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BlueBelle

Libya, Tripolitania, vehicles, barracks 1950s to 1966

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[ATTACH=CONFIG]123274[/ATTACH]

 

Clive, what a super job you've made on that photo! Please, do tell how, and where that 'magic button' is so that I might better present my sand and fluff storm photos. :-)

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See if you can see a Royal Signals Arm of Service flash? They're on the RL Battery Charging trucks! I presume they're Battery Charging trucks due to the vent flap windows in the tilts and that I know the Royal Signals operated these trucks for 2RTR in Homs. Odd that the battery loading racks are not stowed on the outside of the cargo body, though they could be on the other side or stuffed inside the trucks. I do not believe the Battery Charging RLs were the type with an onboard Meadows generator; they probably had battery racks fitted either side of the cargo area and a charging control/distribution panel, with power for charging, I believe coming from the 10Kva gen set towed by that Morris MRA 1ton, though I know that 2RTR and an RS unit in 1957 (Tripoli) used a 6Kva generator towed by the RL battery Charging truck. Were 6Kva gen sets ever skid-mounted inside an RL Battery Charging truck?

Can you see the Tripolitania District flash anywhere? No, nor can I. This is a view of the departure of the regiment from Homs, with the Nero sqn Echelon bound for Benghazi, Wavell Bks. How they got there will become evident, later. The vehicles have had a black 'patch' painted over the Barbary Dhow in preparation for the application of the off-white 'Pillars of Cyrene' Cyrenaica District flash.

Photo by John Empson REME.

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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[ATTACH=CONFIG]123280[/ATTACH]

 

 

A bit more tidying

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]123279[/ATTACH]

 

Looking even better Clive! Anymore tidying needed? I don't think so. Did you draw that lollipop on the side of the cab? Oh, its a wing mirror, on a long arm! ;) Funny how I missed it when I tried tidying up (with my Adobe Photoshop Elements (Sean) and now my 5th attempt version of the photo has the wing mirror 'blobbed out'!!! Maybe I'll go back and practice again, even if I have to draw a wing mirror!!! At least my soldiers now all have their heads on, their own heads!!!

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Drawing something always gives sharp irregularities & looks obvious. So if I have to do anything like that I assemble it from adjacent bits of a similar thing/texture.

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Hi Lizzie,

 

Clive is obviously not letting on whether he's using special software or repairing the image using Photoshop or similar, though from his last comment I'd say possibly the latter.

 

You can get specialist software to heal dust and scratches - Silverfast do one, for example - but I couldn't comment on good or bad programs as I've never used any. A scanner with Digital ICE can do a good job as well.

 

If you are using Photoshop the clone stamp can work as well as the healing brush tools. The trick is to pick the right brush size and type and then go carefully. I often find a soft edge brush works well as it will blend in. It's just practice really.

 

Anyway, back to the trucks. The charging body on early RLs at least is the same as the cargo body with a few modifications. To quote the user handbook:

 

"The body used on this model is a converted Cargo body without seats. Two low benches are fitted in the body, one at each side, extending from the front towards the tailboard. Each bench is provided with a cupboard and a drawer. Provision is made for busbars to be mounted along the sides of the body to which batteries, placed on the benches, may be connected for charging. A stand and strap are provided at the rear end of each bench to secure carboys of distilled water or acid. Holes are bored through the floorboards towards the front end of the body to encourage air circulation and prevent accumulation of acid fumes. The holes are covered with a perforated zinc plate. A ramp is provided to facilitate loading and unloading of batteries. All internal wood and metal parts of the body are treated with acid resisting paint. The tilt has six windows of oiled canvas, two in each side, one in the front and one in the rear. Each window is provided with a canvas flap for blackout purposes"

 

The 'benches' are in fact a lot more akin to racks, and there is often a third floor mounted rack in the middle. Interestingly your two charging vehicles - which are both very early RLs - have two windows, not one, at the front.

 

The rest of the RLs appear to be cargo vehicles and appear to be later cabs, after the headlight position was changed (at least, vehicle 6 is).

