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MarkV

WWI and interwar Vehicle Numbering

Question

Hello,

 

I am trying to come to grips with the numbering system seen painted on the sides or back of British Army staff cars, lorries, and armoured cars starting in WWI. Vehicles on the Western Front appear to have had numbers starting with "M^" followed by a three or four digit number, while those in the Middle East used "LC^" and then a three or four digit number.

 

1916-10-15BEFFranceNYTimesM227.jpg

 

 

1918ABTPalestine-WithLawrenceinArab.jpg

 

Based on old photos that I have come across, it appears that the "LC^" numbers remained on the vehicles in the Middle East for at most only a few years after the end of the war. The "M^" series appears to have carried on through the 1920's on vehicles based in Great Britain, though. Is this correct?

 

Did "M" and "LC" actually signify the theater of service or did these designations have some other meaning?

 

Is there a record somewhere of what types of vehicles had which numbers?

 

Is it possible to tell when a vehicle received its number, based on its place in the numerical sequence, or were these numbers issued in blocks or by some other arrangement?

 

Any help decoding this numbering system would be most welcome.

 

Thank you,

 

MarkV

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Hi Mark.

 

You have raised an interesting question! Tim (aka Great War Truck) another postcard collector, Alan, and I have had a look at them and not reached any firm conclusions although there are some clues. Tim knows far more than me and will undoubtably correct me and reply in detail. However, for the moment, this is what I believe.

 

Numbers starting 'S' are to be found on steam powered vehicles.

LC is India and 'L' Palestine.

 

Most wartime vehicles have a simple number which seems to have been allocated to the manufacturer to apply in batches. These appear to be random and I guess were issued with each order.

 

US Army vehicles follow a definate coding system where the initial number '4' indicates a GS vehicle and '8', an ambulance. There are others too. The suffix 'X' indicates taken up from civilian use.

 

I will nudge Tim for a proper answer for you. He is the historian, I just swing a spanner!

 

What is your particular interest by the way?

 

Cheers!

 

Steve

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Steve,

 

Thank you for your reply.

 

I am working with a few other interested folks to compile a listing of all of the Rolls Royce armoured cars and Rolls Royce tenders from this period. These "M^" and "LC^" numbers are often the only distinguishing features between cars that can be easily seen in the historic photographs.

 

So far I have not come across an "L^" numbered Rolls Royce. They all seem to be either "M^" or "LC^". Cars that were photographed in Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia (Iraq), and even Greece are seen with the "LC^" numbers. Of course some of the "LC^" numbered cars were transferred from the Middle East to India immediately after the war, so it would not surprise me to see a few cars there with the old numbering system on them, but so far no photos have turned up of an "LC^" Rolls Royce in India.

 

If you or your friend have any old photos of these cars that show numbers, I would certainly like to see them and add them to our list. The more numbers we have, the better understanding we will have of the system.

 

I am very eager to see what Tim has to say on the subject.

 

Thank you again,

 

MarkV

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Hi Mark.

 

How very interesting. We have always found the numbering a puzzle and I seem to have added more confusion already! Tim is at Bovington today to see the Holt Caterpillar Gun-tractor but will come back to you this evening, I expect.

 

Do you know anything about the base colours used in the Middle East please? Our next restoration project will be a Peerless three tonner, marked to represent one of those used in Mesopotamia but unfortunately, we have no evidence to suggest what colour it should be. We know that at the beginning of the War the European vehicles were grey with black lettering until the change to khaki-green in 1915. However, we have found no reference at all to the colours used elsewhere. Were they desert sand, grey or even green? We should love to know!

 

Cheers!

 

Steve

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I really don't think that this fascinating and well thought out question belongs in the "I may be stupid" section !

 

The "new" census number system seems to have commenced in 1933 but I can see no reference in the Chilwell B vehicle lists to vehicles already in service receiving numbers under the new system. Did they retain their existing numbers ?

 

...and if anyone can explain the later Interwar system for Egypt with western and arabic characters separated by a 'WD' then I'd be fascinated to know.

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As Steve has said, no one to our knowledge has a definitive explanation of the WW1 letter/numbering system. We've not yet come across, or found someone who has seen, a master list, although there are rumours the late Bart Vanderveen had one (but they may be getting muddled with later Chilwell lists).

 

This is my own take on things based on the photographic evidence seen, plus input from a chap in Australia who is also working on the subject. All open for debate!

