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LarryH57

RAF Airfield Follow Me Vehicles in WW2 ?

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Bowser1107,

Thats a very interesting point concerning RAF Grimsby that you made. I wonder if it was needed because the airfield received more diverted aircraft than normal? If an RAF aircraft was shot to bits and had wounded crew members might it divert to the first airfield the pilot saw after crossing the coast. Perhaps other coastal airfields along the East Coast need investigating for similar vehicles?  

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2 minutes ago, ploughman said:

Film clip not available to me on that link.

Would not run for me also.  However - I was more interested in the written comments.  

 
As ever, nobody will have evidence the "Follow-me"  Tilley  WASN'T there - there are no records or photographs of things that never happened.
 
You can Google up the diorama images ,  however -
 
To me  - it lacks the all important veracity.  Possibly it was there late in WW2 when the USAAF  aircraft were returning damaged to Satellite / ELG's inc. RAF bases, could be just something cobbled together for their benefit  ?  as their Jeep procedures would be well known.

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Here is the partial photo of the 'Flying Control Section' taken just before the end of the war . . . .

 

45606595401_6251fc34b7_z.jpg

I hope it is clear enough  . . . .

 

Edited by Bowser1107

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Well - yes  , defo vehicle with STOP illuminated box , so can only assume the rear is  "Follow-me"  ,  looks like Larry has a good lead & much more research starting ,,

Edited by ruxy
spelin
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14 hours ago, ruxy said:

Well - yes  , defo vehicle with STOP illuminated box , so can only assume the rear is  "Follow-me"  ,  looks like Larry has a good lead & much more research starting ,,

I'm not sure you can make the assumption a vehicle displaying a stop sign in a top box when viewed from the from necessarily had a follow me board on the rear but unfortunately the posted photo is no longer available for scrutiny. I have, as I’m sure many others have looked at many photos online in personal collections and books on the R.A.F yet remarkably no wartime recollection of air or ground crew using such a dedicated marked vehicle has come to light nor a clear dated image emerged.

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38 minutes ago, ted angus said:

The picture is no longer visible ???? Ted

At the time of my post the image was not available Ted

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I have no idea why the photo should have disappeared but here it is again . . .

45606595401_6251fc34b7_z.jpg

interview with ground staff in Flying Control . . . .

45606666601_8269a5648c_z.jpg

 

I hope this helps

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The photograph well substantiated to me, although a bit subjective , despite no photograph actually showing  "Follow-me"  .  The fact of a group photograph of  'Flying Control staff' posed alongside their equipment, caravan and Tilly.  However I do think this Follow-me Tilly is a rare example and probably to meet a local need.  The book page - far better evidence.

                   However my RAF interest is field (concrete) fortifications and any landing field buildings.  Of particular interest are Satellite and ELG's in Northern England and Southern Scotland - very little remaining and hardly documented , what is - often not accurate.   RAF vehicles  -  just my general interest in British military.

Several weeks ago , I made a  "field"  inspection and was very fortunate to interview and question the land owner , bit of a recalcitrant (in her 80's , so young girl during WW2).  However I received much first hand info. that goes against what is stated on the internet and within books.  I had the wrong approach , however new info. to be given to somebody who has a superior interview technique, so he starts with a better lead-in.

 

Edited by ruxy
spelin

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12 hours ago, Bowser1107 said:

I have no idea why the photo should have disappeared but here it is again . . .

45606595401_6251fc34b7_z.jpg

interview with ground staff in Flying Control . . . .

45606666601_8269a5648c_z.jpg

 

I hope this helps

That is interesting the vehicle used being a Standard Van or Car, Light Utility with flat body sides canvas top and sides similar to this one  The_Women%27s_Auxiliary_Air_Force_%2C_1939-1945._CH8331.jpg

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There is another 'angle' on 'Follow Me' vehicles in that in the early war period the RAF probably could not spare a vehicle to be painted yellow and used just for one purpose. So such vehicles, that existing in small numbers may only have appeared later in the war. Painted yellow, the Tilly suggests it was used within 12 months prior to VE-Day. Bryan aka RAFM may have the date of the AMO that ordered the tops of RAF vehicles to be painted yellow if they were driven on airfields, which I guess was mid 1944. Was it about that time that the RAF Grimsby MT got busy with their yellow 'Stop' Tilly?

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On 10/29/2018 at 1:06 PM, LarryH57 said:

 Bryan aka RAFM may have the date of the AMO that ordered the tops of RAF vehicles to be painted yellow if they were driven on airfields, which I guess was mid 1944.

