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BlueBelle

Libya, Tripolitania, vehicles, barracks 1950s to 1966

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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

 

The phase 1 Vanguard "belonged" to CREME and the Black Humber Pullman "belonged" to the GOC Tripoli District and NO it wasn't me who parked them under the rickety corrugated iron roof! ;) lol Tony Burton

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MELF 57? One thinks you may be thinking of BFPO 57, the postal address which covered all locations in Tripolitania, even when the few remaining locations became part of NELF, headquartered in BFPO 51, Malta (later becoming Malta & Libya Command). So when I was a far younger 'uman bean' than now, I lived in Homs, Tripolitania, Libya BFPO 57 where, one could sometimes hear the simultaneous distinctive purr of more than 80 B-Series engines of the regiment's armoured cars and APCs. Not that one was old enough to realise, know or be interested in those sorts of things then. Tapping one's Wheetabix, pre-milk addition, was such fun as we competed to see whose cereal would produce the greatest number of weevils! And, if you didn't get them all out, they floated to the top, if you waited long enough! :red:

MELF to my limited knowledge, was MELF, without numbers, headquartered first in Egypt then Cyprus (with their own BFPO numbers based on their locations).

In Cyrenaica District, all locations were covered by Tobruk BFPO 56 and Benghazi BFPO 55.

Of course, there may have been other BFPO numbers assigned to Libya locations though I’m not aware of them, nor do I profess to know when the locations were first allocated a BFPO number. Perhaps a philatelist would know.:cool2:

 

When at 19 Armd Wksp I used to send off the "State of the Workshops" report every month the HQ MELF 57 Cyprus.

Tony Burton

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Swiftly moving on and sticking to the spirit of the thread title, let's 'do' more jerrycans, some even 'dug in' out in the desert. We're at a 'not long arrived in Libya' 1 Royal Scots exercise fuel dump far south in the Tripolitanian desert late 1961 where support was provided by 38 Coy RASC and 219 (Tripolitania) Sigs Sqn RS. Oh, REME too, from 61 Station Wksp at Gurgi. The Royal Scots took over at Medenine Barracks from the Royal Irish Fusiliers. Seen is an Austin K9 Radio shack and the rear of a Leyland Hippo ..... or is it an AEC 10 T, which were in theatre then? X body panels are a clue! I could tell you but I thought I'd let you, dear viewer decide what that lorry (I like that word, 'lorry', rather than 'truck' even though I'm not sure if a lorry is the same as a truck ;)) really is. 1/4 T trailers and tents!

 

Photo by John Davey REME

 

Edited by BlueBelle
Updated! Thank you :)

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Seen is an Austin K9 Radio shack and the rear of a Leyland Hippo ..... or is it an AEC 10 T, which were in theatre then? X body panels are a clue! I could tell you but I thought I'd let you, dear viewer decide what that lorry (I like that word, 'lorry', rather than 'truck' even though I'm not sure if a lorry is the same as a truck ;)) really is. 1/4 T trailers and tents!

 

Photo by John Davey REME

 

The lorry is definitely not a Hippo, I think it is an AEC Militant 10 tonner

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The lorry is definitely not a Hippo, I think it is an AEC Militant 10 tonner

 

That's two of us that agree, AEC Mk1 Militant :-D The photo though was sent to me with 'Hippo' in the title written on the back (oh, no it wasn't, I was writing about another similar photo; the one we see here was sent as a jpg).

I know of only one other photo of a Militant in Tripolitania and that is in the online RASC journal archive of the RLC Museum where sadly, as is the norm for all their low-grade scans of the periodicals, most photos are virtually indistinguishable though I could make out that what I saw was indeed, a sand-coloured Militant cab with a Barbary dhow flash!

Edited by BlueBelle

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Having made the sweeping statement that all black-painted jerrycans were for water, drinking and engines 'for the use of' and assuming they'd not be marked in anyway other than by the white paint infills to the side pressings, take a look at THIS black jerrycan!

Whilst you're doing that, do notice the lovely Centurion ARV Mk 1 belonging to one of the squadron LADs attached to 6RTR from Homs whilst deep down in the desert on Training Area 24 (battle group size) in 1959. In doing that, you'll notice a man in a rather snazzy jump suit affair, a suit that you may wish to comment on as I've not seen anyone in the desert dressed in such an outfit. Is it a BAOR item? Standard issue? 'Borrowed' from a Libyan Army soldier? No matter what, the most important aspect of the photo is the man himself for he is no other than Sgt Ronald Gill REME through whose generousity we are able to see some of his suberb 6RTR Tripolitania Libya photos. Thanks Ron.

