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Braillescaledave

RAF Militant.....or not?

Question

A question for those in the know....

 

Did the RAF ever have any AEC militants on strength?

I ask because wandering through the AEC Militant thread I noticed a restored 'knocker'(?) Ops Caravan with 'RAF Geil'n' (RAF Geilenkirchen) on the front. The marking is absolutely correct for a vehicle, in RAFG (Or 2TAF, BAFO etc.), and based at that station, from the end of WW2 to, roughly, the 60's...

Aand, there is a FV reference (FV11022) for a 'Truck, 10ton, Heavy Duty, Cargo, RAF, 6x6, AEC'......

 

I know the RAF had a number (IIRC, 50) of HP aircraft refuellers, and some HTP (rocket fuel) refuellers on the Miltant Mk1 chassis. And of course there is the perpetual rumour of the Militant Mk3 Medium Recovery on charge in RAFG.

 

TBH, I would be surprised if they did, seeing as how the Leyland 19H seemed to be to the RAF what the Militant was to the Army, but you never know do you. After all I never thought the RAF had Commer Q4 tippers and yet there were two on charge in Aden, and don't even ask about the Stalwarts...

 

(Edited for spelling....)

 

Edited by Braillescaledave

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Hi Dave,  Let's address the perpetual rumour- I saw 2 Mk 3 Militant Rcy in RAF service 71 AN 57 was with Deployment Flight ( harrier force) Gutesloh, the second one was with 431 MU to cover the clutch area. I saw both during the period Jan 79 to jan 82. There may have been more as they were replaced by Crusaders with EKA gear - there were 4 of these, one for definite with the Nuke convoy which I saw many times  and def one at 431 MU the latter I saw on my later germany tour- I don't know who had the other 2.

Turning to the AEC Militant-in Pat Ware's book covering FV vehicles , FV11*** covers Militants and Mandators, FV 11022 is I believe the AEC Mandator HD cargo 6x4   I think 6x6 is a mis- recording of info- lots of errors in the book  HD cargo was the description used to describe the warhead transporters,   . 

As regards the preserved Gut example I am scratching my head  you say served from end WW2  that is far too early for a Militant   regards Ted.

p s 

 picture courtesy the MT drivers site taken at Gut families day 1983 ish.

 

mtveh130.jpg

Edited by ted angus

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Hi Ted,

You came up trumps again!

 I managed to get hold of a BW Models 'Milly 3' on the off chance one of my oppo's was correct- he was certain that there was a knackered Milly 3 recovery around the back of MT when he was in Gut (1985-ish).

I think they must have had Crusader recoverys in the UK too. The mobile radar units certainly had Crusader Tractors. 

 

Also interesting in that phot is the Explorer, I thought the RAF only had them in the middle-east, still another colour scheme I can add to the list.

 

The Militant Mk1 Ops Caravan I mentioned was a preserved one with the RAF Geilenkirchen marking on. Sorry, I should have made myself clearer- I actually meant that any vehicle in RAFG would have a station marking on in that period. Not that a knocker would have been in service that early.

 

You mention Pat Ware- the info I had was from Les Freathy's cold war book, obviously the error was repeated. I think I need to organise myself a trip to Hendon (or Kew)

 

I've been reading up on AEC lorries recently- still not clear where the Mandator range ended and the Mammoth Major range began!  Particularly as they shared cabs!  So now I'm really confused! I'm wondering if the Mandator you mention has the MkV cab. Later nuclear convoys that I recall used Mammoth Majors with armoured cabs. 

 

Still thanks for your help, Ted.

 

Regards, Dave

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1 hour ago, Braillescaledave said:

 Later nuclear convoys that I recall used Mammoth Majors with armoured cabs. 

 

Hi Dave,

You are bang on about the nuclear transporters being Mammoth Majors, they were Ergo' cabs which were then armoured. I recall them being Leyland badged and not AEC, so that would date them. I witnessed them being dismantled and cut up.

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Hi Richard there were at least 2 possibly 3 batches of the AEC/ Leyland HD Cargo, the attached is indeed AEC  Mammoth major  with just a small LBL badge, there was an 81AE** batch which appears in press reports  but the up -armoured front end has obliterated the makers badge.   Is it possible to get access to a correct FV numerical list ?