Sorry, been on holiday. AMO A731 of 3rd October 1940 states "tractors and machinery likely to be used on landing grounds" to be painted all over "Bright Orange". Vehicles temporarily used on landing grounds but not painted are to have a white sheet fixed over the bonnet.

AMO A486 of 25th May 1944 cancels A731/40 and instead confines the the bright colour (now clarified as Orange 33A/125) to the top surfaces of vehicles.

 

Both AMOs also state that such vehicles should carry the double disc in orange on a mast so they can be easily seen from a cockpit and any part of the airfield, something the "yellow peril" doesn't have. 

Not wanting to sound antagonistic, but unless that account was written down at the time, I'd take it with a pinch of salt as I've encountered far too many instances of the memory being at fault. I'm not saying the vehicle wasn't used at a pinch to help visiting (American) aircraft not used to RAF procedures, but I have found a slightly more rational reason for it's existence.

I quote from Action Stations Revisited, Vol 6 by Tim Mclelland: "From early 1942, Gee, Walker &Slater Ltd had been involved in extedning runways 18-36 to 2,000 yards and 12-30 to 1,400 yards across the A16." (my emphasis).

I find it more likely that this vehicle (like the fire one earlier in the post) was used to stop the traffic on the A16 while take off and landing operations were being undertaken.

Edited by RAFMT
spellling

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RAF during WW2 did in fact 'taxi' under prop. aircraft on public highways to what are at best described as  "scatter fields".   Obviously they would have used escort / control vehicles.

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Not quite the same but during a Battle of Britain Air Show at RAF Debded (Saturday 19th September 1953 - I have the program) I remember being followed around the apron by a Hastings taxiing under its own power with spectators just casually making way for it. I don’t recall any vehicle or RAF personnel marshalling this aircraft or requesting clear passage for it just occasionally a head out of the cockpit – true  

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I certainly dont want to get into any arguments about this but how many photos have you seen of ground crew vehicles  . . . 

" to be painted all over "Bright Orange". Vehicles temporarily used on landing grounds but not painted are to have a white sheet fixed over the bonnet."

I would argue very few. There have been many discussions concerning camouflage of RAF vehicles over the years on numerous forums but I have never heard of this AMO before. I have a vast collection of book concerning Bomber Command with countless photos of groundcrew vehicles and I have not come across any with the colour scheme mentioned. It has been said that  . . . . 

   Quote:            "I have, as I’m sure many others have looked at many photos online in personal collections and books on the R.A.F yet remarkably no wartime recollection of air or ground crew using such a dedicated marked vehicle has come to light nor a clear dated image emerged."

It must be said that the AMO directive concerning 'Orange' painted vehicles' is a prime example of this . . . .

Although its has been many years since I carried out my interviews, its been even longer since the war ended, I tend to believe something from those that were there. YES memories do fade and details are not explicit but if we dont believe what we are told then you cast doubt on everything anybody tells you. To many people these days want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and without such want to discard any info.

I wrote about the extension to runway 03, probably a quote from my book  so I am fully aware of the issues it raised.

From another interview I was told the following  . . . 

45585604012_eae5e6b843_z.jpg

Also . . . 

"The extension didn't help the time keeping of the Lincolnshire Road Car bus company's service between Grimsby and Louth. On occasions when the Lancasters used the 03 end of the runway for taking off, a long line of traffic would form as the squadron taxied round and aircraft waited for their green light. Local people would walk or cycle to the barriers to watch and wave the bombers off ".

 

I have no doubt RAFMT believes the AMO's issued but we all know things were not always implemented immediately. Although I have seen evidence of the 1944 directive of Yellow top surfaces I have  NEVER seen 'Orange' overall ????

To say that the Yellow Peril wasnt used for the purpose it was painted for when I have heard it from the 'horses mouth' and to imply it was only used to man the crossing on the occasions when the squadron used that One particular runway seems to me, ridiculous.

Edited by Bowser1107

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Bowser, I'm not saying these people are wrong, but my experience has taught me to take these things with a pinch of salt until verified by a period source, or multiple independent memories. I mean, we're still waiting to see this squadron of Spitfires buried in Burma ;) I apologise if my previous post offended, but to be fair I specifically did not dismiss the idea it could be used for escorting visiting American bombers; the RAF had a standard procedure for what to do on landing so it would seem odd that this one station needed to do things differently. Unless it was used to escort those aircraft being sent to the southern hard-standings that would have to cross the Cheapside road? If I were to concede to the statements you have presented we would still need to acknowledge that this is an oddity and that it was not universal or even widely adopted. 