Photo by Ronald Gill REME

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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'Oversuit tank crews camouflage' the camouflaged version on the standard 'Pixie suit' I believe, a bit warm for daytime in Libya?

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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.

Photo by Ronald Gill REME

 

'Whiskey' The K9's name was 'Whiskey'. Obvious really. I found out after a deluge of Tank Journals fell on me this morning when I opened the ''so strange' outdoor remote mailbox that these Canadian fellows make us have. Yes, everything covering 6RTR and then, 2RTR 1956-1962 inclusive and, in a 6RTR one there was 'Whiskey goes on scheme' with B Sqn. From Ron Gill REME, who took the photo, though he couldn't tell me the K9s name, did tell me that it belonged to a Major Barker (now, settle down and paws a while) who was the OC B Sqn at that time.

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Time for a TANK! A Centurion ARV Mk1 with 6RTR some 300 miles south of Homs on TA 24. There was a need to contact RHQ at home by morse so with the assistance of the regimental Signals officer, the ARV became, it seems, a command post, of sorts.

There has very recently been some blagging on the forum about antenna size so this photo is a counter to those proceedings :laugh: Just look at the ARV's antenna! A 'standard' method or a 'Heath Robinson' job? I'd be interested to understand how the mast was fixed to the superstructure top, thinking that the mast base may have been a ground spike. Anyway, if I've linked up correctly with what The Tank says for this time and occasion with the photo timing, it didn't work then. No contact. I believe the set was a No19. Communications were also a hit or miss affair in those parts at that time (probably before then too), whether by morse or voice (I've yet to confirm what set was used for long range voice). Will this photo expand or not, who knows? I hope you enjoy seeing it nevertheless.

Photo by Ronald Gill REME

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Have you noticed the colour of the ARV's towropes and roadwheel hubs?:cheesy: The towropes with a 'splash' of exhaust muck from those 900 fishtails!

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'Oversuit tank crews camouflage' the camouflaged version on the standard 'Pixie suit' I believe, a bit warm for daytime in Libya?

Thank you 07BE16. I've now Googled your very helpful reply and seen more!

Fancy me thinking it was off an Arab!

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The lovely colour photo of the Centurion ARV Mk1 and it’s ‘unusual’ circumstances produced zero remarks, and no ‘value added’ comments, questions or a hunger for more information. I had mistakenly expected the Centurion, REME and Signals ‘experts’ (others too) to at least have inputted ‘something’ which may or may not have added value to the post. ;)

Perhaps I should just keep the ‘really good stuff’ in reserve for the book(s) and treat the dear viewer to more fuzzy B&W photos of Landrovers and Champs which seem to ‘float boats’! Oh, and a K9 now and then. :laugh:

 

Did you know that the ARV Aux Generator had a ‘removable’ external exhaust pipe? No, I didn’t until I saw my other photos of the same ARV on here and, one other from another 6RTR squadron buffed up and on parade in a drivepass. No Aux gen exhausts! Or obvious blanked-off port either. Was it 'normal' to remove them, and where were they stowed? The towropes had changed colour too, from light-stone to ...... silver and the superstructure front timbers a nice shiny black with the smaller side timber blocks a shiny light-stone. Shiny? Hang on, was Light Stone a full gloss, a semi-gloss or a matt paint? Maybe available as all three, or more paint finish variants? What’s on the ARV I've shown?

 

I know from photos that of the two Mk1 ARVs in Homs, one had the earlier Mk2 Centurion catwalk bins with the top opening lids, the other had the late Mk3 Centurion side opening catwalk bin lids. In fact, you can see this on the two (different) ARV photos I’ve posted here. Hmmm, and I had thought they were all on Mk2 hulls with top opening bin lids. Something perhaps, ‘Centurion ARV experts everywhere’, could have to say about that, and about ARV hull lengths and perhaps too, a nod to most ARV Mk1s, if not all (unless sold to foreign armies) being converted to ARV Mk2s. Me? Not an expert!

 

Standby for that (another) Austin Champ!

