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BlueBelle

Libya, Tripolitania, vehicles, barracks 1950s to 1966

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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.

Thanks for posting about the Cambridge Carrier. Advanced search completed to find your Cambridge thread; failed! Can you please point in the right direction? I wonder why the Cambridge Carrier was abandoned in Canada? Is someone operating what you've shewn or restoring them?

Thanks in advance.

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

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]123111[/ATTACH]

Any mention of Libya and the trialling regiment?

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Now we'll have another one from Max Warwick REME and a stunning line-up for an annual Admin Inspection of 3RHA in Homs, 1956. Admin Inspections in the 50's were enshrined in unit calendars but perhaps fizzled out completely by the early 60s. Maybe something do do with track mileage expenditure!

I digressed. Look! support_70f4b451d1ce894bd94e58eb847d56e8.gif Its another Scammell Explorer and its VRN is 94BD67 ..... well fancy that! We've seen 94BD17, 94BD27 and now 94BD67. OOOEEEE! And look at that Centurion ARV Mk1. Stunning, as indeed is the turnout of those lovely Halftracks and the soldiers. Funny how scruffy today's soldiers look on parade (Guards Brigade/Household Division excepted) in those baggy shirty-hanging out camo rags and ortho brown boots 'shuffling' along out of step and dressing. What was wrong with 'barrack dress', those shirts-non hairy tucked in, green woolly pullies, stable belts, berets worn properly with badges over the eye, not ear and shiny boots ammunition, with or with studs and toe/heel-clicky bits? Don't answer on this thread, please. :laugh:

The airstrip to the south east of Leptis Magna was the usual venue for vehicle parades, whether Admin, Colours, Queen's Birthday and so on. As children, we and my mother were bussed to the airstrip for 2RTR's Standards parade in 1960 to see the whole regiment drive past in clouds of sand and dust! The band played on, may have been (I'd have to check) the Royal Irish Fusiliers from Medenine barracks, Tripoli.

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Any mention of Libya and the trialling regiment?

 

Afraid not. Points of interest:

 

December 1956

Due to accident, trials of first prototype suspended

Second prototype due Jan 1957

Cost of prototype proving greater than originally estimated....

B81 expected to be fitted to third prototype (annotated not acceptable for Saladin due to poor cooling)

WO ordered 10 vehicles

3 - Personnel carriers

3 - Ammunition carriers

3 - Fuel carriers

1 - Command vehicle

 

June 1957

Three prototypes running on trials, fourth due end of June

Command vehicle still under design

High noise levels reported in vehicles

Flotation trials, mean speed over two runs was 3.6mph

Third prototype (825 GF) trialled loading in mock-up Beverley

B81 will be fitted fourth prototype 43% increase in horsepower over B80 (annotated may help Saladin)

Fourth prototype being constructed of mild steel

Manufacture of Troop Trials vehicles is proceeding. First due end of June.

Hoped to have five cargo/personnel carriers & one command vehicle completed by August

Expected six Troop Trials vehicles will take part in autumn trials in BAOR

Design study for APC version being carried out

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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

 

Wonderful. The various pictures I have of 421s show that there were different basic designs, one with a single slope to the front, and this one where the section containing the windscreen is (almost?) vertical. Presumably one was a development of the other. If this is the case, does anyone know which is the earliest?

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The original design of Fv421s had the front of the 'cab' in one continuous slope, no window in the only cab door which was on the left side and was hinged on its rear edge. There were no hatches in the cab roof proper but provision for an AA gunner/observer just behind on the centreline of the vehicle. They also had the track idlers very close to the rearmost road wheel.

 

Later they were modified and possibly some built new with the more vertical windscreen, roof hatches in the two sloping sections of roof directly above driver and co driver, a window in the now front hinged door. Seperately the idler was moved back about 9" to the position shown in the photo in the post above and mounted on a much stronger adjusting mechanism with its pivot below the wheel centre instead of above.

 

Another change saw the main radiator moved from the very back of the vehicle to the front of the engine in the air intake stack and a very much bigger air exhaust duct that enclosed the two exhaust pipes and mufflers which had been to the right of the duct before.