 

First the prefixes:

 

"L", "LA" and "LC" appear to relate to vehicles used in the Mediterranean region and India - the 'L' being common to all of these.

 

"M" probably relates to the western front theatre of operations. (NB This series goes well beyond four digits - the highest so far is M70054 on a Sunbeam tourer staff car.)

 

"A", "LA", "RA" appear to relate to ambulances - the 'A' being the common factor.

 

"RA", "RC", "RL", "RLX" are probably specific to vehicles allocated to the Red Cross - the 'R' being the common factor.

 

"C", "LC" and "RC" relate in the main to cars of various types - the 'C' being the common factor. However, Ford model 'T's of various types would also seem to be included, plus armoured cars (in the "LC" series").

 

"S" appears to relate to steam vehicles.

 

"CV" appears to mean 'captured vehicle'.

 

"EFC" appears to mean 'Expeditionary Force Canteens'.

 

"BL" and "BUL" is probably 'Bulford'.

 

"NZ" is probably 'New Zealand'.

 

"D", "K", "PL" and "SR" are a bit of a mystery.

 

As Steve suggests, the numbers would have been issued in sequence. You may find several vehicles of the same type with consecutive numbers simply because they came off the production line together / were allocated to units at the same time. At this point it may be worth making the observation that it is unlikely each prefix had its own series of numbers starting at 0001. Some probably did. But most prefixes seem to be bolted onto a main number sequence.

 

With regards to the broad arrow. I don't believe this forms part of the serial number. There are standing orders saying that the arrow should be applied to the vehicle and by and large this seems to have been followed. The exceptions seem to be, essentially, vehicles in the various Red Cross allocations and the odd local ommission. When applied, the norm is to see it between the prefix and the number.

 

Interested to see the suggestion that the 'new' series started in 1933. That means numbers appearing on RASC vehicles in the 1920s are a continuation of the WW1 series. These typically appear as the prefix & number within a large oval or circle and do not use the broad arrow, which reinforces my view that the arrow does not form part of the serial number.

 

To add further confusion, there are also loads of WW1 examples where there is no prefix at all - just the number (with normally a broad arrow before it).

 

Alan

Edited by Runflat

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Thank you all for your very informative replies!

 

 

Alan,

 

Your response clears up quite a few issues.

 

I have come across Bart Vanderveen's name several times in my research. I wonder what has become of his files...

 

 

 

Steve,

 

I do not know much about the colours. I have come across one postcard image of armoured cars in Greece that is colourized.

 

1915-1918SalonicaGreecebog91_3117.jpg

 

Of course these colourized postcards were made from black & white photos to which colour was added at a later date, by a different person, in a different country - so they are by no means the final word on the correct colour.

 

I have put together a list of named Rolls Royce Armoured cars and several have names relating to families of colours. These names are not exactly a specific paint mix, but for what they are worth, here they are:

 

Golden Eagle

Golden Goblin

Golden Mank

Grey Knight

Grey Terror

Silver Cloud

Silver Dart

Silver Fox

Silver Ghost

Silver Knight

Silver Snipe

Yellow Wizard

There is also T.E. Lawrence's Rolls Royce tender named "Blue Mist". These names seem to indicate greys and sand colours were in use in the Middle East and India from, say, late 1915 on.

 

 

They are very rare, but there are colour photos that were taken during WWI:

 

http://www.worldwaronecolorphotos.com/

 

http://www.greatwardifferent.com/Great_War/Marne_Color/Marne_Color_10.htm

 

 

In looking at another forum (the Landships forum), I found the following discussion related to artillery and transport vehicles which may or may not apply:

 

The paint mixes that I've been looking at are given in the Handbook for Military Artificers, 1910 and are the same in the 1915 issue which differs in some other respects.

 

The colour for artillery carriages, engineer transport and other transport vehicles is described as Lead Colour and is a straightforward mixture of white (white lead) and black (lamp black). The instructions say that a lighter colour can be mixed by reducing the amount of black used. In the notes for this colour in the 1915 edition, it is said that this colour is not used on SA Ammunition carts and wagons which are painted in Service Colour. The 1910 edition says that they are painted brown. The notes for Service Colour in both editions say that it is used only on small arm ammunition carts and wagons. This might suggest that Service Colour was a shade of brown but might equally mean that the colour used on these vehicles had changed. The standard of proof reading in both editions is poor and odd details have not been corrected so either interpretation might be valid.

 

The complete mix for Service colour is this.