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Here it is, in all its fuzzy glory, an Austin Champ, 63BE71 of J Batt 3RHA based in Homs photoed in Tripolitania 1956. Despite the poor quality image, the content/subject matter is superb especially as we can see the markings/lettering.

Can you see the H markings on the nose, bonnet and roof? What about the white Gothic letter J on a black rectangle and the battle honour 'Sidi Rezegh' in white on a black background on the side on the bonnet, which was repeated on the other side too? (Colours noted from colour photos of other 3RHA vehicles in my collection). Nothing on the Bridging Plate. Displayed is the regimental badge, the 10 Armd Div white rhino (standing), the RA flash with a white 74 to indicate senior artillery regiment in the formation, and there's a white J2 to the top left of that flash on a black background which may indicate 2i/c J Battery.

Of course, whilst prepared for Operation Musketeer, this regiment and all other Libya-based units 'were not allowed to go'.

Photo by Dudley Carter 3RHA

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Austin champ 63 BE 71 came back to the uk in 1957 was sold on the 6/10/65 as lot number 484 at RUDDINGTON

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Lizzie I can sense your frustration of the lack of audience participation but the thing is that this is serious & specialist thread that many of us hesitate to comment for fear appearing foolish & assuming someone more knowledgeable will chip in with points that may not have already been covered by your comprehensive appraisal of each photo.

 

So please keep them coming & do you have any Humbers in the collection?

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Austin champ 63 BE 71 came back to the uk in 1957 was sold on the 6/10/65 as lot number 484 at RUDDINGTON

 

Information is everything! Thank you Wally. Yes, 3RHA departed the sandy shores of Homs, Tripolitania in May 1957 for the dank downs of Salisbury Plain, Bulford to be more precise, swapping their Sextons for 5.5" howitzers.

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Ok then, I'll make a comment on the radio mast on the tank as no one else has. Looks Heath Robinson to me, and as it is a vertical radiator and with a WS19 on the bottom I'm not surprised they didn't make the distance. Way too far for ground wave from a vertical, they should have used a horizontal dipole or the 100ft long wire aerial strung up as an inverted L.

 

Gordon

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The lovely colour photo of the Centurion ARV Mk1 and it’s ‘unusual’ circumstances produced zero remarks, and no ‘value added’ comments, questions or a hunger for more information. I had mistakenly expected the Centurion, REME and Signals ‘experts’ (others too) to at least have inputted ‘something’ which may or may not have added value to the post. ;)

Perhaps I should just keep the ‘really good stuff’ in reserve for the book(s) and treat the dear viewer to more fuzzy B&W photos of Landrovers and Champs which seem to ‘float boats’! Oh, and a K9 now and then. :laugh:

 

Did you know that the ARV Aux Generator had a ‘removable’ external exhaust pipe? No, I didn’t until I saw my other photos of the same ARV on here and, one other from another 6RTR squadron buffed up and on parade in a drivepass. No Aux gen exhausts! Or obvious blanked-off port either. Was it 'normal' to remove them, and where were they stowed? The towropes had changed colour too, from light-stone to ...... silver and the superstructure front timbers a nice shiny black with the smaller side timber blocks a shiny light-stone. Shiny? Hang on, was Light Stone a full gloss, a semi-gloss or a matt paint? Maybe available as all three, or more paint finish variants? What’s on the ARV I've shown?

 

I know from photos that of the two Mk1 ARVs in Homs, one had the earlier Mk2 Centurion catwalk bins with the top opening lids, the other had the late Mk3 Centurion side opening catwalk bin lids. In fact, you can see this on the two (different) ARV photos I’ve posted here. Hmmm, and I had thought they were all on Mk2 hulls with top opening bin lids. Something perhaps, ‘Centurion ARV experts everywhere’, could have to say about that, and about ARV hull lengths and perhaps too, a nod to most ARV Mk1s, if not all (unless sold to foreign armies) being converted to ARV Mk2s. Me? Not an expert!

 

Standby for that (another) Austin Champ!

 

 

Apologies - I'd missed the Centurion photos being added.

 

There's an article on the last remaining Mk1 ARV here;

 

http://anzacsteel.hobbyvista.com/Armoured%20Vehicles/anzacarvph_1.htm

 

it saw New Zealand and then Australian service (to relase Mk2 ARV's for Vietnam service) and now in the Royal Australian Armoured Corp museum at Puckapunyal.

 

Is the photo of the "buffed up" ARV going to be posted?