 

I have a photo of 00CA24 in the original configuration so that one was definately rebuilt at least once.

 

Note that they never got a door on the driver's side of the cab because the fuel filler is there together with all sorts of bits on the inside of the cab side.

 

Does anyone have a copy of the later user handbook (W.O.Code 18396) that they might sell/lend for scanning/or scan and email to me?

 

David

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The original design of Fv421s had the front of the 'cab' in one continuous slope, no window in the only cab door which was on the left side and was hinged on its rear edge. There were no hatches in the cab roof proper but provision for an AA gunner/observer just behind on the centreline of the vehicle. They also had the track idlers very close to the rearmost road wheel.

 

Later they were modified and possibly some built new with the more vertical windscreen, roof hatches in the two sloping sections of roof directly above driver and co driver, a window in the now front hinged door. Seperately the idler was moved back about 9" to the position shown in the photo in the post above and mounted on a much stronger adjusting mechanism with its pivot below the wheel centre instead of above.

 

Another change saw the main radiator moved from the very back of the vehicle to the front of the engine in the air intake stack and a very much bigger air exhaust duct that enclosed the two exhaust pipes and mufflers which had been to the right of the duct before.

 

I have a photo of 00CA24 in the original configuration so that one was definately rebuilt at least once.

 

Note that they never got a door on the driver's side of the cab because the fuel filler is there together with all sorts of bits on the inside of the cab side.

 

Does anyone have a copy of the later user handbook (W.O.Code 18396) that they might sell/lend for scanning/or scan and email to me?

 

David

 

Super! Are we going to see your photos then? Please? At least the sand-coloured ones? 00CA24 was sand-coloured and, in TRIPOLITANIA (Yay!) which is why we're here! :laugh:

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Sorry, no photos of sand coloured 421s but here is the photo of 00CA24 as built in DBG and carrying what I guess is a full load of amunition:

 

FV421 00CA24.jpg

 

David

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Sorry, no photos of sand coloured 421s but here is the photo of 00CA24 as built in DBG and carrying what I guess is a full load of amunition:

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]123202[/ATTACH]

 

David

Thank you! I wonder how many times that vehicle, or the vehicle that bore that registration, went in for modification and re-issue for trials, prior to being ...... shot at, melted down, left to rot or 'preserved'? it looked better in Light Stone.

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British registration numbers were issued in batches when vehicles were ordered and stayed with the vehicle that got them regardless of rebuilds, conversions, etc. Thus Humber Pigs got the registration of the 1Ton truck that they were converted from and Centurion bridgelayers have the registration of the often very early Cent gun tanks that they were converted from. FVRDE prototypes had civilian series registrations (and often a big P followed by a number) but pre production vehicles had army numbers (like the 00CAxx Fv421s) and often a big W followed by a number. There were exceptions to this but very few.

 

David

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We need more sand-coloured stuff that was in Tripolitania, so let's see what this next photo does for you ... (Oh, the 2RTR tank park coloured photos went by without notice, as did the that b&w one with all those .... oh, never mind, you're all too stunned for words!!!!) :laugh:

Yes! An Austin K9, again! RL Binner and fitter's Halftrack L.A.D REME 2RTR, Homs 1960/61. Photo by John Empson REME.

I've asked 'those who were there' what the tall, glassed hanger-like building was used for and we're stumped. I have a similar photo showing the building under construction sometime in 1956/57 when 3RHA were in-situ. Stumped. No, it was not a gym, so I'm told. I have had the suggestion that it housed inflatable decoys of some sort? Too far-fetched perhaps? Perhaps not. During the latter half of 1950s, I am well informed that squadrons from 22 Regiment RE based in Tripoli were involved in setting up or trialling decoy targets for the Warsaw Pact hostiles, and, I also understand (perhaps an airforce expert may be on here to enlighten/verify) that RAF Idris to the south of Tripoli was a diversionary/dispersal airfield for the UK's V Bomber force. Hmm, maybe the hanger in Homs had in it a blow-up Vulcan? Or a regiment's worth of inflatable Shermans left over from WW2? I jest, of course, though the truth is just waiting, somewhere to be found and told.