 

Ground white lead 38lbs

Stone ochre 26lbs 8ozs

Burnt Turkey Umber 9lbs 8ozs

Ground lamp black 12ozs

Prussian blue 12ozs

Patent driers 9lbs 8ozs

Raw linseed oil 2 galls 1 quart

Turpentine 3.5 quarts (ie 7 pints)

 

This mix produces 1cwt of colour.

 

A second mix is given for Waterproof Service Colour for Canvas Covers. This is the same as the mix above except that the proportions have changed slightly and the raw linseed oil and turpentine are replaced by boiled linseed oil, yellow soap and water.

 

In all, there are 16 mixes covering 8 colours.

 

Continuing:

 

The handbook gives mixes for eight colours and does not always specify their use. Some of the paint mixes are highly specialised but others might be used for almost anything. The colours are Lead (grey), Stone, Service Colour, Red, Black, White, Chocolate and Green. Of these, only Stone seems definitely to be intended for concealment. The red pigment used is Venetian Red which is a brownish colour akin to rust red. The green pigment is Brunswick Green which is rather too blue in hue to be a camouflage colour. Chocolate might be a camouflage colour but its use is not given.

 

There are two mixes for Stone Colour. The first is this.

 

Ground white lead 4lbs

Stone ochre ½oz

Turkey umber 1oz

Patent driers 6¼oz

Raw linseed oil for mixing 1lb 6ozs.

 

Notes accompanying this mix say,"The colour may be varied by the quantity of Turkey umber employed. A common stone colour can be made without adding ochre." This suggests that the colour is not intended as a fixed standard colour and this impression is strengthened by the notes for the second mix.

 

The second Stone Colour mix is intended for use on the shields and barrel casings of Maxim guns. The mix is this.

 

Ground white lead 1lb 2ozs

Burnt umber 1.33ozs

Spruce ochre 6ozs

Patent driers 2.67ozs

Varnish, gold size 1/8th pint

Boiled linseed oil 1/6th pint

Turpentine 1/6th pint.

 

The notes say that this will be enough to apply one coat to the barrel casings of eight Maxim guns. One pound of this mix will coat the front surface of the shields of eight guns. The notes also say,"The colour of the paint may be varied to suit local conditions, such as background &c." This strongly suggests that it is regarded as a camouflage colour. The high proportion of white lead would make this a very pale colour and it would be reasonable to think of it as a desert colour.

 

The notes refer to varying the shade of the Lead, Stone, Chocolate and Green paints but don't say what the Chocolate and Green were to be used for.

 

There is nothing in the instructions to indicate whether the paints were matt or gloss in finish and there is no reference to varnishing them although mixes for clear varnishes are given. Camouflage and concealment are not specifically mentioned. The 1915 edition says that vehicle markings are to be applied in white; the 1910 edition doesn't specify a colour.

 

I understand that the Australian War Memorial Museum Library has a copy of this book. Copies also appear for sale online from time to time. I suggest a Google search. - Google Books has scanned the 1915 edition, but apparently due to Great Britain's stifling copyright restrictions with regards to very old books, you can only see useless snippets of the text online.

 

 

Then there is this:

 

BT Whites British Tank Markings and Names

"Armoured cars used by the Royal Naval Air Service in 1914-15 were generally finished in a light or medium shade of naval grey. An exception was the Royal Marine Artillery Anti-Aircraft Brigades Pierce-Arrow armoured cars (with 2pdr. pom-pom AA guns) supplied in 1915; these were painted Daimler khaki-green, in accordance with Admiralty specifications."

 

So it appears that the Rolls Royce armoured cars, which started out in the Royal Navy, were sensibly enough originally painted according to naval specifications. After they transferred to the Army, they were presumably painted to Army specifications.

 

Sorry I couldn't be more definitive. I am not knowledgeable on this topic, I am just passing on what I have read on the Landships forum. I hope this helps

 

MarkV

 

 

Hi Mark.

 

Do you know anything about the base colours used in the Middle East please? Our next restoration project will be a Peerless three tonner, marked to represent one of those used in Mesopotamia but unfortunately, we have no evidence to suggest what colour it should be. We know that at the beginning of the War the European vehicles were grey with black lettering until the change to khaki-green in 1915. However, we have found no reference at all to the colours used elsewhere. Were they desert sand, grey or even green? We should love to know!

 

Cheers!

