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Morris CDSW 6x4 Bofors Tractor


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Those of you who have followed my Morris-Commercial C9/B SP Bofors restoration will have seen in the most recent posts references to a Morris CDSW 6x4 Bofors Tractor which we have recently acquired.

To put you in the picture I’d like to give you a bit of background as a start to this new blog. You can always scroll down to the photos if you get bored.

“we” is the Manx Aviation and Military Museum which is, as you might guess, on the Isle of Man and is run as a charity by unpaid volunteers. Our visitors tell us that we are doing a pretty good job, which is nice. The museum houses the Museum of the Manx Regiment, which is the 15th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery (Territorial Army). Recruiting for the Regiment started on August 8th 1938. Unfortunately I missed the anniversary by a week for the start of this blog, but never mind.

The Manx Regiment had an impressive war record, starting with the firing of what I believe were the British Army’s first shots of the Second World War, at about 1.20pm on September 3rd 1939, i.e. only about 2 hours after the declaration of war. I’m still researching this but I haven’t yet found any reference to any shots fired before that on the first day of the war. They fired them at a couple of RAF Hampdens which flew up the River Mersey without showing the colours of the day …. Friendly fire incidents were happening even then, but fortunately for the RAF they missed, and a subsequent enquiry exonerated the Gunners, who had followed their orders. They went on to defend the south coast during the Battle of Britain, to the campaigns in Eritrea, North Africa, Italy and Europe as the Light Ack Ack unit of the 7th Armoured Division. During this time they shot down more enemy aircraft than any other British Army unit, and lost some 80 men.

Our museum boasts a fine collection of memorabilia from the Regiment including some impressive hardware in the Morris C9/B and a towed Bofors gun. The CDSW competes the “set”, unless we win the lottery and get an M16 quad 0.50 half-track which the Regiment used in anger in April and May 1945.

The CDSW was demobbed in 1949 and was used as a garage tow truck until the early 1970s when it was rescued for preservation. It passed through a number of owners without very much being done to it until the last owner bought it and embarked on a restoration. Changing circumstances forced its sale; I bought it unseen – after all, how often do these things come onto the market? Photos showed that it was fairly original up to the bulkhead but things went downhill astern of that. A new body has been fitted at considerable expense but sadly it was based on very limited photographic material and was a mish-mash of gun tractor and light recovery bodywork. It was also quite wrong so it will have to be started again rather than being corrected.

The vehicle arrived early yesterday morning courtesy of a free passage with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. During the morning it was emptied of spares and driven round the garden a bit. What a lovely noise the six-cylinder engine made, but it couldn’t drown out the graunching of gears as I tried to follow the gear change layout engraved on the gearlever knob. First to reverse in one noisy move, oh dear! Somebody has fitted a four-speed gear knob to a five speed box. A quick look at the lovely brass gear change plate that is still in place on the gearbox cover and all was well. You don’t need first for normal driving and second to fifth are in a standard H layout.

The afternoon was spent in giving the thing a good dose of looking at and formulating a plan for the restoration. That’s all for now, take a look at the pictures.

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Congratulations, Ivor, on securing this vehicle. I've always thought the CDSW range were the business ever since I set eyes on photographs of them over 25 years ago.

 

Good luck with the rebuild - there's a hard slog in front of you trying to make an accurate body - I've never seen a survivor with an original bofors tractor body (several original FATs and light recovery versions exist though), although I do recall seeing a photo in Windscreen 20 odd years ago of one owned by a chap called Shakeshaft, which looked as if it had some original rear bodywork on it. Perhaps it's the one you now own! And the well known "HAD130" has original top boxes on it:

 

http://good-times.webshots.com/photo...03094308zSXadN

http://ccmv.fotopic.net/p56892373.html

http://www.flickr.com/photos/byjr/29...ry-vehicles-uk

 

Although of a different overall design, the Australian equivalent may be able to provide some critical dimensions:

 

http://www.mapleleafup.org/forums/showthread.php?t=15064

 

For your enjoyment, all of these have CDSW bofors tractors in them, albeit only a glimpse in places:

 

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=12321

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=25616

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=25623

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=52393

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=75281

Edited by Runflat
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Hiya Ive,

 

Hang on there mate...I'm commin' over to help you out with this babe!!! LOL

 

I can see that you are now a happy man....nice truck which will look even better when you're done with it.

 

Let me know if you need anything I might be able to source from here!

 

Kaci

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A bit off the restoration topic but today we had several of the few surviving Manx Regiment Gunners and their families at the museum. Some marvellous stories came out including a report that the rear side lockers of the CDSW made ideal chicken coops, thereby guaranteeing a supply of fresh eggs!

