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BlueBelle

Libya, Tripolitania, vehicles, barracks 1950s to 1966

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Red triangles! A very BIG thank you to Wally and Clive for so happily shedding light, knowledge and wisedom yet again! True gentlemen and such an asset to those of us in the dark. To think they're not even LR 'experts' or aficionados per se (oh bumperettes, what if they are? :red:) and that there wasn't a LR expert (nor an MP) who came to the rescue!

When I get (notice the positivity) a BIG photo of that Homs LR, we'll take a peak at what's inside the red triangle as I'm sure everyone will want to know :cheesy:.

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Popping back to 19 Armoured Workshop at Gialo Barracks (Annexe) and the storm damage, look what else was under the collapsed workshop roof!

Yes, there's the MP LR again, and next to it are, to quote the photographer "The Standard Vanguard is a Phase 1 model identified as such by the spats fitted to the rear bodywork/wheel arches.

This vehicle was in it's civilian colour being a beige cum pink shade so reasonably compatible with our local sand camouflage colour. The black Humber Pullman must have been frightfully hot in the Summer months since it was not air conditioned!".

That scenario would have been worth a few 'extras' for someone, I'm sure! Who parked 'prestige' cars like that under a rickety tin leanto? It wasn't our photographer, I'm sure! :-D

Photo by Tony Burton 56:10 REME

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Let's get out into the desert and sunshine with 6RTR who in 1958/9 were out from Homs with a few B vehicles 'doing' desert navigation exercises. They took Dreamy REME with them, just in case and, one of them Bluebells was our superb C Sqn Sgt fitter, Ronald Gill REME who took the photo and loads more besides.

This is the REME wagon, a K9 K9 FFW and, just look at the modifications to carry jerrycans and that 'strange' sand channel. Have we seen sand channel like that before? Probably, though it to me seems different. maybe it's a K9 pretending to be a Ferret? :-D I bet you're wondering what the VRN is? So am I :-D

Tears in the canvas (more obvious on another few photos of it), antenna deployed and looking quite 'different' to your 'bog standard' K9, don't you think? Sean.:-D A K9 K9. I presume you've seen the black K9? Not native to the desert, but taken along for the ride. Yes, there's one one on the bonnet and I bet its backside and paws are very hot as noon temperatures on this adventure reached 50.2C most days, so hot in fact that motoring ceased between noon and 16.00hrs.

Do you like the cupola spotlight? I think there's a sun compass in the cab too. Looks overall quite 'war-like' rather than being a simple little cargo truck on mundane duty.

Oh, do remember the colour of the canvas on this K9 K9, for reference a little later.

A great shot of (which 'blows up' nicely for K9 aficionados everywhere though how I did it this time I don't know) a sandy-coloured truck and a dog in the deserts of Libya.

Photo by Ronald Gill REME

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Hi Lizzie,

The 'sand channel' on the front of the K9 is actually a Ferret ditching channel. Not supplied with any other vehicle (that I am aware of).

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I'm interested in the four jerrycans. Three are black & clearly for water, but what about the other one is that stone or a light brown? If it was stone or olive drab then it would be for fuel, it seems a bit odd that it is stored mixed in with water jerrycans?

 

If it was for water then it should not be painted stone as this could have unfortunate consequences for either people or engines as it could be confusing. In the immediate post-war period jerrycans for water were to be painted brown & then later black.

 

Brown jerrycan denyers will sometimes quote a section of the Materiel Regulations that cover jerrycans suggesting they should be olive drab or stone, but this is in the section on painting POL equipment not water.

 

The jerrycan of worms is here for those who want apoplexy this early in the morning:

 

http://hmvf.co.uk/forumvb/showthread.php?25311-Metal-Jerry-Can-for-water

 

So Lizzie are there any side on views or indeed any photos you have illustrating brown jerrycans for water as this is in the changeover period?

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Lizzie, great photo of a hard worked late K9 in the real world. I like all the additions - put those on for a show and I'm sure you'd be told they never had them. Wonder if the channel was for use as a pusher bar or for unditching, or a bit of both - can't quite see if it's held on with wingnuts or something that would need a tool. I wonder what happened to the driver's side wing mirror, and what the big pile of canvas on the locker is?