 

Steve

Edited by MarkV

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As for a Peerless in Mespot (great choice by the way, i'll probably be putting together a Mespot infantryman impression which could easily be adapted to ASC in the coming year or so), i've seen photos of a multicoloured Peerless with a 3 inch AA gun on the back - i'll try and dig them out, but I believe at least one of them is shown in Mesopotamia

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MarkV

 

My understanding is that Bart's collection went to the General George C Marshall Museum at Zwindrecht in the Netherlands...

 

Of course the Museum closed and its collection went to the National War and Resistance Museum at Overloon. (http://www.oorlogsmuseum-overloon.nl/index.php?t=en)

 

For whatever reason, I understand Bart's collection is still in boxes and so is currently unable to be used for research. If any one knows better, I'd love to know!

 

Oh, I'd be interested in swaping data. Send me a private message.

 

79x100 - The 'new' list from 1933 has been bugging me. Looking at some 1920s photos, I've found several of post WW1 vehicles wearing very low numbers with the "A" (as ambulance), "L" (as lorry), or "V" (as van) prefixes. Which either means there is an intermediate list or the 1933 list started earlier.

Edited by Runflat

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Wow, thanks Mark! That is the first imtimation I have seen suggesting Middle-Eastern colours. I will keep my eyes open for the book. A copy will turn up on the web in due course, I am sure.

 

The only colour I am absolutely certain about is the khaki green as we have traces of the original on one of our chassis.

 

What a wonderful thing this forum is!

 

Regards,

 

Steve

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Hello,

 

Here is a link to a bit of information regarding the possible significance of the broad arrow on the vehicles:

 

Broad Arrow

 

(This was mentioned by another member on the Landships forum.)

 

MarkV

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Thanks MarkV

 

As an aside, and I forgot to mention this in my first posting, you occasionally see photos of vehicles with an anchor in place of the broad arrow. Presumably this would be some sort of naval detachment.

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Perhaps FV1602 (Clive Elliott) has some info on this, in his latest article in the MVT mag dealing with horse drawn G S wagons he lists all the colours and the ingredients required to make them.

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Nothing to add, (yet) on this thread,........just posting to say, I for one, am finding it interesting. :)

 

Cheers for posting.

 

Andy

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Nothing to add, (yet) on this thread,........just posting to say, I for one, am finding it interesting. :)

 

Cheers for posting.

 

Andy

 

I'll second that!

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There does indeed seem to have been an 'intermediate' numbering system between the WW1 series and the 1930s numbers which ran up until WW2. None of my sources go back as far as WW1 but this is what I can find on inter-war numbers:-

 

Peter Hodges in "British Military Markings 1939 - 1945" states the following :-

 

"Before the Second World War, all vehicles carried several other marks which included :

 

a) A civilian-style registration plate at front and rear.

b) A WD number and prefix classification letter.

c) An abbreviation of the title of the unit to which the vehicle belonged.

d) A letter 'B' in the case of non-combatant wheeled vehicles.

e) A letter 'A' for all the combat vehicles including Scout and Armoured cars.

f) A maximum speed disc on the rear of 'B' vehicles only.

All these were lettered or numbered in white, except for the 'A' or 'B' marks which were in red.

 

The WD classification letters for 'B' vehicles were :

 

A Ambulances M Motor Cars

C Motor Cycles V Vans

H Wheeled Tractors X Trailers

L Lorries Z Trucks

 

The numbers followed a sequence which had started with 1 in 1920, and were allocated by the RASC Stores Depot.

 

During the 1930s, a scheme was instituted where the first two numbers indicated the year of entry into service but this does not seem to have survived for long. No doubt it was given up in the enormous wartime expansion.

 

Armoured vehicles had a separate numbering system controlled by the Chief Inspector of Armaments, which started in 1919 with 1. At first all AFVs, whether tracked or otherwise, were given the prefix letter 'T' but in the mid 1920s armoured cars were changed to 'F' and tracked towing vehicles to 'D' - the latter because of the 'Dragon' tractors then in vogue."

 

In terms of 'softskins' reference to the "Allocation by Central Census Tanks and Vehicles of 'B' Vehicle WD Numbers" as reprinted by Rob van Meel shows numbers 1 to 5208 as "impressed" but I wonder if this was simply shown because Chilwell had no current records as old as the early 1920s by the time the list was compiled in 1944 and so any ex-RASC vehicles of this age had to be dealt with on an individual basis, as with the early-war impressed vehicles.

