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BlueBelle

Libya, Tripolitania, vehicles, barracks 1950s to 1966

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Hmmm, it looks like I’ll have to part with some spondulicks to see if I can obtain a better result about 43BA03. I’m guessing that the National Archive report I list here below relates to ‘the tank’ and that there is something about the photos we have and what Wally has told us that relates to ..... louvres as they, the pagoda type, were of course instrumental in providing cooling air for the engine and transmission on these marques plus. I could of course be totally wrong, again and, I think I am due to my wondering about the time lapse from the time the tank went back to FVRDE/issue to Bovington and, the report’s date. How long did it take for a trials report to get written up and presented?

Maybe then, this tank was one of the ‘reported’ 12 Mk7s manufactured (I think around 1956/7) that had direct drives for their cooling fans rather than the belt drives as norm? Surely trials, in the desert too, would have been conducted on these tanks?

I just hope that I’m not buying another pig in the poke that tells me next to nothing useful just as my very expensive report on 595 RAOC Depot Tripoli proved ..... monthly stats on boot repairs! :laugh: I’m an expert in doing that, which of course I wouldn’t be if I lived nearer Kew and could see the report FOC with no need to purchase. So many drawbacks to living in the back of beyond that is Canada, including giant carnivorous mosquitos. Roll on winter.

 

WO 194/1003 Centurion Mk 7 tank cooling air louvres trials, with photographs, dated 01/01/1962 - 31/12/1962

 

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C6144529

 

Don’t you just like a good mystery, just as history is, even when written down.

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I've parked Centurion 43BA03 for a while, confident that some more information will turn up in the not to distant future.

Meanwhile, SMLENo4 aka Max, has posted a couple of photos of that Scammell Explorer 94BD67 in service with 3RHA after service in Homs, Libya. There's another photo too, a wonderful night time shot of a different Scammell bogged in the mire of Egyptian mud, sand or a salt marsh with the REME crew and others looking quite displeased. Not even the over-tracks helped, so it seems. I write about this photo as it illustrates that even dreamy REME could get into a pickle, not just the regimental types and, because I wonder if the photo I'm showing below was in any way, apart from being an ARV used by 3RHA in Egypt prior to the regiment's D and M batteries withdrawing to Libya to join J Battery, connected with the bogging down of the Scammell?

The M32 ARV is stuck, hatches closed and seems abandoned. Notice the duplication of markings on the rear, particularly on the lateral tool box which would normally have had pioneer and track-bashing tools mounted on the outside. See the hooks on the hull side? Were they for the hollibones as they'd be on that side, normally, I think? Maybe the Scammell went to tow the ARV out or vice-versa and, both got bogged. I have quite a few photos of 3RHA vehicles in Egypt just prior to their withdrawal, many of them at 10 Base Ord Depot, Geneifa awaiting repair or shipping out. One of the photos is of an M Battery Cromwell well and truly stuck in the goo of Egypt and plenty more of Scammell Explorers wrecked by REME! So, an Egypt photo, and not a Libya one! :laugh:

Photo by John Newton REME

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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It would help if I said that those Scammell photos that Max posted are obviously not in this thread but are to be seen in those that The Governor has relating to 94BD67 :) Still can't get over how great that night shot of the other Scammell is and of the bods in despair.

Edited by BlueBelle

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1956 Jan Egypt. Yes Lizzie, you've hit the nail on the head again - good job you were not our OC LAD as you would have sussed this one out before anybody else did! A half track (Signallers having a cabbie)) was swanning around the perimeter at the back of El Ballah camp in the afternoon and decided to let it rip away from the camp not knowing there were miles and miles of salt flats north of the camp where nobody ever went and it didn't get far before it got hung up on its underside. The Scammel went out and that too got bogged down while he was attempting to winch it out fifty yards or more away. There was nothing left but to get the ARV out and it is the one in your photo that eventually got them both out. By then it was dark and all the officers and NCO's were well entrenched in their respective messes a couple of miles away sinking a few jars as usual. I nipped out and got a few pics before the ARV came out. (worth a bob or two, vested interests!) The ARV remained in the Canal Zone where we understood it was going to be scrapped. Our unit was employed destroying stores at the Ord depots for months before we were shipped out by LSTs, the last active regt to do so. Your photographer John Newton must have been on another jolly at the end, collecting our left-overs for the OFP - it appears to be on the same salt flats! Pete Roberts our Recce mech did not want anybody to know about this, neither did the Signals guy.