Edited by Tarland

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Ok then, I'll make a comment on the radio mast on the tank as no one else has. Looks Heath Robinson to me, and as it is a vertical radiator and with a WS19 on the bottom I'm not surprised they didn't make the distance. Way too far for ground wave from a vertical, they should have used a horizontal dipole or the 100ft long wire aerial strung up as an inverted L.

 

Gordon

 

You'd have thought the regimental signals officer would have known his stuff.....or maybe not?

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Ok then, I'll make a comment on the radio mast on the tank as no one else has. Looks Heath Robinson to me, and as it is a vertical radiator and with a WS19 on the bottom I'm not surprised they didn't make the distance. Way too far for ground wave from a vertical, they should have used a horizontal dipole or the 100ft long wire aerial strung up as an inverted L.

 

Gordon

 

Not sure its a 19 on the end of that, its hard to tell from the quality of the photo but that looks to me like a larkspur ATU at the top of the mast, although it would be very difficult to tune in that position, but it may have been an improvisation to increase the range? Again difficult to be certain but it has the feel of a Larkspur headset on the vehicle commander.

The mast may be the interlocking sectional type fitted to the sides of K9s, not sure what its proper designation is.

 

Lizzie, the first light stone layer that was applied to my K9 was definitely gloss, I'm still looking for the "H" though :laugh:

 

PT

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Lizzie I can sense your frustration of the lack of audience participation but the thing is that this is serious & specialist thread that many of us hesitate to comment for fear appearing foolish & assuming someone more knowledgeable will chip in with points that may not have already been covered by your comprehensive appraisal of each photo.

 

So please keep them coming & do you have any Humbers in the collection?

 

I can't help agreeing with Clive on this one -- I reckon this is the most interesting thread on HMVF at the moment!

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I can't help agreeing with Clive on this one -- I reckon this is the most interesting thread on HMVF at the moment!

 

I second that: I have nothing to contribute but most interested regards TED

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Lizzie I can sense your frustration of the lack of audience participation but the thing is that this is serious & specialist thread that many of us hesitate to comment for fear appearing foolish & assuming someone more knowledgeable will chip in with points that may not have already been covered by your comprehensive appraisal of each photo.

 

So please keep them coming & do you have any Humbers in the collection?

 

Now look what's happened! :laugh:

More to come, and, yes, a Humber or two, though no CTs:-(

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Ok then, I'll make a comment on the radio mast on the tank as no one else has. Looks Heath Robinson to me, and as it is a vertical radiator and with a WS19 on the bottom I'm not surprised they didn't make the distance. Way too far for ground wave from a vertical, they should have used a horizontal dipole or the 100ft long wire aerial strung up as an inverted L.

 

Gordon

Most valued comment, thank you Gordon. :-) 6RTR I guess, were trying 'anything' to get through, either on morse or voice. I wonder where the rear link was? Maybe that was it, but it was not 'in the rear'! 2RTR used a 52 set as a rear link in a Saracen on some forays 'deep down south' and, I am assured they always got through using their 19 sets and, on one occasion from near Toummo, were talking to a chap in Canada! I believe timing, frequencies, atmospherics, and what disturbances nuclear test detonations (? - not sure I believe that nuclear thing) may have had on the ionosphere were to be taken into consideration. Antenna type and length? Who knows? I do know a man who does know and ..... see my next post on radio!

Edited by BlueBelle

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Apologies - I'd missed the Centurion photos being added.

 

There's an article on the last remaining Mk1 ARV here;

 

http://anzacsteel.hobbyvista.com/Armoured%20Vehicles/anzacarvph_1.htm

 

it saw New Zealand and then Australian service (to relase Mk2 ARV's for Vietnam service) and now in the Royal Australian Armoured Corp museum at Puckapunyal.

 

Is the photo of the "buffed up" ARV going to be posted?

 

Thank you, Tarland. I'd not seen that link before. Yes, 'buffed up' ARV coming soon though I think an infanteer's Humber will appear before the Centurion. :laugh:

I still need information, accurate information on ARV Mk1 hulls (I'm sure they were all built on redundant Centurion Mk1 and 2 Gun tanks with top-opening trackguard bin lids, and that the same type of bins were on early Mk3s with the newer side-opening trackguard bin lids only on later production models of Mk3s onwards). So why the later Mk3 type bins on these ARVs? Anyone?

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