated a Scammell Pioneer too, look, see! More to come of that sand-coloured Scammell Explorer soon.

Can you see some Hippos? I can.

Of course, I can see a white rhino too, thus indicating 25 Armd Bde and/or 10 Armd Div, depending on whether or not the photo was just prior to Operation Musketeer or just after. The Libya units of 10 Armd Div of course never deployed but did prepare and vehicles bore the 10 Armd Div white rhino on a black oval AND a white H on cab vehicle sides, roofs etc. Post Operation Musketeer, 10 Armd Div was disbanded by the end of 1957, the white rhino ceased to be seen as the 2 Districts of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were formed ... and we all know what those district flashes on vehicles and uniforms were, don't we!

 

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Well' date=' would you believe it? We have a new comment on this exciting and captivating thread![/quote']

 

Well, Magnakater sadly is playing doggo, not even answering PMs, and as no one else is playing (not even AndyB anymore),

 

Well, I think we are all waiting for you to post more!

 

I suspect they are all playing silly b****rs for the Pioneer photo given the sign and the fact one of them seems to be inflating the tyre by the power of lungs alone!

 

Two Mk2 Hippos in the background

 

 

 

 

 

.

Edited by Sean N

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I'm certainly watching this thread with interest, I have a K9 which was delivered in DBG but then had a very thorough re-paint in Light Stone. As the B card is amongst the lost batch I have little history for her, I'm hoping she might turn up lurking in the background somewhere.

 

PT

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Well, I think we are all waiting for you to post more!

 

I suspect they are all playing silly b****rs for the Pioneer photo given the sign and the fact one of them seems to be inflating the tyre by the power of lungs alone!

 

Two Mk2 Hippos in the background

 

You are waiting for me? Ha Ha! Well, I'd better get on with it then!

Yes, NS hi-jinks or something like that. I think the 'well toned' chap at the front is Frank. I think too that beer played a big part in relieving the boredom (or in being something associated with home and everthing they missed) of NS in Libya, probably elsewhere too, though to be fair, Tripolitania-based sevice personnel were very well catered for with swimming, beaches, pools, water sports, football, cricket, go-karting, cinemas, libraries, service entertainment shows, messes, 'trips' into the desert and so on. Oh, and 'obligatory' camel riding lessons. Those in Tripolitania wanting something more sophisticated could get involved with organised 'digs' at many of the Roman sites throughout the region or, for a laugh, 'volunteer' to dress up as DAK Germans or Arabs for the, at least 3 different desert war films in 1956/8.

Tripoli units, particularly the REs and the RAOC Ordnance Field Park fielded, pardon the pun, very many Hippo 2s. I have a line-up of them on a photo awaiting a scan.

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armouredfarmer said:
I'm certainly watching this thread with interest, I have a K9 which was delivered in DBG but then had a very thorough re-paint in Light Stone. As the B card is amongst the lost batch I have little history for her, I'm hoping she might turn up lurking in the background somewhere.

 

So glad you're watching. More K9s appearing soon. I am not sure whether or not ALL vehicles supplied new were in DBG and had their Light Stone applied afterwards, either by manufacturers, by ord depots or by local in-theatre issue units. Maybe some came out of the factory in Light Stone? I'm sure vehicles in Cyprus were all sorts of colour schemes, either from new or applied when in service, though most vehicles in Tripolitania througout the 50s and 60s were all Light Stone with 'who knows what' underneath.

Take this example of a 'brand new' Saladin, on the tank park in Homs 1959. It had just been collected from the issuing unit(?) in Tripoli by Trevor Dady 2RTR and his crew, then photographed by him. I have many of his photos now and his full useage permission (he actually remembered my Pop, an ASM REME from 2RTR in Munster 1958, through to 1962 in Libya, though Trevor couldn't tell me from which barracks or unit he collected the Saladin from) which you can take to mean that we'll see more of his photos on here. The Saladin appears pristine with no hint of any underlying colour. Contrast this photo with the accident damaged Saladin 07BB88 earlier in this thread where it looks like DBG peeping through the Light Stone.

 

Edited by BlueBelle
Spelling!

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As an aside I was in touch with Trevor a few weeks ago. He has decided to sell his Rover 8 he restored in Cyclops markings, but I think the buyer is still in the Kent area. I've got quite a few of Trevor's pictures but they relate his role with Malkara as Missile Test Troop Sgt.

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As an aside I was in touch with Trevor a few weeks ago. He has decided to sell his Rover 8 he restored in Cyclops markings, but I think the buyer is still in the Kent area. I've got quite a few of Trevor's pictures but they relate his role with Malkara as Missile Test Troop Sgt.

 

What a small world! Trevor is a lovely man, a true gentleman who continues to inspire, especially on the 2RTR Old Boys Forum (where I post as TankGirl and I'm currently posting, drip-feeding for him his Swinton Barracks, Munster 1955-59 'tank park' photos that I've scanned for him... yes, he sends me his photos for scanning and saving to disc etc.). Through his generosity, I now own his personal copy of 'Seconds Out! - A History of The 2nd Royal Tank Regiment' (rarer than rocking horse poo), plus his illustrated report of Ex Crescent Moon down and back to the Tummo water hole (my Dad and the TQMS driving the RL Binner), Chad border to test the 'new' Saladins, and, so many photos of my Dad in the WO & Sgts messes in Munster and Homs. Ab Fab!

You should ask to join the forum; I've got other 'Tripolitania followers or photo donors to join, so that you too can see some of the magnificent photos, facts and anecdotes.

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I used to see Trevor at reunions of Para Sqn RAC when I used to take along the Hornet I restored. But he would usually be with the 2 RTR caravan at W&P then W&PR. But he tells me the branch are selling the caravan because it was only a few of them that made the effort to set it all up. I last saw him with the caravan at the last Detling.

 

I might explore their forum then as I know a few of the Cyclops people & their role in bringing Malkara into service has never been properly acknowledged. Trevor gave me quite a few of his documents & photos, including one him with Cyrus Vance who was Secretary of Defense at the time.

 

Incidentally Trevor's Humber 1 Ton FV1622 Test Truck was owned by a good friend of mine who died a few years ago. It is now undergoing restoration, I was always hoping it would turn up at WPR & get a picture of Trevor with it again.

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