We lost a Dakota fuselage over the barbed wire where this happened days, before this event and if we had left it there until the morning all the loose parts on our two trucks would have been stripped off by local bandits. Another story from Egypt.

Max

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It would help if I said that those Scammell photos that Max posted are obviously not in this thread but are to be seen in those that The Governor has relating to 94BD67 :) Still can't get over how great that night shot of the other Scammell is and of the bods in despair.

 

I must be missing something - which thread entry in the Govenors restoration thread are theses additional photos?

 

Or do I have the wrong thread.....?

 

As for the Scammell and the ARV getting "bogged" its one of those "you couldnt make it up" moments....

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I must be missing something - which thread entry in the Govenors restoration thread are theses additional photos?

 

Or do I have the wrong thread.....?

 

As for the Scammell and the ARV getting "bogged" its one of those "you couldnt make it up" moments....

 

Here you go, Tarland. Unbogged REME to the rescue!

 

http://hmvf.co.uk/forumvb/showthread.php?57596-This-weeks-Scammell-Explorer-question/page2

 

http://hmvf.co.uk/forumvb/showthread.php?57353-Scammell-Explorer-1955/page9

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One wandered, lonely as a cloud. Yes, another interesting sky after 94BD67 in the north of England! Centurions draw me, perhaps you too? Having also dusted off the salty sinking sands of Egypt we're now back in Tripolitania. Land of sun, sand, sea and Sabratha. Yes, a camouflaged Centurion Mk3, 06ZR62, fitted with a Hohne Organ, had a 'more than once' chance encounter with a US Army Topographic Survey unit who had managed to 'stick' their 3/4 ton truck (Dodge ? something or the other, fitted with winch) on top of a little sand dune. 'Out of nowhere' came the 2nd Dragoon Guards, The Queen's Bays (Cavalry) to the rescue! The tank from B sqn The Bays of course, successfully released the US Army from their entrapment. Notice the H marking. It's summer 1957. 10 Armd Div still nominally in existence and the tank wears the white left-facing standing rhino on a black oval, complemented by a red rectangle bearing a white 50 as the senior armoured unit in the division (the other being 5 RTR at Barce, Cyrenaica). So perhaps not all of the Bays Centurions were daubed in DAK colours for the film makers!

Photo by Thomas Smith US Army

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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A Dodge M37! Thank you, Enigma. A very dark shade of US Army olive drab or 'green' too.

 

The Centurion 'dark shade' colour over the light stone appears to be a wishy-washy black, a matt black, perhaps? Not a green. The colour of the sand the vehicles are on is a stark contrast to some of the other shades of sand we've seen so far. More of a beach sand (the sea is just behind the sand dune, if you've noticed it) and is the colour I vividly remember from my childhood beach days in Homs.

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A shoot! Some big wigs turned out in September 1958 to watch, ferried in to a makeshift airstrip by an Auster 6 AOP of 8 Independant Recce Flight (Army) based at RAF Idris. They'd come to see B Squadron of the Sixth Royal Tank Regiment, Homs during their annual firing camp (a month out in the desert). The VIPs were Lt. Gen Sir Roger Bower CinC MELF seen standing in his 3-star Champ 07BF81 (notice the FFW set-up and a little flagging flag or pennant on a little pole on the far side of the bonnet) and who has adopted the typical officer 'I'm in charge, really I am' pose. With him is the CO, Lt.Col P.A Vaux.

In the middle Champ, 07BF85 with his 1-star plate is our other VIP visitor, Brigadier George Laing, Tripolitania District Commander. With him is B Sqn Ldr and the Adjt (names available). Note the same little flag and pole as before, the radio set-up (different to the C-in-Cs) and a blank Bridge plate. Is the hooter missing on this Champ?

The closest Champ, 02BF09 is actually the B Sqn Ldr's vehicle (see the diamond) and standing to the side of it is the regiment's 2i/c (name available). This is a radio vehicle too but have you noticed the different antenna base units or, at least the rubber antenna mounts? Hmm, FFW becomes FFR perhaps? We need a Champ/Radio expert's opinion here as I am merely the observer, reporter and conveyer of fine deserty photos.