 

Did you notice the interloper, fourth vehicle in the convoy, which no-one has commented on, and does seem to be towing a generator trailer although not the 27.5 KVA Meadows?

 

On first look I had assumed the first K9 was our friend 94 BG 06 from the earlier photo, but if it is, something dramatic has happened to it between the two shots. It might also explain the discrepancy between the apparent ages and the vehicle registrations in the earlier shot. Can you spot what I'm seeing?

Edited by Sean N

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Clive is obviously not letting on whether he's using special software or repairing the image using Photoshop or similar, though from his last comment I'd say possibly the latter.

 

Yes just using MS Paint, pretty basic I know but I've got used to it & can get a reasonable speed up.

 

It helps having a mouse with copy/paste/delete buttons.

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Sean N said:
Hi Lizzie,

 

Clive is obviously not letting on whether he's using special software or repairing the image using Photoshop or similar, though from his last comment I'd say possibly the latter.

 

You can get specialist software to heal dust and scratches - Silverfast do one, for example - but I couldn't comment on good or bad programs as I've never used any. A scanner with Digital ICE can do a good job as well.

 

If you are using Photoshop the clone stamp can work as well as the healing brush tools. The trick is to pick the right brush size and type and then go carefully. I often find a soft edge brush works well as it will blend in. It's just practice really.

 

Anyway, back to the trucks. The charging body on early RLs at least is the same as the cargo body with a few modifications. To quote the user handbook:

 

"The body used on this model is a converted Cargo body without seats. Two low benches are fitted in the body, one at each side, extending from the front towards the tailboard. Each bench is provided with a cupboard and a drawer. Provision is made for busbars to be mounted along the sides of the body to which batteries, placed on the benches, may be connected for charging. A stand and strap are provided at the rear end of each bench to secure carboys of distilled water or acid. Holes are bored through the floorboards towards the front end of the body to encourage air circulation and prevent accumulation of acid fumes. The holes are covered with a perforated zinc plate. A ramp is provided to facilitate loading and unloading of batteries. All internal wood and metal parts of the body are treated with acid resisting paint. The tilt has six windows of oiled canvas, two in each side, one in the front and one in the rear. Each window is provided with a canvas flap for blackout purposes"

 

The 'benches' are in fact a lot more akin to racks, and there is often a third floor mounted rack in the middle. Interestingly your two charging vehicles - which are both very early RLs - have two windows, not one, at the front.

 

The rest of the RLs appear to be cargo vehicles and appear to be later cabs, after the headlight position was changed (at least, vehicle 6 is).

 

Did you notice the interloper, fourth vehicle in the convoy, which no-one has commented on, and does seem to be towing a generator trailer although not the 27.5 KVA Meadows?

 

On first look I had assumed the first K9 was our friend 94 BG 06 from the earlier photo, but if it is, something dramatic has happened to it between the two shots. It might also explain the discrepancy between the apparent ages and the vehicle registrations in the earlier shot. Can you spot what I'm seeing?

I was just about to post "and where is our RL expert when needed?" Lo and behold, Sean's here! Yay!

Two windows to the front of the tilt tells me that the tilts may have been for the RL Battery Charger version that carried a 27.5Kva generator (rare, I guess?), having an extended headboard and two vent fan domes that protruded out towards the cab rear? This photo shows one, with offset vents though I don't know where I got the photo from, so 'credit due to the original photographer' whoever they were (perhaps someone will recognise this for us?). I again guess this is an 'original fit' and not some mash-up by a misguided enthusiast. I have another photo that shows presumably the same truck and the generator inside it.

An 'interloper'! Yes, the B&W 'clean up' photo and the colour Nero convoy feature the 'interloper' and you and I both noticed the tell-tale body strakes and cab profile etc!!! Knowing the L.A.D makeup, I'd be confident stating that said interloper in the clean-up photo was the welding truck, though whilst in Nero's convoy I'd be reluctant to categorically state which model of interloper it was other than that I'm surprised it was used to tow that generator, a generator that looks to be something like a 10Kva or something of that ilk from an earlier period and weighing heavy on the interloper's rear springs.