Dave re Explorers- when I joined (1964) the RAF still had the responsibility for recovery of its vehicles, selected stations /units had an Explorer on call 24/7 to cover a predetermined area, I think requests were routed via the ops room at the big cop shop at Rudloe Manor.  in addition 71 MU crash and smash had 06AH78.  known units : Chivenor had 07 AH 49 which was painted yellow as it also had an airfield crash role, Stafford had 07 AH 39 operated by 2 MT,  Coltishall had one    in Holland  RAF Eindoven had 08 AH 19, in Germany Laarbruch had one but no reg known but I have a pic. 

Finally re the Militant  I wonder if the owner/ restorer is trying to play the part of the Matador used at Gielen'k  by the MTSS LAD ?

regards TED

0561a.jpg

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5 minutes ago, ted angus said:

Hi Richard there were at least 2 possibly 3 batches of the AEC/ Leyland HD Cargo, the attached is indeed AEC  Mammoth major  with just a small LBL badge, there was an 81AE** batch which appears in press reports  but the up -armoured front end has obliterated the makers badge.   Is it possible to get access to a correct FV numerical list ?

Hi Ted,

This could be going back to  25-30 years ago. I do recollect having to get in one as it had been parked on an area where we tested winches and I had to get in through the roof hatch. The doors looked normal (as your photo) until you opened them! The front of the one in your photo looks too 'normal AEC', I thought these ones were a bit more rugged armour look, but still recall the British Leyland badge and I'm sure a Mammoth Major one. Mind can play tricks though! It is not a vehicle that you find many pictures of.

Regarding RAF Explorers, some were transfered into army service and I recall at least one having a new BT registration on transfer. You could always tell an RAF one as the inside of the cab was painted Eau-de-Nil colour.

regards Richard

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17 hours ago, Richard Farrant said:

Hi Ted,

This could be going back to  25-30 years ago. I do recollect having to get in one as it had been parked on an area where we tested winches and I had to get in through the roof hatch. The doors looked normal (as your photo) until you opened them! The front of the one in your photo looks too 'normal AEC', I thought these ones were a bit more rugged armour look, but still recall the British Leyland badge and I'm sure a Mammoth Major one. Mind can play tricks though! It is not a vehicle that you find many pictures of.

Regarding RAF Explorers, some were transfered into army service and I recall at least one having a new BT registration on transfer. You could always tell an RAF one as the inside of the cab was painted Eau-de-Nil colour.

regards Richard

We (RCT) had two ex RAF Explorers - 43BT03 and 43BT27 - the inside of the cabs painted Eau de Nil as stated by Richard. 43BT03 was still painted RAF blue grey when we got it from the vehicle depot. We ran it for a while with the original colour until the annual REME inspection where it was fault coded for being the wrong colour. We repainted it with IRR green the same day so that the inspector's report could be marked up as RDI (rectified during inspection), RDI's not appearing in the final report which judged the unit's efficiency rating.

 

Regards - David

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My Explorer was ex RAF Kinloss where it served as a recovery and snow plough.  It was originally RAF blue, then airfield yellow and finally IRR when transferred to the REME.

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On 9/17/2018 at 5:47 PM, Braillescaledave said:

I've been reading up on AEC lorries recently- still not clear where the Mandator range ended and the Mammoth Major range began!  Particularly as they shared cabs!  So now I'm really confused! I'm wondering if the Mandator you mention has the MkV cab. Later nuclear convoys that I recall used Mammoth Majors with armoured cabs. 

Regards, Dave

Mandator and Mammoth both date back to the 30s but while Mandator was a 4 wheeler Mammoth could be a 6 or 8 wheeler including  the twin steer Mammoth Minor.

Edited by radiomike7

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        I've found 57 RAF registrations for Explorers, including one transferred from the army, and a similar amount of Pioneers in the VRNRAF document. So given that some Pioneers would have been replaced by I should be surprised if there were a few dotted about. It makes sense for examples to be based at MDA's (Master Diversion Airfields) and MEDA's (Master Emergency Diversion Airfields) like Kinross, for runway clearance.

 

The other issue this doc has thrown up is:

'00AJ23 to 00AJ98: AEC 10 ton 6x6 Signals Truck'

 

And thanks to Radiomike7 for clearing up the Mandator/ Mammoth Major thing. Who'd have though it was just axles....

One thing though...

What about the Mercury and Mustang?

 

 

 

Edited by Braillescaledave

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22 minutes ago, Braillescaledave said:

     One thing though...

What about the Mercury and Mustang?

Different weight class four wheelers.

David

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54 minutes ago, David Herbert said:

Different weight class four wheelers.

David

Different weight class yes but Mustang was a 6x2  Chinese Six.