 

Clive, comparing the jerrycan to the front of the body it certainly looks light stone. However I think if I had a convenient rack, particularly if packing up quickly after a job or loading up quickly, I might not worry too much about mixing fuel and water cans if they were clearly distinguished as these are, and if I knew I could rely on those with me not to confuse them. It's interesting that there doesn't appear to be a jerrycan in the proper holder.

 

This isn't that same truck that'd had a new driver's side screen in a previous image, is it?

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Hi Lizzie,

The 'sand channel' on the front of the K9 is actually a Ferret ditching channel. Not supplied with any other vehicle (that I am aware of).

Hello Richard,

Thanks for the answer. Is a ditching channel used for crossing ditches (little ones) or, for putting on the ground against wheels that are tractionless in sinking sand? In practical terms, is just one ditching channel any use? Not knowing about these matters, I would have thought you'd need two, one for each wheel side, to be of any real use in getting a vehicle out of soft sand and on the move again?

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Hello Richard,

Thanks for the answer. Is a ditching channel used for crossing ditches (little ones) or, for putting on the ground against wheels that are tractionless in sinking sand? In practical terms, is just one ditching channel any use? Not knowing about these matters, I would have thought you'd need two, one for each wheel side, to be of any real use in getting a vehicle out of soft sand and on the move again?

 

Hi Lizzie, the Ferret carried two of these channels. There only looks to be one on the Austin. Yes, used for crossing small ditches, but could be used in sand as well, these are much heavier than PSP, pierce steel planking, which is relatively flat with raised edges around the holes.

Edited by Richard Farrant

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fv1609 said:
I'm interested in the four jerrycans. Three are black & clearly for water, but what about the other one is that stone or a light brown? If it was stone or olive drab then it would be for fuel, it seems a bit odd that it is stored mixed in with water jerrycans?

 

If it was for water then it should not be painted stone as this could have unfortunate consequences for either people or engines as it could be confusing. In the immediate post-war period jerrycans for water were to be painted brown & then later black.

 

Brown jerrycan denyers will sometimes quote a section of the Materiel Regulations that cover jerrycans suggesting they should be olive drab or stone, but this is in the section on painting POL equipment not water.

 

The jerrycan of worms is here for those who want apoplexy this early in the morning:

 

http://hmvf.co.uk/forumvb/showthread.php?25311-Metal-Jerry-Can-for-water

 

So Lizzie are there any side on views or indeed any photos you have illustrating brown jerrycans for water as this is in the changeover period?

 

Thanks Clive; jerrycans are indeed an interesting topic, more so for me because a 2RTR person we both know had the water jerrycan on the back of the Centurion he was commanding shot to 'colandar' status with a service revolver fired by his troop leader following behind in another Centurion. Heard nothing, saw nothing but the evidence was ample, an empty, perforated jerrycan (it was assumed the target was the water jerrycan, and of note, the this officer whose aim was true, went on to become a Brigadier).

More recently, were not brown water jerrycans made of brown-coloured polythene (to a different pattern) and not simply original metal jerrycans painted brown then black? Ha ha! Jerrycan worms!

 

No, I do not have any photos of brown water jerrycans that I know of though I'm receiving photos of Tripolitania sand-coloured stuff every week. I shall be on a lookout for brown water jerrycans from now on. In the K9K9 photo, the jerrycan to me appears to be light stone though a shade different to the vehicle. The vehicle also has the same rack arrangement on the other side, full of black jerrycans. It must be noted that the water jerrycans contained water for human consumption as well as for vehicle cooling systems. Priorities?;)

On the water topic, most vehicles utilised one or more canvas evaporative water cooling units, usually strung from the wing mirror arms. Hi-tech at its best! Also, if navigation was spot on and vehicles managed to keep going, an oasis would 'spring' up in the most unlikely of places in the seemingly arid wastelands.

Photo by Ronald Gill REME

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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More recently, were not brown water jerrycans made of brown-coloured polythene (to a different pattern) and not simply original metal jerrycans painted brown then black?

 

Never seen brown polythene ones Lizzie. It is often stated that green or black plastic ones were first made in 1966, well I have one of each dated 1965. I have never seen any earlier ones & that is not through lack of looking! Someone has shown me a green plastic one dated 1964, but it was a light puce green & of a different design. With the NCB of 66 rather than 99 indicated it was Australian. So perhaps the brown plastic ones you have seen were not UK versions given that the design as you say was to a different pattern?