 

There are also various early numbers marked as 'not taken up' or which were clearly filled in at a later date and given for instance to the Canadians. 28514 - 33299 were 'not taken up' and the first semblance of order comes with L33000 which was for Morris Commercial 30cwt 6x4 GS lorries. Based on some number crunching by Jan Vandevelde, it would seem that the year prefixes continued until late 1939 at which time the RASC seem to have started using previously unissued numbers commencing 61000 for motorcycles and 150001 for other vehicles. The RAOC at this point look to have started a separate sequence at 4100001. The split system seems to have continued until early 1942 when it appears to have been combined.

 

The Chilwell list gives a slightly misleading impression of consecutive order as, for instance, 34999 is followed by 35000 but the number which actually followed was 341000 (The same BSA v-twin contract C7090 was from C(34)963 - C(34)1089) which rather confirm that the first two ciphers were a year prefix rather than part of a consecutive numbering system and this is backed up by my examination of the Norton factory ledgers which show a clear year relationship between production dates and contract census number allocation.

 

None of this of course provides very much help with the Rolls Royce Armoured Cars but might shed some light on the softskin vehicles post WW1

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Thanks for the reference to Hodges' work - I should have looked there. The existence of an 'intermediate' series in the 1920s clarifies things.

 

Looking at the early entries in the "B" vehicle listing, I agree with your comment to the extent that "impressed" means the numbers were allocated to existing holdings, rather than new orders. But I doubt Chilwell had lost those early records (why loose, for example, 1-5208, 5231-5953 and 6609-7426 yet have the ones in-between, which had been allocated to new vehicles?). Remember, the "B" vehicle listing is simply a high level summary that links blocks of vehicle numbers to purchase contract and type. To complete the listing in relation to existing holdings would have meant looking at hundreds of individual records to work out which contract they were purchased under and what the type of vehicle was; and then enter each one as a single line entry. Far simpler to carve out all of these random transfers and treat them as "impressed".

 

Later entries marked "impressed" (say at 150001+), which comes just after an allocation marked "captured", probably means just that - i.e. transport taken up from civvy street.

Edited by Runflat

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"BL" and "BUL" is probably 'Bulford'.

 

Alan

 

Alan,

 

Is that "Bulford" as in Bulford camp?

 

Also, does "NZ" imply that the vehicle was opereated by a New Zealand unit or that the vehicle itself was in New Zealand?

 

MarkV

Edited by MarkV

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Yes, Bulford as in the camp. But a bit of over exuberance on my part with regard to "BL" - this can go in the mystery pile. A nice line-up of BL numbered trucks appears in Michael Young's book 'Army Service Corps 1902-1918' but it was taken in Italy.

 

The reference to "NZ" is derived from a photograph in a third party's collection. My notes simply say 'New Zealand troops'.

Edited by Runflat

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Hello again,

 

So if a vehicle was transferred from, say, the Western Front to Mesopotamia, would it have kept its number, but changed its letter prefix from "M" to "L"?

 

MarkV

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But I doubt Chilwell had lost those early records (why loose, for example, 1-5208, 5231-5953 and 6609-7426 yet have the ones in-between, which had been allocated to new vehicles?).

 

Later entries marked "impressed" (say at 150001+), which comes just after an allocation marked "captured", probably means just that - i.e. transport taken up from civvy street.

 

I didn't mean to give the impression that I thought those early details had been lost, I simply had in mind the details given by Bart Vanderveen in his preface to the British section of the old 'Observer's Fighting Vehicles Directory' regarding the transfer of assets from RASC to RAOC.

 

There are times when I think that I can understand the system of RASC and RAOC numbering but sometimes it seems to cloud the issue. Vanderveen says broadly that pre-war the RASC as the biggest user were allocated most vehicles and the RAOC were only responsible for 'front line' (including AFVs but not exclusively). He goes on to say that from 1942 which coincided with the formation of REME that all 'RASC' vehicles were included within the 'B' vehicle classifications (under Ordnance).

 

It would therefore seem that it was at this point necessary to transfer quantities of RASC records to RAOC and presumably there must have been decisions taken as to what was still 'current' and therefore needed handing over.

 

My reading of the November 1944 Chilwell list suggests to me that unless there were large gaps, only the numbers up to 5208 had been issued by the time the 1933 system came into use. 5209 was issued to contract V3621 for Austin cars with Catalogue Reference 46 which would be the 46th contract issued to Austins. Contract V2980 Cat. Ref. 45 commenced M37273 which I would take to indicate that V3621 was also a late 1930s contract and that they were filling in 'gaps' I cannot imagine that numbers were re-used.