Oh, the RL Binner is not a special version with a structure mounted on the roof; it is the camp water tower behind the truck. There is a special name for that type of water tower; maybe we have an RE specialist who would know the answer?

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Just to test your powers of observation with respect to the previous photo of the L.A.D vehicles. The K9 has both a REME arm of service flash (with white band and words 'LAD REME 2 R Tanks' and a Royal Signals one! Yes, that was the LAD FFW truck, complete with a real RS signals person though can't see the antenna mounts/connections nor can I remember without checking, which side of the truck all the antenna gubbins was. I'm almost sure I've seen it on either side. There seems to be 'something' on the cab roof, whatever that may be?

The Halftrack has some nice tyres and a lovely shield-shaped Tripolitania District blue, black and white Barbary Dhow flash whilst the RL Binner has the rectangular version of it!!!!

No strict rules and I even have photos where the Dhow is either facing the wrong direction or is missing one of its masts and sail sets!

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Does anyone have a copy of the later user handbook (W.O.Code 18396)

 

I've seen one in the library at Bovington, so they will scan it for a price. My database indicates that I have copy. I've just spent over half an hour looking for it, but I've not seen it since the move here 6 months ago.

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Braithwaite Tower.

 

You should get hold of copy of "Soldier" for January 1961. The feature article is called "War in the Desert" and described Exercise NATATION. Troops involved included Pathfinders from 1 Gds indep Para Coy2 Para, 41 Para Lt Bty RA, 2 Tp 9 Indep Para Sqn RE, 2 coys of RIF, a Yorkshire bn from Gibraltar and 2 RTR.

 

The front cover shows a Saladin of 2 RTR "Afridi" and in the article is a picture of an Explorer NNBD70 towing a Leyland Hippo, 56YY78.

10 68

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10FM68 said:
Braithwaite Tower.

 

You should get hold of copy of "Soldier" for January 1961. The feature article is called "War in the Desert" and described Exercise NATATION. Troops involved included Pathfinders from 1 Gds indep Para Coy2 Para, 41 Para Lt Bty RA, 2 Tp 9 Indep Para Sqn RE, 2 coys of RIF, a Yorkshire bn from Gibraltar and 2 RTR.

 

The front cover shows a Saladin of 2 RTR "Afridi" and in the article is a picture of an Explorer NNBD70 towing a Leyland Hippo, 56YY78.

10 68

Yes! That's it, a Braithwaite tower! See, it's so rewarding asking a question and receiving an answer, especially a question to which you didn't know the answer and to then know the answer is totally correct! Thank goodness for the power of knowledge and unfogged memory, the fogged memory is not a condition I suffer from, yet, though I do have a lot of the fogged memories of some in their generousity to aid in my in my quest! Ah, it'll all become clear, eventually. Now, where was Gurgi Barracks again?

So to THAT Soldier magazine. You mean this one below?

With grateful thanks to Soldier Magazine.

Saladin 07BB85 'Afridi' of Ajax Sqn 2RTR. Ajax named their armoured vehicles whilst based in Homs though not for long when they moved to Benghazi. Badger never named their vehicles, Cyclops did, though not when based in Medenine Barracks Oct 1961-Oct 62 and, Nero (HQ) only seemed to have named their armoured vehicles whilst Homs based. The black soldiers in the photo (I have a good few more of 07BB85 on that exercise) were, if my memory is unfogged, from Ghana on familiarisation training as their government had just bought or were considering buying, Saladins.

Yes, I have obtained that magazine and a few others with less than spectacular coverage of all things Tripolitanian. If you know of more sources of sand-coloured Tripolitania stuff, then please do engage as I shall be more than grateful for the information, even if foggy. :-)

 

Edited by BlueBelle

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Oh, the 2RTR tank park coloured photos went by without notice, as did the that b&w one with all those ...

 

They were, for my ageing eyes at least, a bit small to see & pick up on much detail, and don't click through to a larger version like some others.

 

 

An Austin K9, again! RL Binner and fitter's Halftrack L.A.D REME 2RTR, Homs 1960/61. Photo by John Empson REME.

