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BlueBelle

Libya, Tripolitania, vehicles, barracks 1950s to 1966

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Still with Sextons and 3RHA who were part of 25 Armd Brigade and then, 10 Armd Division and then ..... went off somewhere else which wasn't sandy .... oh, that'll be Bulford where I believe they switched to either towed 25pdrs or 5.5" guns .... DBG.

From Max Warwick REME who was attached to 3RHA in Homs and Egypt (pre-Suez) as their armourer Sgt, we have this photo of the parade square in Homs camp. I'll help you with the line-up; I can see Cromwell AOPs and Command Posts (don't know the marques though other photos may help with identification), Sexton SPGs and GPOs and, a very strange-looking last vehicle. Hmmm, I know what it is, but do you?

No copying rules apply.

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Ooh a "German" Humber 1 Ton CT now that would be nice to see or even any non-Germanised ones please.

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Ooh a "German" Humber 1 Ton CT now that would be nice to see or even any non-Germanised ones please.

 

Ha ha! Ok, but you can see a myriad of vehicles youself by watching the whole No Time to Die/Tank Force video free here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTelow6IArA

 

Marks out of ten if you can identify all vehicles and who is using what! Great fun. :-)

 

Sand-coloured photos of Humber CTs are not that common. I will dig, though there are some on another forum that you should look at:

http://www.arborfield-september49ers.co.uk/libya-extras-03.htm

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Ok thanks. But I can't really watch the video as it will gobble up my data usage as I have no broadband, I'm just using a phone link which is neither fast nor reliable.

 

In the other link I could see FV1601 17 BK 88 with Suez markings, that incidentally was struck off on 20/4/64. Can't read the others I'm afraid.

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Really glad you like the photos, dear viewers.

 

I could list all Tripolitania barrack names and units 1951 and 1966 though I'm not going to here as I simply cannot pinpoint with conviction and accuracy the locations of those barracks, most certainly not the Tripoli ones as named in The Treaty of Friendship 1953 (freely avail on the web). I can certainly pinpoint all the former Italian/Axis barracks in Tripoli/Tagiura (Tagiura = Italian camps at km 20 and 27 named by the British post-war as ‘Kassala Barracks and land’, which I can also see now on Google Satellite and on my £300.00 Italian Military Institute map of Tripoli dated 1938 showing barracks (no names though) all over the place. I have a British/US map of Tripoli dated 1943, updated 1962 that shows barracks but doesn't name them! There are different versions of the US/UK map which show either errors or omissions in barrack locations and outlines.

Prior to 1951, its minefield with no marked mines trying to find information, especially as the British occupied many more barracks and buildings than The Treaty refers to. Official archive records are scarce and those that may exist are very difficult to pinpoint within archive folders and files, which is certainly the case with The National Archive with whom I've spent over £1500 on remote research in return for next to nothing! I must though, recount this, that in researching the activities of the RAOC Tripoli in order to gain clues about barrack locations etc., I received an unwanted 126 page report from The National Archive that revealed, amonst other less than useful information, how many pairs of boots were repaired by DADOS (Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services), 1945 Tripoli! I don't have a belly but that revelation, despite the expense of purchasing the record, made me belly laugh 'till it hurt. ‘Where’ those repairs took place, I’ve no idea though it was ‘somewhere’ in Tripoli.

 

For those not in the know, the British named most Italian barracks in Tripoli and Tagiura occupied by themselves after battle victories against Italian occupied Africa. Thus, we have, as named in The Treaty,

Kassala barracks

Keren barracks

Medenine barracks (Yes, I know Medenine is a city in Tunisia but it really was a barrack name, really, in Tripoli)

Mareth barracks (suspect it was old cavalry barracks, RAOC there early on with BFPS – BFPS moved to Miani Barracks, RAOC to Kassala barracks, all I see on mine and Google maps)

 

Azyzzia barracks

Gurgi barracks

Gialo barracks and Annexe (Jalu in Arabic as it shows up on Google maps)

 

Then we have:

BMH Tripoli, renamed from Caneva Ospedale at km1 from Porta Benito (Caneva was an Italian General)

Miani barracks, name unchanged from Italian (a 1920s General) and is in Arabic, Miyami

Prinn barracks is the British way of interpreting ‘Birin’ (adopted in Arabic) who was an Italian senior diplomat and the name of a capital ship

 

Then we have barrack names such as Marine, White, Imperial and so on.