As for colours, first off as Ted said earlier, whilst the orders stated orange the colour more usually seen is actually yellow (the later colour used on vehicle tops being Golden Yellow on the BS381 chart) probably because at the same time aircraft were receiving a yellow outer ring to the roundel - two birds one stone sort of situation. An example would be the Morris light recce in the Night Bombers video posted earlier on in this thread (unless I'm getting my threads crossed again). As for photos - how many photos have you seen of vehicles that would be covered by the 1940 AMO? Me, I can honestly say not very many. It would largely be Directorate of Works and civilian contractors, that sort of work - not the usual refuellers or bomb trolley tractors which should be going around the outside of the field (and later around the peri track).I have to dig out the photo of a Fordson N clearly showing the double disc (colour open to interpretation) I do however have a few albums in the RAF Museum collection lined up to view that look like they might cover these sorts of subjects, so I'll be sure to report back on here.

You are right that much has been written online about RAF colour schemes, unfortunately a lot of it is written from hearsay, and we are lucky to have people on here who have spent much time on researching the subject and putting the record straight; paving the way for the rest of us to have discussions like these. I consider myself very fortunate to be in the position where I am actually being paid to undertake this research. Who knows what we might find as we go forward, I mean we are a far cry from the "All RAF vehicles were Blue-Grey" days now :)

 

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.Re-reading AMO  A731 of 1940  the all over orange is covered in para 1 & para 2 works and contractors tractors and machinery. para 3 covers prime movers operating on the landing ground and these require the double disc.  Attached are the earliest shots I have of the double disc, preceding the subject AMO by in the 56 sqn shot 15 months.     regarding the yellow v orange conundrum; AMO A 897 of 1944 is about vehicle painting - para 12 draws attention to AMO A 486 0f 44 as amended by AMO A518 of 44 in that upper surfaces of certain vehicles is to be yellow- when in fact the actual AMOs state 33A 125 Orange  ??  Ted   ps I bet it was all written by Officers !!  

 

30 Nov 39.jpg

56 sqn uk aug 1939.jpg

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I remember Ted posted this photo on a related post on RAF Camo a while ago. I guess it's orange to comply with AMO A731 of 3rd October 1940, especially useful as there appears to be a genuine mist in the background.

However, there is a danger that we might get off topic, so the search is on for that elusive photo of a WW2 RAF vehicle saying Follow Me on it!

 

Orange Contractors Roller.jpg

Edited by LarryH57
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Just one last meander before heading back on topic.

With regards to the photos of the double discs pre-dating the AMO - It is something I missed off my previous post but meant to write, is that my research seems to indicate that it was fairly common for something to be in practice already (so it might be in an AP, or have been handed down through command or group orders etc.) and the AMO is laid down later to make it formal.

 

We can go back on topic now.

Still keeping an eye out.

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Yes  the AMO catching up with earlier instructions was something I used to tell those that believed the RAF was blue grey until mid 1941 !   Anyway here is a shot from St Mawgan which appears on the Control Tower website. Its dated 1946, the station was a Ferry Command unit throughout the war and into 1946 So reading an outline history, I would say a constant stream of aircraft arriving both from overseas and even more arriving for onward departure to overseas units. So lots of unfamiliar crews.. Would this Stop/follow me have been in service pre VE day  I would say yes but maybe not in this colour scheme ?? 

Ted

St Mawgan.jpg

Edited by ted angus

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2 hours ago, ted angus said:

Yes  the AMO catching up with earlier instructions was something I used to tell those that believed the RAF was blue grey until mid 1941 !   Anyway here is a shot from St Mawgan which appears on the Control Tower website. Its dated 1946, the station was a Ferry Command unit throughout the war and into 1946 So reading an outline history, I would say a constant stream of aircraft arriving both from overseas and even more arriving for onward departure to overseas units. So lots of unfamiliar crews.. Would this Stop/follow me have been in service pre VE day  I would say yes but maybe not in this colour scheme ?? 

Ted

St Mawgan.jpg

Be definitive show a photo of the back of the vehicle or its pure speculation yet again

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On that score - Prestwick would need to be investigated , however it was probably not directly under  RAF control  -  owners / contractors to the RAF  =  Scottish Aviation.   Of greater need would be the Satellites used for aircraft storage and used by ferry pilots, again not directly under RAF control -  Beaverbrook's  MAP had ownership.  Often just a single grass strip , aircraft hidden under trees & nets.

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