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Hi there, introducing my vehicle


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Came accross this forum recently and found several interesting topics so thought I should join up.

 

I have owned this vehicle since 1991 but have not really joined in with the show scene during that time, I do belong to the MVT and attend their annual area show where these pics were taken.

 

DSCF2992b.jpg

 

DSCF2984b.jpg

 

I have to say I have only seen one other like this and that was out of use some years ago so I think it must be quite rare.

 

The little I do know is:-

built by Coles Cranes 1966 (I think)

 

serial no 00 EY 18

 

sold out of service 1987

 

I believe the engine/gearboxes and axles are AEC militant but everything else is Coles built (chassis is huge section I beam compared with normal Militant and has a flexible beam bogie instead of springs)

I think it is an updated version of the FV 11003 Militant Crane but that is only guesswork!

 

Any pointers as to where to find out a bit more about these vehicles - How many were made? where was this one used? etc etc.

 

Looking forward to enjoying this site, any comments gratefully recieved.

 

Allan Cash

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Well, it drives like a fully laden six wheeler. There is a couple of tons of counterbalance weight in the back end of the crane section as well as the donkey engine, generator, motors etc. Not sure of the total weight as it's not in any of the manuals I have with it but it is pretty heavy, sank into the hard ground a couple of inches during the weekend on the showfield (must get it to a public weighbridge sometime I guess). Brakes seem to stop it well enough considering it's build date, twin pipe air system. Hydraulic power steering so it's not too hard on the arms, as I said I think all the running gear is the same as a militant of the same age.

 

Couple of interesting extras - electric motor coupled to the back of the transfer box so you can move it from the crane cab, electric motor on the steering column with a joystick control from the crane as well as footbrake and handbrake. Great party piece to manouvre it with no one in the lorry!

 

It is still fully certified for lifting use although there is always something to do at each inspection, current job to be done is replace the main bolts that hold the crane A frame to the bed, that will be fun. Also need to check the contacts on the remote steering as last time I tried to use it I could only turn the wheels left and not bring them back!

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Allan

It doesn't appear in any of the FVRDE show guides & think I have them all. But there is a B&W 3/4 view like yours in Terry Ganders Enclyclopaedia of the Modern British Army. It is only in the first edition dated 1980.

It gives no details just "Coles crane on an AEC 10-tonne chassis typical of the devices used at many depots & stores run by the RAOC"

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Clive,

thanks for that initial search, confirms what I thought that there were not many of them.

 

Here is a pic of the chassis plate that gives more info.

 

plate%20640.jpg

 

The 'Bridging Crane' designation suggests use by the engineers although the stores depot use sounds sensible as well.

 

Interested in what anyone can find out, it would be nice to have answers for people when the ask!

 

 

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Coles ued the 6 wheel Matador chassis for a similar crane in the fifties. I have been told by a guy who used them in service that some were built using the Matador chassis and some on a much heavier Coles chassis, one of the Coles chassis type was in use at the old RAF Llanbedr until last year when QINETIC closed down operations. It was used as back up to a modern crane which used to get stuck whenever it left the runways, they were used for recovering drones which are now obsolete.

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Clive,

thanks for that initial search, confirms what I thought that there were not many of them.

 

The 'Bridging Crane' designation suggests use by the engineers although the stores depot use sounds sensible as well.

 

Interested in what anyone can find out, it would be nice to have answers for people when the ask!

 

Hi Allan,

 

It is primarilly a Bridging crane used by Royal Engineers. We knew them as the Mk.5, the earlier one had similar cab and running gear as Militant Mk1 but with beams instead of springs on rear bogie. The Mk5 engine is much bigger than the earlier one, being the AV760, of 215 bhp against the old 11.3 litre, 150 bhp Militant. When working in REME workshops, I spent some time repairing and testing cranes, these and the earlier Militant, also the rather dated RAF ones which still used the Matador engine but with a later cab.

 

They lift a max. of 7 tons on wheels and 10 tons on blocked......that is over the rear at shortest radius.

 

Going by the census number on yours, "EY", I would think it is an early one as a lot were in the "FU" range. All up weight was 26 tons.

 

Richard

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Richard,

thanks for that info.

The chassis plate shows it as a Mk5 and the date I have of Nov 66 build came from the engineer who does the lifting inspection who found that from some Coles lists which he had. Would that match the 'EY' seriel Number?

 

Interesting that you think there is an AV760 motor, I shall have to check for plates to find out. It is listed as 11.3 litres on the registration document and I must admit that the only parts I have bought for it are oil and fuel filters and those were done from numbers on the old ones. Have changed the water pump a few years ago but did that by matching the old one at a dealers.

 

Allan.

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Kewelde is correct with all his info,what a memory :-), your vehicle is pictured and listed in Vanderveens 'Military Vehicles Directory from 1945' and it shows the build dates as 1968-70. Hope this helps.

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The chassis plate shows it as a Mk5 and the date I have of Nov 66 build came from the engineer who does the lifting inspection who found that from some Coles lists which he had. Would that match the 'EY' seriel Number?

 

Interesting that you think there is an AV760 motor, I shall have to check for plates to find out. It is listed as 11.3 litres on the registration document

 

Alan,

 

All I can tell you is that EY would be prior to 67-68, when those Mk5 cranes with FU were introduced. The 760 is around 14 litres and visually different from the 11.3. Some 760 had inline FI pumps and others had DPA type, but all 760 had air compressor on engine, whereas from my memory all 11.3 powered Militants had the compressor driven from the gearbox.

 

Richard

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Richard,

had a quick look tonight and you are correct, it is an AV760 engine.

 

Interestingly it is set at 1800rpm rather than the 2200rpm listed for the 760 in other vehicles such as the Mk3 Militant Recovery, it is coupled to a five speed gearbox with a high/low splitter box. Air operated 4 wheel/6 wheel drive selection and air operated diff locks.

 

Looks like my registration document is wrong as the AV760 is 12.47 litres in the info I have turned up!

 

Allan.

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  • 15 years later...

Hi Alan, I trust that this will find you and that you are well.

it’s been a long time since I popped in to see you and your Coles Crane and this is a shot in the dark to see if you still have the crane.

as you may well remember I was a Crane operator with 408 (Bridge) Troop RE from 1968 until the troop disbanded in 1972 and was fortunate enough to operate the Mk2, Mk3, Mk4 and Mk5 Coles Bridging Cranes during that time. 
 

if you still have the crane and it’s it running I would very much like to see it and you again and to be able to operate it whilst I’m still able.

Bill Roberts

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Alan,

Nice vehicle. Very unusual, but very useful. A Coles Crane - I think the same or an earlier model than yours - was sent for tropical trials to Australia in the 1950s, along with a Ferret Mk.1, Humber 1 ton, and an Austin Champ.

Mike

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