 

Some of the Wartime impressed purchases commenced much earlier than 150001, certainly for motorcycles. I have a picture of an obviously civilian late 1930s AJS bearing C63102 in service with the BEF in May 1940. It would be nice to find a picture of a vehicle carrying an 'impressed' number prior to 33000 to see if it was 1920s or 1930s in origin. I'll start searching !

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So if a vehicle was transferred from, say, the Western Front to Mesopotamia, would it have kept its number, but changed its letter prefix from "M" to "L"?

 

 

Don't know!

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My reading of the November 1944 Chilwell list suggests to me that unless there were large gaps, only the numbers up to 5208 had been issued by the time the 1933 system came into use. 5209 was issued to contract V3621 for Austin cars with Catalogue Reference 46 which would be the 46th contract issued to Austins. Contract V2980 Cat. Ref. 45 commenced M37273 which I would take to indicate that V3621 was also a late 1930s contract and that they were filling in 'gaps' I cannot imagine that numbers were re-used.

 

I see what you mean - you would expect contract V3621 to be allocated numbers not too far adrift to V2980. But quite bizare that they went back to fill in the early gaps rather than just continue from where they were. (NB It took me a bit of time to work out what you were talking about - there is a typo in the reprint: Contract V2980 would seem to start at M36273. I was looking on the wrong page!)

 

It would be interesting to know if anyone has quoted how many vehicles were on hand in 1933 - 5208 is very exact number but strikes me as being a bit low.

 

Some of the Wartime impressed purchases commenced much earlier than 150001, certainly for motorcycles. I have a picture of an obviously civilian late 1930s AJS bearing C63102 in service with the BEF in May 1940. It would be nice to find a picture of a vehicle carrying an 'impressed' number prior to 33000 to see if it was 1920s or 1930s in origin. I'll start searching !

 

I didn't mean to imply that 150001 was the first true number for 'impresed' civvy vehicles - it just seemed a number that was an obvious certainty. The first could well be 46001. As you say it would be interesting if one prior to 33000 is found.

 

(For those reading, but not following, this exchange you probably need to arm yourself with a copy of the 1944 Chilwell "B" vehicle listing as reprinted by Groucho Publishing: http://www.milweb.net/go/groucho/index.htm )

Edited by Runflat

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Hello,

 

With all of this fascinating information coming to light regarding the various vehicle identifying systems, I have some questions:

 

When did the prefix denoting armoured cars switch from "T" to "F"? Also - I have seen quite a few photos of armoured cars, apparantly taken during the 1920's, in which the cars have "M" prefixes. How does this fit in if "T" prefixes came into use in 1919, then "F" prefixes after that?

 

When did armoured cars begin to receive civilian style registration plates? When they did received them, were they always Middlesex "H" plates?

 

During the 1933-1939 period what was the WD number prefix denoting armoured cars?

 

Thank you,

 

MarkV

Edited by MarkV

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I'm afraid that I don't have much info on armour, whether wheeled or tracked.

 

I have nothing more specific than Hodges' 'mid 1920s' for the change from 'T' to 'F' for armoured cars with the suggestion that this coincided with 'D' for Dragons. The use of 'F' for armoured and Scout Cars appears to have continued through the 1930s and during WW2

 

I have no reference sources which make it clear whether the post WW1 system replaced the earlier scheme in its entirety (as happened post-WW2) or indeed anything to confirm whether Hodges is correct.

 

Are these 'M' plated cars of post-WW1 manufacture ?

 

I think that we can safely assume that there were few if any RASC armoured cars. Hodges refers to the Chief Inspector of Armaments but makes no reference to the RAOC who seem to have had their own scheme 'pre-war' according to Vanderveen. Did the RAOC take on responsibilites from the 'Armaments Inspectorate' at some point resulting in a change that my limited literature doesn't refer to ?

 

As far as I can see, all classes of vehicles seem to have had Middlesex plates, even those vehicles which I know to have been delivered to Chilwell (I bet there were exceptions though !) In the begining, these seem to have been 1920s two-digit prefixes e.g. 'HX' but later were three-letter plates with the second letter 'M' such as 'HMC' etc., again a Middlesex C.C. allocation. The earliest datable sources that I have turned up with a quick look are motorcycles with 'MT' registrations and census numbers around 19000 - 20000 and these date from 1928.

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