All the officers are wearing shoes! With thick socks woolly, black-topped for the wearing of. I wonder if the officer (name available) in his black (yes, they are black with out a doubt) RTR overalls atop his Centurion is wearing boots or shoes? I know not but we may yet find out.

The Champs all belong to 6RTR and none to TripDist HQ in Tripoli. Notice the Arm of Service and Formation flashes on the Champs. Only in March the same year, 07BF81 sported a red rectangle with a white 52 as its Arm of Service flash, thus indicating markings had not been updated fully since dissolution of 10 Armd Bde and the posting out of the 'other' armoured regiment, the more senior Queen's Bays from Sabratha at the very end of 1957 (they wore a white 50 on a red rectangle as in the previous photo).

Photo by David Sands 6RTR

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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To my eyes, and I cannot blow up the photo at all, the Champ on the right has two Larkspur type aerial tuners on the wings. The centre Champ has just one but the closest Champ has a much bigger box although it does seem to have the aerial base on it. Others more knowledgeable will no doubt chip in. Very annoying that I can't make out the details better.

 

Gordon

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"Quelle horreur"! The photo above does not 'blow up'! Yet the previous (and others) does. "It's not me" doing it though sadly there certainly is no way again that my photos are going up on here as 'full blown originals' for them to be misappropriated by anyone. Not that 'small size' photos are for misappropriation either. So, here's some detail of those ABTUs on the wings of the Champs. In doing this, I noticed that the VIP Champs have what appears to be white seat squab (that's a funny word) covers or over-covers, that only one of the VIP Champs has white-tipped front bumpers whereas the non-VIP Champ has and, that one of the VIP Champs has a black or DBG windscreen inner frame. Plus I think I'm right about the missing hooter, unless it's hiding somewhere else. Got to get it right!

 

 

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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I agree with Gordon that the three bases on the right look like Larkspur, the rather domed base on the left vehicle look to me very much like a base for a 19 Set.

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Indeed it does, but why such a big box? Unless it was a local mod to put the aerial up front. Didn't WS19 Champs have the aerial at the back?

 

Gordon

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I cannot blow up the photo at all

 

If you have a scroll wheel on your mouse hold down Ctrl on the keyboard and scroll your wheel for a closer look.

 

@BlueBelle Still visiting and enjoying :)

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All the ATU boxes are the same and for Larkspur type ATU. The nearest champ has the earlier No 10 aerial base, usually associated with the 19 set and the others the No 28 which came with the larkspur sets. Functionally the two are more or less interchangable and it is quite possible that the No 10 was used if the champ had been up graded from WS19 to C42.

 

PT

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as to the aerial mounts for the WS19 set been mounted on the rear of the Austin champ l am looking at photograph

of one while taking part in a exercise on the Tarhuna training area with the Royal Fusiliers with them mounted so

as to the BF champs shown none seem to have survived into the present day

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One wandered, lonely as a cloud. Yes, another interesting sky after 94BD67 in the north of England! Centurions draw me, perhaps you too? Having also dusted off the salty sinking sands of Egypt we're now back in Tripolitania. Land of sun, sand, sea and Sabratha. Yes, a camouflaged Centurion Mk3, 06ZR62, fitted with a Hohne Organ, had a 'more than once' chance encounter with a US Army Topographic Survey unit who had managed to 'stick' their 3/4 ton truck (Dodge ? something or the other, fitted with winch) on top of a little sand dune. 'Out of nowhere' came the 2nd Dragoon Guards, The Queen's Bays (Cavalry) to the rescue! The tank from B sqn The Bays of course, successfully released the US Army from their entrapment. Notice the H marking. It's summer 1957. 10 Armd Div still nominally in existence and the tank wears the white left-facing standing rhino on a black oval, complemented by a red rectangle bearing a white 50 as the senior armoured unit in the division (the other being 5 RTR at Barce, Cyrenaica). So perhaps not all of the Bays Centurions were daubed in DAK colours for the film makers!

Photo by Thomas Smith US Army

 

 

The camouflage could simply be an easy way of covering up (overpainting) the DAK insignia. Magnakater.

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The camouflage could simply be an easy way of covering up (overpainting) the DAK insignia. Magnakater.

