Jump to content
LarryH57

RAF Vehicle Identity Required

Recommended Posts

Piggy-back in place of towing maybe due to narrow track of trailer with a high centre of gravity equals unstable tow on roads as shown in photo's - just a guess and a little experience of gensets 

On 29/01/2018 at 11:56 AM, utt61 said:

Civvy reg, so a preserved vehicle? I wonder where it is now...

 

22 hours ago, ted angus said:

Greece 1941  211 sqn, carrying those single axle generators seems to be common practise for some reason, incompatible towing eyes  weak towing eyes  ???  don't really know 

TED

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, ted angus said:

Greece 1941  211 sqn, carrying those single axle generators seems to be common practise for some reason, incompatible towing eyes  weak towing eyes  ???  don't really know 

TED

I would think it likely the reason for carrying the generators was to reduce damage to the electrical equipment. I recollect reading somewhere of the damage sustained towing genny trailers over rough terrain, may have been in a REME report. The ride on the lorry would have been better than bouncing around behind it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Hi Richard  yes sounds good, but piggy back like that whilst protecting certain items caused other damage.; Unless the tank was drained fuel used to slop out of the fuel filler and in hot climates would attack the insulation on HT leads etc, and unless the nose of the tow arm was raised and secured on to a bulk of timber the shank of the tow eyes would bend and that meant towing would be out of the question.   This  has been a most interesting thread.  regards TED

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is another photograph taken of the RAF in the Western Desert, 1942. This time though, the unit is a Mobile Hospital, 22 MRS. Any thoughts on what MRS stands for please, and make and model of the motorcycle?

John.

5a75eec313921_No22MRSmotorcycle.thumb.jpg.4038fc7fe88f1c81f3dec126b999b2c0.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could the car behind be a Humber Heavy Utility.

Edited by john1950
edit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The motorcycle is a Norton 16H. Quite an early one as it has the centrally mounted speedo and even has a rubber on the gearchange, so probably pre-war.

The lamp reflector has rotated a lot as the blacked-out half is now vertical but bearing in mind that the small pilot bulb opening should be below the main aperture, it had clearly already turned a bit before they painted the blackout !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks for the motorcycle ID. I have been looking at the rider's battledress too - it appears to have the red eagle arm badge, so I am assuming it is Army issue khaki.

I don't have any other photographs of the units other vehicles, but there is the unit nameboard.

John.

 

 

No 22 MRS.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When my father was up in the dessert he had an accident involving a pillar drill. He went to see an M.O. I wonder if it was this unit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With reference to what MRS stands for, I can only draw on my (army) background, but whilst in training we used to go to the medical reception station for most ailments and were referred to the local military hospital if more than first aid was rquired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John1950 : it does not say on the back of the 22 MRS photograph were it was taken, but others by the same photographer were taken at Gambut (in Libya, east of Tobruk).

Ex-boy : Medical Reception Station does sound promising, many thanks.

John.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds the right area, He was on desert salvage before transfering to RAF Air sea rescue after the retreat East. When the Army was withdrawing through their camp heading back eventually to El Alamain an Officer came out of his tent waving his pistol shouting (I will shoot the first man who runs away) My father was made up to Corporal for driving a Clark tractor towing a fuel bowser back. He said, well I was not going to walk if I could help it. I think their C/O was called Hillman. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re 22 MRS     OK under command of Air HQ Western Desert 22 Medical Receiving Station, in July 1942 located at Gambut,  I next track it down to jun 44 part of Desert Air Force HQ Vasto  at Foggia but it appears that all the RAF MRSs have been retitled Mobile Field Hospitals.   

 

 Ex Boy - I was a patiant at the Medical Reception Station Redford Barracks early 2003  under Col McDonald ortho surgeon  cracking chap!! TED

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/29/2018 at 11:49 AM, john_g_kearney said:

Thanks for the brake info, Ted.

Interesting photograph you have posted - especially to see the generator in the loadbed rather than being towed. The photographs of the Photographic Section in Egypt / Libya showed generators in lorry loadbeds, but I thought this was because the lorries already had a towed load in the form of the mobile darkrooms.