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Lizzie, great photo of a hard worked late K9 in the real world. I like all the additions - put those on for a show and I'm sure you'd be told they never had them. Wonder if the channel was for use as a pusher bar or for unditching, or a bit of both - can't quite see if it's held on with wingnuts or something that would need a tool. I wonder what happened to the driver's side wing mirror, and what the big pile of canvas on the locker is?

 

Clive, comparing the jerrycan to the front of the body it certainly looks light stone. However I think if I had a convenient rack, particularly if packing up quickly after a job or loading up quickly, I might not worry too much about mixing fuel and water cans if they were clearly distinguished as these are, and if I knew I could rely on those with me not to confuse them. It's interesting that there doesn't appear to be a jerrycan in the proper holder.

 

 

This isn't that same truck that'd had a new driver's side screen in a previous image, is it?

 

Glad you like the photo Sean, I do too.

A pusher? No no Sean, you need BUMPERETTES for that! Ha ha! Joking of course, especially as we've 'done' bumperettes already in this thread and the bumperette topic seemed a little 'heated' in another. So yes, quite possible that the sand channel was for pushing and shoving, held onto the front bumper by threads protruding from it and with securing nuts so one would need a spanner to take the thing off. Come on Sean, I created a 'special' expandable photo just for you so blow your photo up and you'll see what I mean ;) The steel wire strop and hooks for pulling.

Like you, I spotted the windscreen 'new' black rubber and wondered if this K9 is the same one that we've seen here later on with 2RTR in Homs. As for a wing mirror missing, it wasn't me photoshopping it out!

The rolled-up canvas I'm guessing, is tentage for REME when setting up camp or when parking up against broken down customers for lengthy repairs to be undertaken whilst everyone else trucked on. Sun shade.

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I created a 'special' expandable photo just for you so blow your photo up and you'll see what I mean.

 

I did, but I still couldn't quite see.

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Jerrycans, in the Tripolitanian or Fezzan deserts. These are all fuel, red tagged for petrol and yellow tagged for ...... diesel! I hope! No brown or black ones, no light stone ones either but one 'green' and the rest 'rusty'. Why place these around a 'bath tub' though?

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Jerrycans, in the Tripolitanian or Fezzan deserts. These are all fuel, red tagged for petrol and yellow tagged for ...... diesel! I hope! No brown or black ones, no light stone ones either but one 'green' and the rest 'rusty'. Why place these around a 'bath tub' though?

 

I am guessing a sheet would be laid over the 'bathtub and turning the night and change of temperature, water will form and collect in the tub.

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No doubt this would all be wartime stock.

 

Hansard 10 April 1956 records the Secretary of State for War pressed for answer about jerrican stocks "Fifteen million, worth about £12½ million. Some are in use, some are reserves and some are being reconditioned or disposed of as scrap......... No new jerricans have been ordered since I have been at the War Office. The majority of this stock has been held over since the war."

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I am guessing a sheet would be laid over the 'bathtub and turning the night and change of temperature, water will form and collect in the tub.

Could 'well' be Richard, a reverse process (almost) to the canvas evaporative water cooling units on the trucks! We'll be doing chemistry equations and physics principles next!

These tub-type stuctures were often found next to a well in the middle of nowhere, as some photos I have show where about 8 troopers from 6RTR are are in a tub about that size happily splashing about enjoying a desert opportunity for a scrub down.

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No doubt this would all be wartime stock.

 

Hansard 10 April 1956 records the Secretary of State for War pressed for answer about jerrican stocks "Fifteen million, worth about £12½ million. Some are in use, some are reserves and some are being reconditioned or disposed of as scrap......... No new jerricans have been ordered since I have been at the War Office. The majority of this stock has been held over since the war."

 

Hi Clive,

Not sure how long that Sec. of State for War had been in office in 1956, but I have come across quite a number of jerricans dated early 50's (prior to 1956).

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It was Mr Anthony Head 1951 - 1956.

 

Richard yes certainly all the water ones I've had have been early 1950s, oh the things they say in Parliament!

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Richard Farrant said:
Hi Clive,

Not sure how long that Sec. of State for War had been in office in 1956, but I have come across quite a number of jerricans dated early 50's (prior to 1956).