 

If you Google the Arabic for say Gialo barracks, which is Mu`askar Jalu, you’ll see ‘roughly where it was in Tripoli.

Try again for Medenine barracks, which is Mu`askar Madanīyah, you’ll see roughly where it was.

Try Prinn barracks, which is Mu`askar Bīrīn, you’ll see roughly where it was.

Try Miani barracks, which is Mu`askar Miyāmī, you’ll see roughly where it was.

 

Though not precise, those Google indications roughly equate to the barrack locations on my maps. I just need verifiable confirmation, that which eludes me and archive holders. Otherwise, take it all with a pinch of salt!

 

Sometimes, references are given to a kilometre point from Tripoli, a case in point being Kassala at km20. These km points are not measured from the centre of old Tripoli, but from the gates (Porta) on the outer defended wall (1st ring road now) through which all main roads went. Thus the zero point for km20 was at Porta Taguira. The 5km point on the road to Ain Zara was measured from Porta (I’ve forgotten!) but you ended up at Miani Barracks. Thus 5kms from Porta Benito saw you at Medenine barracks!

Another word for barracks is ‘Hamiyet’. Italians used the word ‘Caserma’, very similar to the German ‘Kaserne’ though I’ve no German maps of Tripoli and surrounds. All areas outside that defended wall were still desert or farmed lands with ‘real’ oases everywhere. Post 1960, it started to be built upon (oil had been discovered in 1959) and soon the city expanded dramatically. Pouring over maps is fun, especially when you find ‘something’ and ‘the penny drops’. All thrilling stuff, you’ll agree, no doubt!!!!!!

 

My quest for Tripolitania info goes on; I have a book to write. I'll either have to hire a researcher, go thereto archive holders myself or find a willing unpaid volunteer who lives 'nearby' to go and dig out the information sought. I cannot rely on people's memory either, as either they really can't remember or they provide big bright red herrings that I can tell, are just that. A classic case in point are some lovely gentlemen I know who served in Tripoli but cannot remember the name of the barracks or where it was in relation to others or notable focal points etc.

I have learned from records though, that counter to the ‘dodgy’ memories of some, the REME workshop (61 Station WKSP and previously known as 5 Medium WKSP) was at GURGI Barracks (even during 2RTR's time out there) yet I still don't know where those barracks were or if they were close or attached to another!

Anyway, if only regiments had fulfilled their duties in completing their quarterly Unit History reports to then deposit them in the appropriate regimental/national archives then my research would be that much easier. Its not just the photos that I need, its the history that allows me to write with authority and conviction lest I produce something not quite what I'd intended it to be.

From official records, I can say that at the height of our military presence in Libya, there were around 10,000 personnel just after withdrawal from Palestine, 1949. That number depleted as Libya units went to quell the locals in Egypt/Jordan, then rose again to around that number upon withdrawal from Egypt (Canal Zone) and then, dropped massively by around 8,000 just after Suez. So just around 2,000 personnel post 1956/7 as units returned to the UK or went to Cyprus, Jordan, Aden, Kenya etc. There was no real political will, military strategy or finance available to maintain forces in Libya, other than in the end, the staging post of El Adem and port facilities at Tobruk.

I tend to just have a passing interest in what happened with British Forces in Cyrenaica, other than with of course, the superb 2nd Royal Tank Regiment.

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Well that sure shows your depth of knowledge & determination to get things spot on in your mission to write an authoritative book. Yes false memory, no matter how well meaning, must a pain.

 

But even the boot repairs are of interest (to me), somewhere I have the layout of a RAOC mobile boot repair facility & without boots an army can be rendered impotent. Reminds me of Lawrence after taking Aqaba being asked if the Turks were gone "No they are still there but they have no boots".

 

Somewhere I have procedures for setting up an Airborne REME Workshop I think it was based on experiences in Palestine, but I think was written in Libya. I'll see if it has any relevance to your project.