 

Austin K9 has an earlier registration than the RL (BG vs BJ) yet is a later vehicle. Could the RL have been in store for several years before being allocated a service registration? That doesn't seem to tie in with what I understood to be the practice.

 

RL without a bridge plate, just the number painted straight onto the panelwork which seemed to happen a lot on R types - and the half track with a bridge plate but no number.

 

What is the square thing on the front of the K9 roof, above the screen just at the top of the passenger side 'A' post?

 

I wonder if you put two flashes on a restored truck whether you'd get a lot of flak from the rivet counters?

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They were, for my ageing eyes at least, a bit small to see & pick up on much detail, and don't click through to a larger version like some others.

Austin K9 has an earlier registration than the RL (BG vs BJ) yet is a later vehicle. Could the RL have been in store for several years before being allocated a service registration? That doesn't seem to tie in with what I understood to be the practice.

RL without a bridge plate, just the number painted straight onto the panelwork which seemed to happen a lot on R types - and the half track with a bridge plate but no number.

What is the square thing on the front of the K9 roof, above the screen just at the top of the passenger side 'A' post?

I wonder if you put two flashes on a restored truck whether you'd get a lot of flak from the rivet counters?

 

The photos expand on 'click' if I'm logged in and the L.A.D vehicles 'blow up' magnificently! Is it me or you? :-)

No idea about the square thing on the cab roof front though to the rear of it, perhaps sticking up on a mini-mast or on a small base plate welded to the cab rear, seems to be one of those black rubber antenna base units.

No idea of disparity with dates into service though there are many Homs shots of that RL Binner in my collection and, indeed, of the Halftrack. Tripolitania was 'awash' with RL Binners in the 50s and up to 1966. All regiments had three or four of them, if not more, and 595 Ord Fd Pk RAOC as part of 25 Armd Bde had scores of them as my photos show (yet to be seen here), multiplied when 10 Armd Div formed in Libya for Suez. There would have been many of those returned to RAOC Vehicle Parks/Depots post 1957 in 'the new order' of 'things' (not in Tripolitania parks/depots but probably Malta).

Bridge Plate classification may not have mattered much in those parts of Libya in them days?

Two flashes are fine in being historically correct if you have the reference. There were other radio vehicles in 2RTR though what we have to account for is that regiments, most definitely armoured ones, had a Royal Signals troop attached who were responsible for regimental radio/signals traffic/regime. Maybe it was so throughout the British Army worldwide though I suspect it was more of a 'desert thing' due to long distance communication requirements in climatically hostile environments. Rules were made up as they went along in Libya in them days and, nobody stuck to them, so it seems just by looking at markings, naming conventions etc.

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Let's look at that very same Austin K9 FFW in this photo from John Empson REME of a line-up of 2RTR's L.A.D REME, Nero sqn (not one of the regiment's sabre sqns L.A.Ds). What are the differences with that K9 compared to the previous photo of it? My father is to the right on this photo, ooeee, fancy that! That'll be his Ferret, more than likely though I have another photo where he is in a turreted one.

This photo features a sand and fluff storm going on in the camera. I wonder how clever I need to be to eliminate this phenomena and the time it would take to do satisfactorily?

 

Oh, Sean et al, I think there is a problem with some of the photos not expanding, regardless of being logged in or not. Some are expandable, some are not. Hmmm, what's going on as I upload in the same way each time (I think I do, as there is only one way, isn't there?).

 

Edited by BlueBelle
Sand n fluff storm comment

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I think that the square thing on the front corner of the cab of the K9 is one of the brackets for the knobs that the air defence machine gun mount attaches to. In the latest photo in the post above you can see the one on the back corner of the cab and the one front centre as well. Nice photo that even with the dust storm in the camera.

 

David

Edited by David Herbert

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The photos expand on 'click' if I'm logged in and the L.A.D vehicles 'blow up' magnificently! Is it me or you? :-) ... Oh, Sean et al, I think there is a problem with some of the photos not expanding, regardless of being logged in or not. Some are expandable, some are not. Hmmm, what's going on as I upload in the same way each time (I think I do, as there is only one way, isn't there?).