 

Here are some 1952 ones in the desert around 1961. Notice the mess tins (year unknown) and the visiting pretty bird.

Photo by CH Bloxham REME

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Now it’s time to show you Champ chaps and chapesses a Champ! This one belongs to 6 Fd Pk Sqn RE based at Prinn Barracks (it’s what the vehicle flashes, amongst other information I have, are telling me) though we see it outside 5 Medium Wksp REME Gurgi whilst on a REME ‘road’ test following a repair by the said workshop. The REME chap driving it is John Middleton, a National Serviceman who joined up the same time with Tony Burton REME. Both were in the same 56:10 intake and posted to workshops in Tripoli. They became best friends and it is through Tony’s generosity that I can show some of John’s Tripoli photos.

Not sure what the H1 sign means and I can’t make out all the wording on the road test sign. On the top blue bar I believe I see ‘5 Med Wksp ****’, on the yellow bar the word(s) are impossible to read and, the red bottom bar has ‘Road Test’ written on it. Sadly, despite best efforts at remediation, the photo remains, blurred.

Notice the state of the workshop wall; the physical state of the barracks were well below par compared to others used by the British in Libya (as confirmed in official journals of the period). Accommodation was tented apart from a bungalow for the OC.

Photo by John Middleton NS56:10 REME

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Not quite the same lettering but a modern equivalent.

 

DSC00075a.jpg

 

I think H1 may be a movement serial.

 

Scan0031.jpg

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Stanag 2027 is a most useful reference document. Thanks Clive.

I bet the painting of 'unofficial' names on vehicles is not covered :-D

Look at this Champ 62BE61 from the same unit, 6 Fd Pk Sqn RE, same year as the sand-coloured one previously posted, this one with Spr Frank Hallsworth at the wheel in Prinn Barracks. 'TIGER' with what seem to be, little paw prints underneath each letter. Hmm, Arabic VRN too and what about that blank bridging plate! No bumperettes or white front diffs either :-D

Tented accommodation at Prinn too.

Both Champs display the 'soon to be removed', white rhino of 10 Armd Div. In this thread,

Hansard was mentioned in relation to jerrycan quantities; again Hansard quotes a 1957 Parliament debate where it was noted 10 Armd Div had been disbanded in July 1957 yet, according to other sources, regimental journals and photos included, the Division in name only 'hung on' until November 1957. Thereafter, many Generals and their subordinates were 'hung out to dry', surplus to requirements just as large quantities of vehicles were sent to disposal parks as regiments were subjected to amalgamations and cap badge disappearances.

Not the best quality photo but just an as important one nevertheless as is the previous Champ photo.

Photo by Frank Hallsworth RE

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Now it’s time to show you Champ chaps and chapesses a Champ! This one belongs to 6 Fd Pk Sqn RE based at Prinn Barracks (it’s what the vehicle flashes, amongst other information I have, are telling me) though we see it outside 5 Medium Wksp REME Gurgi whilst on a REME ‘road’ test following a repair by the said workshop. The REME chap driving it is John Middleton, a National Serviceman who joined up the same time with Tony Burton REME. Both were in the same 56:10 intake and posted to workshops in Tripoli. They became best friends and it is through Tony’s generosity that I can show some of John’s Tripoli photos.

Not sure what the H1 sign means and I can’t make out all the wording on the road test sign. On the top blue bar I believe I see ‘5 Med Wksp ****’, on the yellow bar the word(s) are impossible to read and, the red bottom bar has ‘Road Test’ written on it. Sadly, despite best efforts at remediation, the photo remains, blurred.

Notice the state of the workshop wall; the physical state of the barracks were well below par compared to others used by the British in Libya (as confirmed in official journals of the period). Accommodation was tented apart from a bungalow for the OC.

Photo by John Middleton NS56:10 REME

 

Sorry but I can't help with the wording on the "Road Test" plate. The ruinous state of the masonry building reflects the ferocity of the fighting there during WW2. One only had to kick the sand around to discover old shell cases, mainly 50cal or thereabouts. Sadly John Middleton died 4 years ago from a brain tumour and our mutual friend Maurice Cooling 2 years ago from Non-Hodgkinsons lymphoma. Tony Burton aka Magnakater.

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