Edited by fv1609
Turks

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Still with Sextons and 3RHA who were part of 25 Armd Brigade and then, 10 Armd Division and then ..... went off somewhere else which wasn't sandy .... oh, that'll be Bulford where I believe they switched to either towed 25pdrs or 5.5" guns .... DBG.

From Max Warwick REME who was attached to 3RHA in Homs and Egypt (pre-Suez) as their armourer Sgt, we have this photo of the parade square in Homs camp. I'll help you with the line-up; I can see Cromwell AOPs and Command Posts (don't know the marques though other photos may help with identification), Sexton SPGs and GPOs and, a very strange-looking last vehicle. Hmmm, I know what it is, but do you?

No copying rules apply.

 

I believe the last vehicle in the line is a Carrier, AOP No.4(FV402), the AOP version of the Cambridge carrier. Thanks for the posts my farther in law is very interested as he was with J battery 3RHA in Germany then Eygpt and then Libya.

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Still with Sextons and 3RHA who were part of 25 Armd Brigade and then, 10 Armd Division and then ..... went off somewhere else which wasn't sandy .... oh, that'll be Bulford where I believe they switched to either towed 25pdrs or 5.5" guns .... DBG.

From Max Warwick REME who was attached to 3RHA in Homs and Egypt (pre-Suez) as their armourer Sgt, we have this photo of the parade square in Homs camp. I'll help you with the line-up; I can see Cromwell AOPs and Command Posts (don't know the marques though other photos may help with identification), Sexton SPGs and GPOs and, a very strange-looking last vehicle. Hmmm, I know what it is, but do you?

No copying rules apply.

 

FV402 Cambridge Carrier AOP by the look of it - a rare beast indeed.

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07BE16 said:
I believe the last vehicle in the line is a Carrier, AOP No.4(FV402), the AOP version of the Cambridge carrier. Thanks for the posts my farther in law is very interested as he was with J battery 3RHA in Germany then Eygpt and then Libya.

 

I am so impressed! Spot on! Yes, 3RHA had at least one of these vehicles on strength for a while. They were trials vehicles, pre-cursors of the FV432 series. Perhaps only 12 pre-production models were made for evaluation. It never made full production. I wonder where the other vehicles were trialled?

I have this photo of the Cambridge AOP in my collection and I'm not sure of its origin. Perhaps IWM? Credit to them if due.

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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FV402 Cambridge Carrier AOP by the look of it - a rare beast indeed.

 

Yes, well done! Very rare vehicle indeed. See my other comment and photo. I believe one version survives somewhere and that the others graced the ranges or melting pot. Anyone know for sure?

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!

 

I think theres one in the Coberation Collection ?

Oh. Cobberton? I hope they've not disguised it as something else then! :-D

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Spring forward a few years, miss out 6RTR's time in Homs and we come to 2RTR's holiday in Homs (only joking -- they worked hard, played hard just as all previous encumbents did) and LOOK what was on the tank park!!!:wow:

These next few photos are from John Empson REME who 'was there' as was my father who ran the REME workshop as the ASM whilst the two REME officers were, erm, perhaps doing something elsewhere, perhaps one always in Benghazi (the EME) where 2RTR's Ajax squadron was based (D'Aosta barracks), and of course, I, moi (kinder) was there and walked through the workshop gate, through those vehicles almost daily enroute from our Libyan Lodge or school (bottom end of camp outside the wall) which finished at 13.00 as did the soldiers in the summer 9 months, to the beach, just 100 yards from the front main gate of the camp.

Can you see an Austin K9? No, neither can I. :-D

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Lovely sand-coloured stuff. Much nicer than anything else, don't you think? You don't have to agree though ...... :laugh:

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Hmm, not sure where 2RTR parked their Austin K9s, so we'll keep on trying .....

Did you notice the first ever literation of the reverse air-flow cooling on the nose of the early marques of Saracens in the previous photo? Yes, we've covered this before with the REME AQMS Wally Roach.

Did you also see that cute little ..... generator on the Saracen's wing? Must be one of their command vehicles (no, not with the modified superstructure, just a bog standard Saracen).