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Hi Lizzie,

 

Clive is obviously not letting on whether he's using special software or repairing the image using Photoshop or similar, though from his last comment I'd say possibly the latter.

 

You can get specialist software to heal dust and scratches - Silverfast do one, for example - but I couldn't comment on good or bad programs as I've never used any. A scanner with Digital ICE can do a good job as well.

 

If you are using Photoshop the clone stamp can work as well as the healing brush tools. The trick is to pick the right brush size and type and then go carefully. I often find a soft edge brush works well as it will blend in. It's just practice really.

 

 

 

On first look I had assumed the first K9 was our friend 94 BG 06 from the earlier photo, but if it is, something dramatic has happened to it between the two shots. It might also explain the discrepancy between the apparent ages and the vehicle registrations in the earlier shot. Can you spot what I'm seeing?

K9 ...... obvious differences between them is no hole in the cab roof! I think there were 3 cab types, with obvious variances such as trafficators/electric indicators, louvres/no louvres on the waist below the scuttle and perhaps something different on those bonnet louvres. Maybe its so obvious Sean, that I've missed it!!!! It is though, sand-coloured and that is most important overall!!!

 

The 'interloper' dear viewer, is of course, that lovely, though much maligned little truck, the Morris MRA1.

 

Thanks for more software advice. My new 'yet to be fathomed out' slide scanner (a rather large lump of gubbins, though why that large surprises me just for negatives and transparencies/slides) has a bundled Silverfast disc which, if I get to understand how to use it, shall also be also be trialled on scanned photos alongside my Photoshop Elements attempts. I will try your trick to pick the right brush size and type and then go carefully. If only I didn't have a business, home, a person who thinks I'm crackers and a herd of moose who all make excessive demands on my time .. :laugh:

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Lizzie, you flatter me, though I wouldn't say I'm an RL expert by any means, I just love them.

 

I'd guess it's the normal RLD charging body with a variation on the tilt rather than the 27 kVA gen set vehicle as it doesn't seem to have any of the other signifiers.

 

I know what that towed genny is, but I can't bring it to mind at the moment. I'm sure Mr Farrant will be able to place it. The interloper is of course a Morris Commercial MRA1, an awful vehicle and not a patch on a K9!

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Yes just using MS Paint, pretty basic I know but I've got used to it & can get a reasonable speed up.

 

It helps having a mouse with copy/paste/delete buttons.

Now we know, Clive! Thank you. What a great job you've done with MS Paint. I never realised it was that versatile though I'm sure its all down to the user's capability. :-)

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K9 ...... obvious differences between them is no hole in the cab roof! I think there were 3 cab types, with obvious variances such as trafficators/electric indicators, louvres/no louvres on the waist below the scuttle and perhaps something different on those bonnet louvres. Maybe its so obvious Sean, that I've missed it!!!! It is though, sand-coloured and that is most important overall!!!

 

There is something odd going on with that K9 if it's the same vehicle. The registration isn't quite clear in the different shots - perhaps you could confirm from the originals that it's 94 BG 06 both times?

 

Edit - my and your earlier posts about the MRA1 crossed as I was interrupted. Sorry.

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There is something odd going on with that K9 if it's the same vehicle. The registration isn't quite clear in the different shots - perhaps you could confirm from the originals that it's 94 BG 06 both times?

 

Edit - my and your earlier posts about the MRA1 crossed as I was interrupted. Sorry.

 

 

Sean, I was looking at the photo of the K9 on the vehicle park a few days ago, and think the last digit in the ARN is either 8 or 9, that would explain why it does not match with '06.

 

cheers Richard

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There is something odd going on with that K9 if it's the same vehicle. The registration isn't quite clear in the different shots - perhaps you could confirm from the originals that it's 94 BG 06 both times?

 

Edit - my and your earlier posts about the MRA1 crossed as I was interrupted. Sorry.