Best of all was this rear view photo which was taken in July 1941 on the return of 41 Battery to Beni Yusef camp after the campaign in Eritrea. It's a tiny photo, and the Morris is in the background, but just look at all that detail - extra 2 gallon petrol cans (camouflage painted too), sand channel, clear serial number and the weird Roman/Arabic registration that nobody seems to be able to explain. Bizarrely we've got another photo of the exact same truck taken from the front before it had the disruptive colour added. And just look at the shorts ...

41 Bty CDSW at Ben y Yusef 7.41.jpg

41 Bty stranded after Massawa, waiting on Asmara Rd for tow.jpg

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the weird Roman/Arabic registration

 

Those are Arabic numbers which must be read from right to left and should be the same as the normal numbers on the same plate. If you send me a clear shot I will tell you what the Arabic numbers are.

 

Kaci

 

The Arabic numbers are the same, in my case 14747, but they read from left to right. I know Arabic script reads R-L but these numbers certainly don't. Does anybody know what the Arabic script says under the number? I assume it's similar to "War Department".

Edited by Ivor Ramsden
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"The Arabic numbers are the same, in my case 14747, but they read from left to right. I know Arabic script reads R-L but these numbers certainly don't. Does anybody know what the Arabic script says under the number?"

 

You are right there Ive...the Arabic numbers here are being read from left to right...strange!

 

Send me a clear pic of the number plate showing the Arabic script and I will try and translate it for you. I did study Arabic for five years when at school:-)

 

Kaci

P.S. How do you insert a quote here???

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Send me a clear pic of the number plate showing the Arabic script and I will try and translate it for you. I did study Arabic for five years when at school:-)

 

Kaci

P.S. How do you insert a quote here???

 

Click on "Reply with quote", bottom right!

 

I don't have a clear photo but I've seen one on the net somewhere. I'll keep looking.

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Click on "Reply with quote", bottom right!

 

I don't have a clear photo but I've seen one on the net somewhere. I'll keep looking.

 

Doh! How come I didn't see that!!!

 

Send it over when you find it.

 

Meanwhile I will try and decipher the one in the next reply....it looks funny to me though as as far as I know there isn't three "dots" in the language....might be mistaken though!

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Cat, envying Dog's appearance in the C9/B blog, volunteered to act as sentry to keep the mice away from the Morris. Unfortunately the sun's warmth and the lure of the driver's seat proved too much for her...

 

I'll be back soon with some more sensible updates.

PICT0034.jpg

Edited by Ivor Ramsden
Complaint from Cat
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  • 1 month later...

I've got hold of a parts book for the CDSW which is going to be very useful. It's dated July 1940 and covers the very last CDSW sanction fror 620 Bofors tractors. That in itself is of help, because it helps to date our CDSW which is from the second-to-last batch, sanction number 1753. I now know that ours must date from early 1940 at the latest, and more likely from 1939. The tractor doesn't have a contract number plate anywhere which would help to date it. I found the original census number for the C9/B with perseverance and help from a fellow-HMVF member, so with a bit of luck I might be able to do the same for the CDSW.

 

The sanction number system is a bit of a mystery to me - it seems to be a Morris in-house batch number. Can anybody explain it or even better, link numbers with dates?

 

I've spent a couple of hours this afternoon scratching about in the corner of a remote field where a Morris-Commercial C4/WT was buried in about 1970. There's a big mound from which poke many bits of metal but I haven't found any evidence of the Morris yet - mainly because I wasn't prepared for the overgrowth of brambles, gorse, nettles and other prickly or stinging things. Next time I'll find it. After 40 years of burial I don't know what will remain but it's got to be worth a look. After I've found it there's an amphibious Jeep buried somewhere else on the Island so that will be the next military vehicle archaeology project.

 

I'm still looking for any CDSW parts. Has anybody got a spare Lucas SF4 fuse box?

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Bury it in the garden for 6 months. Theres a thriving industry here producing "genuine" Nazi artifacts for tourists. Everything looks the part, but they are all produced in one of the villages, then buried for a few months for the correct patina:-)

 

Heh heh, good plan. Unfortunately my memory is so bad that I'd forget where it was buried.:nut:

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"The Arabic numbers are the same, in my case 14747, but they read from left to right. I know Arabic script reads R-L but these numbers certainly don't. Kaci

P.S. How do you insert a quote here???

 

Is interesting that the number plates don't follow arabic convention of Right to Left. However ever current numberplates with dual numbers are the same way and order, I guess it would be confusing if the Arabic was written opposite direction

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  • 9 years later...

2020!  And while looking through Alan Rangers book on Dunkirk, pub Camera-on, page 34 and 36, Dunkirk 1940, through a German Lens, I spotted not one but three of the Morris tractors lined up as part of a truck Pier. Complete with markings. I had until now only ever seen the "Tin bodied" Morris tractor at a truck fest down South where it was being restored. Very little information on it is out there. As a 1.76 scale modeller I shall now draw up a working plan and construct at least one Dunkirk veteran.

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