 

Lizzie, it's seemed to me on other occasions that there's something in the forum software that uses the posted image as a thumbnail and links to the full size image if the image is over a certain size. I've never been able to confirm that suspicion or establish the critical size though. Nevertheless it would explain what's going on.

 

 

No idea about the square thing on the cab roof front though to the rear of it, perhaps sticking up on a mini-mast or on a small base plate welded to the cab rear, seems to be one of those black rubber antenna base units.

 

I think that the square thing on the front corner of the cab of the K9 is one of the brackets for the knobs that the air defence machine gun mount attaches to. In the latest photo in the post above you can see the one on the back corner of the cab and the one front centre as well. David

 

David, I didn't think it was originally, and I was accounting for the gun mount. It appeared that there was something square in front of the mount at the very front of the roof.

 

However looking at it again, I think what's happening is that there is something horizontal and linear just above the windscreen at the front of the roof, which is combining with the light and shadow of the roof and gun mount to give the illusion of a square plate. It could be that the windscreen wiper is parked on the roof which can happen on K9s.

 

I notice it's had the offside windscreen replaced though.

 

 

Two flashes are fine in being historically correct if you have the reference..

 

Lizzie, I think you may have missed the tongue in cheek nature of my comment... ;)

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Just to test your powers of observation with respect to the previous photo of the L.A.D vehicles. The K9 has both a REME arm of service flash (with white band and words 'LAD REME 2 R Tanks' and a Royal Signals one! Yes, that was the LAD FFW truck, complete with a real RS signals person though can't see the antenna mounts/connections nor can I remember without checking, which side of the truck all the antenna gubbins was. I'm almost sure I've seen it on either side. There seems to be 'something' on the cab roof, whatever that may be?

 

Lizzie, Ive been looking at the picture of the K9 and it seems to me that the marking on the near side is not the blue/white of a signals flash but possibly a red over blue and Lion, I may be imagining it but there is a slightly lighter patch on the top section, so it may be the HQ Egypt & Mediterranean Command flash you suggested for my K9. If the vehicle had been recently transferred it may account for the change in markings on the second photo.

 

PT

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It's definitely different on the second photo but looks as though the O/S flash is the same while the N/S flash has been changed to the Tripolitania Barbary dhow Lizzie uses as her avatar. I can only see two tones in the first image but that may just be my eyes.

 

They've painted the O/S screen frame as well.

 

Lizzie, I meant to say you can get software to clean all that dust and speckles etc. up, or often there are plugins or filters in image editing software such as Photoshop to do it.

Edited by Sean N

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Lizzie, Ive been looking at the picture of the K9 and it seems to me that the marking on the near side is not the blue/white of a signals flash but possibly a red over blue and Lion, I may be imagining it but there is a slightly lighter patch on the top section, so it may be the HQ Egypt & Mediterranean Command flash you suggested for my K9. If the vehicle had been recently transferred it may account for the change in markings on the second photo.

 

PT

It is ..... perplexing! It will not be an HQ Egypt flash .... surely not, as that Command dissolved 1956 and our photo is between Aug 1959 and Oct 1961, Tripolitania District.

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It's definitely different on the second photo but looks as though the O/S flash is the same while the N/S flash has been changed to the Tripolitania Barbary dhow Lizzie uses as her avatar. I can only see two tones in the first image but that may just be my eyes.

 

Lizzie, I meant to say you can get software to clean all that dust and speckles etc. up, or often there are plugins or filters in image editing software such as Photoshop to do it.

 

I'm still erring on the side of an RS flash, even if I've barked up the wrong tree! :-D

 

Software, Sean? You're right, thanks for tip. I have Photoshop Elements and have wasted so much time with the tedious 'touch up small/large flaws' tool, 'sample this area first" then blob onto the speck and inadvertently, remove someone's head to see it reappear top left in the sky area! :laugh: Isn't there a 'magic button' that in a flash will eliminate fluff, dust and sandstorms? I do like the authenticity of the original though I know it would not do for publishing!!!!

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