 

I read the VRN in both original B&W photos as ....... 94BC06 and not BG. True, the C curls up though there is no hint of a cross bar to the curl up. Maybe it is a G? Looks to me to be the same truck in both photos though in one there's a new screen surround and then of course, arm of service/district flash changes. If they are different trucks, they 'share' the same VRN :shocked: I'm not sure if John Empson himself would know.

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This photo shows one, with offset vents though I don't know where I got the photo from, so 'credit due to the original photographer' whoever they were (perhaps someone will recognise this for us?). I again guess this is an 'original fit' and not some mash-up by a misguided enthusiast. I have another photo that shows presumably the same truck and the generator inside it.

 

A quick Google image search says that photo was on a Gumtree ad about 10 months ago, and the RL was in St George, Bristol for sale at £4,000. Nice truck - an early survivor and in pretty good condition.

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Sean, I was looking at the photo of the K9 on the vehicle park a few days ago, and think the last digit in the ARN is either 8 or 9, that would explain why it does not match with '06.

 

Must admit I had it as 94 BG 08 originally then decided it must be 06 after Lizzie published the next photo. Even so there's still something odd about it.

 

I read the VRN in both original B&W photos as ....... 94BC06 and not BG. True, the C curls up though there is no hint of a cross bar to the curl up. Maybe it is a G? Looks to me to be the same truck in both photos though in one there's a new screen surround and then of course, arm of service/district flash changes. If they are different trucks, they 'share' the same VRN :shocked: I'm not sure if John Empson himself would know.

 

So we have 3 photos with what may or may not be the same truck.

 

In the first photo, taken in 1960-ish the registration appears blurry to us. I originally read 94 BG 08 and Richard thought 08 or 09 but Lizzie says it is 94 BC 06.

 

In the second photo, with the Ferret, taken in 1960-ish it appears to be 94 BC 06 allowing for a very curly C, which Lizzie agrees.

 

In the third, colour photo taken in 1961 it looks like ?4 BG 06 - Lizzie, can you read the original more clearly?

 

Whether one truck or two, there is still something odd going on with it or them!

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BlueBelle said:
I read the VRN in both original B&W photos as ....... 94BC06 and not BG. True, the C curls up though there is no hint of a cross bar to the curl up. Maybe it is a G? Looks to me to be the same truck in both photos though in one there's a new screen surround and then of course, arm of service/district flash changes. If they are different trucks, they 'share' the same VRN :shocked: I'm not sure if John Empson himself would know.

Now we see the 'same' truck again, this time sporting a 4 on the Bridge Plate and not the 'earlier'(?) 5. This is fun! :laugh:

Maybe we just accept that Libya and them days were truly 'unique'. No real rules. Or not?

The photo says Homs but to me I'd say 'out of Homs' and probably in Castle Verde or Ben Ulid. That is not a street view of Homs as it was in the 60s.

Can you see any wing mirrors? I can't (I have a wing mirror vision complex now;)).

What's that 'thing' underneath the truck rear?

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Must admit I had it as 94 BG 08 originally then decided it must be 06 after Lizzie published the next photo. Even so there's still something odd about it.

 

 

 

So we have 3 photos with what may or may not be the same truck.

 

In the first photo, taken in 1960-ish the registration appears blurry to us. I originally read 94 BG 08 and Richard thought 08 or 09 but Lizzie says it is 94 BC 06.

 

In the second photo, with the Ferret, taken in 1960-ish it appears to be 94 BC 06 allowing for a very curly C, which Lizzie agrees.

 

In the third, colour photo taken in 1961 it looks like ?4 BG 06 - Lizzie, can you read the original more clearly?

 

Whether one truck or two, there is still something odd going on with it or them!

 

Sean!!! Now you're teasing me!! You didn't spot the difference with the colour one even after I said 'no hole in cab roof' or some such suggestion? :-) So, colour K9 has no hole in cab roof and the complete VRN of this one is .... 34BG06. Yes, truly a different truck though the B&W ones are odd. Maybe the fuzzy one is 08 as you and Richard say and not 06 though on the master it really still looks like a 06.

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A quick Google image search says that photo was on a Gumtree ad about 10 months ago, and the RL was in St George, Bristol for sale at £4,000. Nice truck - an early survivor and in pretty good condition.