What can we see here in John Empson REME's photo? :laugh:

Well, there's one at least!

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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BlueBelle said:
[ATTACH=CONFIG]118243[/ATTACH]

So I will now provide the photographic proof, as discussed further on around page 12/13, that the above photo from page 1 of the 2RTR officer's red Dauphine is indeed, was taken in Homs camp at the REME end of the camp.

The new photo has been provided by John Empson REME who took the shot we are now going to see. Focus on the hanger arrangement and more closely on the 1 or 2' high angled ridge of concrete that is on the ground, projecting out from the hanger. It seems be be a barrier between, perhaps, two different levels of ground, maybe even to prevent the REME A-Frame wheeled crane hoist thing from rolling away. The ridge is clearly evident in both photos. There we go! Done!

But 'what a photo'! Just look what vehicles are in it! This photo also confirmed for me (2RTR couldn't!!!) that the camp's ambulance was, in addition to my father's big black Mercedes (running boards type and called on when required) that great truck, a Fordson Thames E3 FV13304; yes, one of them, bottom right nearest the camera!

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Hmm,

What can we see here in John Empson REME's photo? :laugh:

Well, there's one at least!

 

Austin K9, I saw another one as well but I was cheating, I was looking out of my front window at the time!

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BlueBelle in post 134 you make reference to the Cambridge Carrier and then ask where they were trialled.

 

I would suggest that Canada is an answer as this one exists today near me. I have posted these before, they are my images not to be reproduced etc etc.

cambridge carrier 1.jpg

Cambridge Carrier 2.jpg

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Austin K9, I saw another one as well but I was cheating, I was looking out of my front window at the time!

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

There will be more!

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:laugh::laugh::laugh:

There will be more!

 

There is a more complete example in the reserve collection at Bovington, last time it was seen it was in the VCC.

Around this time several of the FV421 logistic carriers were being trialled in Libya, these are perhaps a closer relation to the FV430's.

 

D

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There is a more complete example in the reserve collection at Bovington, last time it was seen it was in the VCC.

Around this time several of the FV421 logistic carriers were being trialled in Libya, these are perhaps a closer relation to the FV430's.

 

D

 

Oh please let there be photos of the FV421 - they are even scarcer than those of the Cambridge carrier!

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Oh yes please FV421 I second that & did they ever construct a FV426?

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Hopefully this will satisfy the appetite of those wishing to see a FV421 on trials in Libya, I believe with 3RTR.

 

D

File0351.jpg

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Hopefully this will satisfy the appetite of those wishing to see a FV421 on trials in Libya, I believe with 3RTR.

 

D

 

Magnificent! SAND-COLOURED too! Thank you for posting. MORE! Hmmm, Arm'd Regt? 3RTR? 3RTR did not 'do' Libya as a regimental or squadron posting, though maybe a troop/trials troop could have 'done' the desert.

If Arm'd I'd go for 5RTR Dec 54-Mar 57 Barce Cyrenaica District

or

6RTR Nov 57-Aug 59 Homs Tripolitania District

or

Queen’s Bays Feb 56-Aug 57 Sabratha

 

If we can prove either way I'd be even happier!

The source of the photo is.....? I might need it, legally, for my book!!!!

Just realised, there are TWO of them, side by side!

Edited by BlueBelle
Added last line!

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Thank you, so what date appx was that? I have here two FVRDE Reports dated Dec 1956 & June 1957.

 

IMG_20170206_200336.jpg

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The FV421 photos are those of a colleague which he gave me the opportunity to scan for posterity.

 

I can see the confusion in that my colleague was 3RTR but there were issues with transport to his parent unit, by some quirk of fate become entangled with 6RTR and he became assigned to them on a temporary basis, his memory was rather grey on this point. This would be late 56 into 57.

 

There were at least three possibly four FV421 all with different transmission configurations. They would leave camp first thing every morning heading into the desert following one of two prescribed routes carrying 24hrs rations with the aim of returning latter the same day. If a breakdown occurred (of which there were fair few) the REME would go out on these routes until the broken vehicle was discovered.

 

D

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