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I have a vague idea you could tell an RAF Pioneer because it was fitted with a cab heater

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On 9/18/2018 at 8:43 PM, john1950 said:

I have a vague idea you could tell an RAF Pioneer because it was fitted with a cab heater

I presume you mean Explorer and mine certainly had a cab heater/demister.  The RAF ones were also fitted for vacuum brakes with a tank just inboard of the offside rear wheels, you can just see the back of the tank in this photo:

https://ccmv.aecsouthall.co.uk/p57805472/h8f5d48b#h8f5d48b

Scan0005.jpg

Edited by radiomike7
Found a better photo.
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On 9/17/2018 at 3:48 PM, ted angus said:

Turning to the AEC Militant-in Pat Ware's book covering FV vehicles , FV11*** covers Militants and Mandators, FV 11022 is I believe the AEC Mandator HD cargo 6x4   I think 6x6 is a mis- recording of info- lots of errors in the book  HD cargo was the description used to describe the warhead transporters,   . 

 

 

Hi Ted,

I'm showing FV 11022 as a mk1 Militant 6x6 RAF, do you concur?

Mike

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Hi Mike, I don't know what to think; HD cargo was the named used to describe nuclear warhead/weapons transporters, the AEC models in service for many years were I think we have now established 6x4 Mammoth Majors. If there was a Militant then it may have been a prototype ??  I found on the net an FoI question re FV numbers HMG replythey do not have a list of FV numbers for vehicles only spare parts. I wonder if Bovingdon have a list- does anyone have contact there . regards Ted.

 

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From TrucksPlanet.com:

The main post-war military AEC truck was the new cabover range Militant with military name FV-11000. In May 1951 the first 10-ton truck O859 Mk-I (FV-11008) 6x4 was presented. It has a GVW 20.7 tons, was equipped with a 6-cylinder overhead valve diesel engine A223 (11,3 l, 144 hp), 5 - speed transmission with optional 2-speed gearbox and a double main gear, pneumatic brakes and a spring suspension. The variant O860 Mk-I with a winch and 6x6 wheel arrangement also was producing. The next versions were producing: 
FV 11001 / 11002 : Ballast Tractor 10 ton General Service Medium/Heavy Anti-Aircraft 6x4 / 6x6.
FV 11003 : Truck 10 ton General Service Crane Bridging 6x4 or 6x6.
FV 11004 : Truck 10 ton General Service Tipper ( End Only ) 6x4.
FV 11005 : Truck 10 ton General Service Tipper ( Three Way ) 6x4.
FV 11006 / 11009 : Truck 10 ton General Service Fuel Tanker 2500 Gallon 6x4.
FV 11007 / 11008 : Truck 10 ton General Service Cargo (14 ft / 16 ft) 6x4.
FV 11010 : Tractor 10 ton General Service for Semi-Trailer 6x6.
FV 11011 : Truck 10 ton General Service Crane Missile 6x6.
FV 11012 : Truck 10 ton General Service Cargo Dropside 6x4.
FV 11013 : Truck 10 ton General Service Crane General Purpose 6x4.
FV 11014 : Truck 10 ton General Service Excavator 6x4 or 6x6.
FV 11015 : Truck 10 ton General Service for 20 ton Trailer 6x6.
FV 11016 : Truck 10 ton General Service Cargo ( 18 ft Dropside ) 6x6 Front hook 7 ton Winch.
FV 11017 : Truck 10 ton General Service Self Propelled Launcher 6x4.
FV 11021 : Truck 10 ton Tipping Platform, Self Loading, RE 6x6.
FV 11022 : Truck 10 ton Heavy Duty ( RAF ) 6x6.
FV 11031 : Tractor 10 ton General Service Light Anti-Aircraft 6x6.

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Considering my original question it might be worth summarising what there is.

We have the following evidence for the possibility of the RAF operating Mk1 Militants:-

 

Source: British Military Trucks of the Cold War by Les Freathy

A FV designator (FV11022) for 'Truck, 10 ton, Heavy Duty Cargo, RAF, 6x6, AEC' 

    Given that the RAF seemed to prefer vacuum braking, it is feasible that there would be a variant for the RAF.

 

Source: VRNRAF Document by Unknown

A series of census numbers (00AJ23-98) for 'AEC, 10 ton, 6x6, Signals Truck'

  As far as I'm aware the only 6x6's AEC produced were the O854 and the Militant series.

A series  of census numbers (35AL56-59) for 'AEC, 10 ton, 6x4, 3-way Dump Truck'

 

Source: MilMod kits

A census number (35AL55) for a Militant Mk1, 10 ton, GS, FV11022.

