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RFC Leyland


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I have come across a further reference to WD Leyland in an article in "Old Motor and Vintage Commercials", vol 2 no2 August 1963.

It refers to, in RFC use carrying a driver, armed guard, and a party of aircraft mechanics in the front part of the body, the rear part being sheeted to give weather-proofing.

This would account for the three stepped ladder on the side and the small door leading into the rear.


Question now is what was inside ?

I assume some form of seating for the crew involved. Did it face forward,or rearwards or both to cover what number of crew?

Was there a dividing wall to stop items sliding forwards into the passenger areas.

With the canvas sides down it would be dark in there, and no sign of plastic windows. Would the opening canvas curtains above the side door be tied back, or were the rear canvas flap open.

I have yet to find any photographs or drawings that show these points.

Does any one have any information?



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The canvass portion above the door was often half opened, like as in this photograph:




I've also seen it fully furled up. As to what's inside, that's not at all clear. The only internal photograph I've seen suggests there was a full width box or boxed in section between the door opening and the rear of the body, which would have been good enough for crew to sit on. Certainly no division between the door entrance and the rest of the cargo area.


The Australian War Memorial have a restored Leyland and so should be able to provide a clearer answer. I believe the body was fabricated from original plans. Some pictures towards to bottom here:




As an aside, The Automobile magazine, Dec 2000, shows some early vehicle remains in Australia including what is clearly a Leyland RAF type rear axle (with diff). I hope it went to a good home.

Edited by Runflat
name of AWM
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Thanks Runflat for the information.

My son tells me the Aussie Leyland would appear to be a early twenty's say 1923-24 model. That is from the cylinder shape and design, 36hp version.The top radiator tank being non standard but probably as suited for hotter conditions where this could have worked. That in itself shows an interesting part of adaptation for local use to suit the environment worked in. Perhaps the top tank is a replacement as these are very prone to failure from oxidiation.( alloy disintergation)


The Leyland on display at Australian War Mermorial Museum was one we had been told of but had not any good photos of the side view.

Time to plan a visit!


From the comments regards inside the back, should the crew be seated on a box type seat, was that hinged and also storage maybe for their own kit?



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