Good detective work. You must look further, buy it and restore in Light Stone!

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Now we see the 'same' truck again, this time sporting a 4 on the Bridge Plate and not the 'earlier'(?) 5. This is fun! :laugh:

Maybe we just accept that Libya and them days were truly 'unique'. No real rules. Or not?

The photo says Homs but to me I'd say 'out of Homs' and probably in Castle Verde or Ben Ulid. That is not a street view of Homs as it was in the 60s.

Can you see any wing mirrors? I can't (I have a wing mirror vision complex now;)).

What's that 'thing' underneath the truck rear?

 

Curioser and curioser, said Alice.

 

I can't see any wing mirrors and I have no idea what the thing underneath is. It looks slightly tapered and to have a slot in each side. A wooden step?

 

Sean!!! Now you're teasing me!! You didn't spot the difference with the colour one even after I said 'no hole in cab roof' or some such suggestion? :-) So, colour K9 has no hole in cab roof and the complete VRN of this one is .... 34BG06. Yes, truly a different truck though the B&W ones are odd. Maybe the fuzzy one is 08 as you and Richard say and not 06 though on the master it really still looks like a 06.

 

I did spot the difference with the colour one, that's why I've been asking you about the differences.

 

So we have 34 BG 06, 94 BC 06 and maybe 94 BC 08 (or 94 BG 08) though I'd go with what you think as you are looking at the original. I'd be happier thinking they were all BG registrations and there is STILL something odd going on even if they are different trucks! I will cogitate some more.

 

BTW Peugeot 403 behind the K9.

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I don't think it can be BC as 43 BC 71 - 99 BC 99 was not used.

 

BG makes more sense & would make it a signals truck which makes the basic vehicle Bridge Class 4, but some fitted with certain installations were Bridge Class 5. So are they different vehicles or has it changed the type of radio installation between photos?

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Sean N said:
Lizzie, you flatter me, though I wouldn't say I'm an RL expert by any means, I just love them.

 

I'd guess it's the normal RLD charging body with a variation on the tilt rather than the 27 kVA gen set vehicle as it doesn't seem to have any of the other signifiers.

 

I know what that towed genny is, but I can't bring it to mind at the moment. I'm sure Mr Farrant will be able to place it. The interloper is of course a Morris Commercial MRA1, an awful vehicle and not a patch on a K9!

Let's pop over to Cyrenaica for a moment to see the effects of a ghibli on 2RTR's REME Nero workshop. Yes, both D'Aosta and Wavell Barracks had these frame-tented structures (proper name required please, from the tentage expert :-) as I don't know what they're called other than 'tents'). Oh, what I really wanted to show you was a generator similar (if not the same one) to the one being towed by the MRA1 in the previous colour photo where I did indicate the unit were on the move east (less Cyclops who went west to Medenine Barracks, Tripoli) to Wavell Barracks Benghazi, collecting Ajax out of D'Aosta Barracks Benghazi enroute. Oh, look too, there's an MRA1 Welding Truck that's had it's top blown off in the storm. Libya was not all sunshine; for 3 months of the year, high winds, rain, flash floods, wadi floods across main and desert routes, swirling biting sand storms and yes, cold and even snow on occasion.

So what is the generator then? So similar to the 10Kva dragged around by Bedford RL Machy wagons in BAOR 70s and 80s (probably longer).

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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I feel compelled to show you more devastion of the workshop from that ghibli. Tentage torn to shreds and all the paperwork, forms 'AF whatevers' ..... gone! Maybe the vehicle records went too, in a puff of wind thus justifying the seemingly 'strange' things that went on in Libya! :-)

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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I agree with CLIVE about the BC numbers if the K9 NUMBERS where BG then 34 BG 06 was a cargo 94 BG 06 and

94 BG 08 where FFW NUMBERS 01 BG 01 to 99 BG 46 where supplied under contract 6/V/7877 start on the contract

in the financial year 1951/52 a number of B* RANGE series also started in 1951/52 a good year for the vehicle industry

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