   MilMod kits are basically remastered BW Models kits in resin. As far as I know, Barry Welby was rigorous in his research.

 

On the other hand...

 

The 'Knocker' was a unmistakable vehicle, but no photo has so far turned up, nor any recollection. That being said, and as Ted pointed out upthread, 'Heavy Duty Cargo' was a euphemism for nuclear weapons. And the nuclear weapons transport convoys were possibly the least photographed of all military vehicles. The few pics that have turned up have been of the escort vehicles and crews. 

Even more so, there is no entry in any RAF Vehicle Data book, that I have come across, for the Militant Mk1. There are entries for the two tanker variants the RAF used appear.

Still doesn't explain the census numbers for the signals trucks,  but as I'm not sure of the provenance of the VRNRAF document, so it probably shouldn't be relied upon. The dump truck reference could easily be explained as the RAF ACB certainly had AEC 'Dumptruks'. 

Similarly, Although I have a high regard for Barry Welby- I do not know what his references were and therefore can't rely on him.

 

So, in conclusion, I think it was unlikely that the RAF had any Militant Mk1s, other than the two tankers.

 

Of course, now I've said that someone will produce a photograph.....

 

 

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Just found some info about nuclear weapons convoys- depending on what weapon was being transported, they would either be Scammell Explorer Recovery's towing a huge, enclosed and air-conditioned 2 axle trailer. Or specially modified Leyland Hippos 19H's.

 

So if you have a Explorer that was based at 94MU RAF Barham, or 92MU RAF Faldingworth, then chances are they took part in nuclear convoys!

 

No mention of any Militants....

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Firstly Thanks RadioMike for the list.   Still don't know what to make of it unlessit was a Nuke transport proto ??

 Dave,  BW was Barry Wright; yes his research was pretty well spot one as he was in partnership with the late Mick Bell in much of his research and with Mick also producing an outstanding range of 1/76th drawings. You might know Dave that Mick was at one time an RAF Engineering officer. Sadly he was taken before his time to cancer. Sorry I digress.  The 35 AL reg block area contains mostly ACB  and subsequent tippers,   I have the vast majority of BW's decal sets; 3 of the 4 AEC tippers 35 AL 56,7 & 9  are in one set- my guess somewhere in the gulf area or nuclear tests. However there is no 35  AL 55 in either his RAF set or his army sets that cover the militants. I will be bold here and say that MilMod have taken certain ex BW kits and stretched the various versions and accompanying decals  into Fantasy land !   So I am very suspicious.   I agree with your conclusion Dave other than I think the 4 tippers may well have been transferred to the RAF from the Army ?     Turning to Nuke transport, I have seen several Barnham articles and mention of the Explorers but never saw one in such use; The Hippos on the other hand with their huge box like trailers were frequent visitors to Scampton  as we were still the deterrent when I arrived there plus convoys often called into Scampton en route back to Faldingworth which was on our doorstep.  The Hippos carried 2 rectangular 500 gal water tanks  as ballast and as a supply for the Morris LD convoy tenders.  

 That said  I too hope someone comes up with photographs !! Ted

Edited by ted angus
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Ted, 

Suspect you may be right- They're listing a Foden 'F20' 3000gal refueller in RAF livery, (which as far as I know wasn't even a civilian refueller) as well as an Abion WD/HD 10 ton GS. Both census numbers are in the middle of batches of other vehicles within the 'AB' range. They've always listed the Nubian TFA 6x6 5 ton GS, which I didn't think got into production, let alone the RAF.

 

Most of the stuff for the nuke convoys came from RAF Historical Society journal 35. Re-reading it the Airship who was reminiscing said that the Pantechnicon trailer could be towed by the Hippos, and Faldingworth often did that, whereas Barnham used the Scammell for the trailers.  

 

 

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2052013980_JasperWaiteN-S.thumb.JPG.8dff42a68de14ed007d16a1a80953d0b.JPG1300020444_JasperWaiteO-S.thumb.JPG.d7d6460786b1d1d10bc1d6c1dc328c9b.JPG

I believe this is the RAF Gelsenkirchen Beast being mentioned earlier on. Seen here at a show on the old Kemble airfield, Gloucestershire 2010 or 11.  Belonged to a Jasper Waite at the time.  Used to be a battery charging unit when in service, but converted to show accommodation now.  It's quite neat how the sides pull out to extend the body width.

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I've only just noticed, there's no spare wheel carrier behind the cab, and the air filter boxes have been modified to sit on the cab roof

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