John.

Maybe extra ballast on the drive axle? Also makes things easier if an unplanned tow/extraction is needed perhaps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks for the information on 22 MRS, Ted - I'll add it to my notes.

Re Hair Bear's comment about extra ballast on the drive axle (from the generator on the loadbed rather than the tow hook), traction does seem to have been an issue in the Western Desert. The photographs I have posted of Photographic Section of 285 Reconnaissance Wing show it using 6x4s as towing vehicles for mobile darkrooms in the desert, even though it had on strength a purpose-built towing vehicle in the form of a 4x2 Dennis AM 30/40 cwt.

John.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the peak in the original photograph is a building roof apex behind the aircraft. I think the vehicle is an Austin with a coachbuilt body.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A change of scene : this RAF CMP 15 cwt with the No 13 cab is serving as a hearse at Happy Valley, Hong Kong in 1945. The hand-tinting is, as far as I am aware, original.

John.

 

RAF Happy Valley 1945.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A real photo for sure but extensively colourised, in the same way that 'WW1 in Colour' on TV has been achieved. Notice too that some of the green on the drainpipe has flowed on to the ground 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, by no means colourised by an expert... The print itself does not appear to be painted. Is it the neg that is hand-tinted in these cases?

I am intrigued by the RAF blue. The photograph is dated 1945, and the Happy Valley location suggests late 1945 when the war was over. As far as I understand it, RAF blue was officially mandated for vehicles not until April 1946. So I reckon there are three possibilities as far as the photograph is concerned:

1) A senior airman died in late 1945, and it was decided to specially prepare a lorry for use as a hearse by obtaining blue paint locally. The photograph was hand-tinted in 1945 to reflect the actual colour of the lorry.

2) The lorry was in camouflage colours, but the photograph was hand-tinted in 1945 with the lorry in blue to make the photograph a bit more special.

3) The photograph was hand-tinted many decades after the event, and the lorry was made blue because the person who did it did not know any different.

Any thoughts please?

John.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My vote is number 3,  

 

 returning to the original picture with the Whitley do we have an approx date  TED.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whether it was 2 or 3, it was certainly tinted by somebody who wasn't there at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll vote for number 3 because many thousands of B&W prints were made in WW2 and most blokes didn't care or probably had not seen a colour photo before being sent out to the far east! All that mattered was having a last photo of poor old 'Taffy' who went all through the war only to die in late 1945. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you look closely the truck is actually painted with a two colour scheme, rendered in the photo as dark grey/earth and dark blue. I go for '3'.

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you are right, David. When I first looked, I thought the blue was inexpertly applied / badly faded, but on the cab roof in particular it does look like there were two colours on the original print.

John.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/4/2018 at 7:19 PM, ted angus said:

Re 22 MRS     OK under command of Air HQ Western Desert 22 Medical Receiving Station, in July 1942 located at Gambut,  I next track it down to jun 44 part of Desert Air Force HQ Vasto  at Foggia but it appears that all the RAF MRSs have been retitled Mobile Field Hospitals.   

 

 Ex Boy - I was a patiant at the Medical Reception Station Redford Barracks early 2003  under Col McDonald ortho surgeon  cracking chap!! TED

Hi Ted, I was a bit before you, as my MRS memories are from Arborfield, 1965/1967. I guess my memory was a bit hazy though, as Receiving instead of Reception appears to be the concensus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been wondering if we could narrow it down as to who this makeshift hearse could be for. Looking on the CWGC casualty database for known burials in the Happy Valley area of Hong Kong it draws up the following Commonwealth casualties who died in 1945/46: 

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2815624/sher-muhammad,-/

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2815585/weill,-leon/

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2815586/desai,-/

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/75196091/husain-ishaq,-/

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2815645/mcdonough,-albert-edward/

One of the above is a member of the Royal Indian Air Force, could it be him? 

I could of course be just clutching at straws and the casualty could have been buried elsewhere in Hong Kong. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×