 

No, not so. All vehicles, armoured and softskin seem to have been camouflaged so, just as were their sister Divisional regiment of the time, 5RTR over in Barce, Cyrenaica. For those Bays trucks that appeared in 'No Time to Die' et al, their base colour scheme was Light Stone, with or without the DAK splodge camouflage daubings. Remember in a previous post in this thread, I commented (I think?) on how some of the DAK painted and marked Bedford QL/Austin K5 trucks still bore the British Bays squadron markings and even a H for Operation Musketeer! Those tanks and trucks though, didn't show any signs of the British DarK Green or Black camouflage patterns and, makes me enquire as to whether or not The Bays armour and softskins were ever painted in just plain Light Stone on its own (same enquiry for 5RTR). During the same period, most other Tripolitania-based regiments and smaller units did not apply camouflage to their armour and softskins though I have somewhere a photo or two of Half Tracks from KRRC (Infantry) Derna and Tripoli with Dark Green or Black patterned Camouflage.

The 14/20H with first, their Comets, Bren Carriers and M32 ARVs, then with their Centurions and at least one Caernarvon 07BA75, were the predecessors of The Bays at Sabratha (Nov 1952 - Nov 1955); their tanks and soft skins were plain lovely Light Stone. The Bays were the last regiment or unit to be based at Sabratha (Feb 1956 - Aug 1957). 10 Armd Div disbanded. 25 Armd Bde disbanded. Downsizing the British Forces in Libya was then well in hand, again.

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If you have a scroll wheel on your mouse hold down Ctrl on the keyboard and scroll your wheel for a closer look.

 

@BlueBelle Still visiting and enjoying :)

 

Marvellous! Glad you are.

Good tip of yours Rog. On an Apple this that or the other, if there is no auto expand for a photo, right press your Apple mouse, click 'view image' and then on the keyboard, press and hold down CMD whilst you press + to expand or - to reduce.

Stay tuned!:cheesy:

Edited by BlueBelle
Apple failure .... not me!

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as to the aerial mounts for the WS19 set been mounted on the rear of the Austin champ l am looking at photograph

of one while taking part in a exercise on the Tarhuna training area with the Royal Fusiliers with them mounted so

as to the BF champs shown none seem to have survived into the present day

 

Thanks Wally, Armoured Farmer, Clive and Gordon for your ATU input. That one box still is a bigger box, isn't it?

I thought for a while Wally was going to show said Royal Fusilier Champs in Tarhuna! I have seen some of them Champs, on a website somewhere as a Malta-based regiment. Poor quality photos that I saw but always top quality info of one sort or another that can be gleaned, no matter how fuzzy, wobbly or faded the photo. :-)

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On 9/21/2017 at 9:53 PM, BlueBelle said:

 

Thanks Wally, Armoured Farmer, Clive and Gordon for your ATU input. That one box still is a bigger box, isn't it?

 

I'm fairly sure that all the boxes are the same size and its just perspective and the colour that makes it look bigger.

PT

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On 16/10/2017 at 3:39 AM, armouredfarmer said:

I'm fairly sure that all the boxes are the same size and its just perspective and the colour that makes it look bigger.

PT

Thank you, Armoured Farmer. That's settled it, you'll all be pleased no doubt!

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Now let's have some colour, Light Stone of course as we view a desert breakdown scenario where REME have come to the rescue with their Scammell Explorer 92BD92.

The LAD belongs to 2RTR and the location in 'somewhere in the Jebel south of Homs', 1961. The casualty is a veritable WW2 veteran water trailer, one and the same type that someone on this forum is restoring (my bookmarks to everything HMVF no longer work in this new format so I can't guide you to it, nor can I remember if its a 180 or 200 gallon bowser).

It looks to me that the RL was towing the water trailer when something happened to the far side trailer wheel. Perhaps the Scammell is going to lift the trailer to enable a repair to be made, or for a tyre change assuming someone remembered to bring a spare on scheme! Would the broken trailer, with or without water have fitted into the cargo bed of the RL? What if the RL was the the cooks truck and ....... you can see where I'm going with this.

Photo by John Empson REME

 

 

Edited by BlueBelle
Yee Haw! It worked and you can blow it up! Oh, not the cooks RL either, it's a REME RL!
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