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Libya, Tripolitania, vehicles, barracks 1950s to 1966


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Farewell to you Lords, Ladies, noble friends and those few of less than honourable intent, for the grains of Tripolitanian sands have ebbed from the timer of patience and tolerance, some grains seemin

We are connected now ..... even though I'd not looked at this thread for 18 months! He has info, official docs and photos from me now. Happiness.

I am new to this website having joined seeking information about some trucks that appeared in a photo of my father on vehicle guard duty in the 1930s.  Having a look round I came across this thread, 

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14 hours ago, ltwtbarmy said:

The thread might be fantastic, but it seems that most of the pictures have disappeared. Or is that just my ipad doing that?

No, it's not your Ipad dear ltwbarmy, if you were to read the last few pages you'd understand why I've removed most of the photos. It saddened me to do so but their theft and reappearence elsewhere outside of this splendid forum left me no option. Sadly too, the experience deflated my eagerness to continue to invigorate this thread with more FACTS about the British Army in Tripolitania.

Generally I've left it to others to add value to the thread but there's a point when I have to interject. I'll do so again now, for to counter a very misguided Kuno..... the FACTS are that the Toumo waterhole visited by Cyclops (and by 33 Ind Fd Sqn RE and other units previously) was and most probably still is, in the Tibesti Mountains .... as the official WD Maps, hand-drawn maps, route maps, exercise reports (from those who completed the exercise Crescent Moon and from official archives and from regimental journals) and photos that I have, all confirm. End of. Nothing further to add or argue about. Oh, nice photo of your 'much smaller than Sebha' Murzak aircraft hangar Kuno. You should have posted it earlier, perhaps. Apologies if I came at you like a desert vixen...... .

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On 12/13/2017 at 2:50 AM, Morris C8 said:

Close up of two of the photos and one more of the water and petrol dump. That`s the lot.

  I do have other negs and photos but do not think they could be taken in Libya. just found out there taken in Egypt in 1955 post war.

           Keith

air port military Libya 1950s close up 1.jpg

bedford rl  f and s p 2 close up photo.jpg

Sabha water petrol dump Libya photo.jpg

Oh look, I can see both the aircraft hangar at Sebha and the fort on top of the high mound in this, the bottom photo which is most cleverly composed.

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17 hours ago, john1950 said:

Please calm down, Chill out. These pictures and the thread are fantastic. To an outsider one piece of sand looks like any other, it is only when people put there mark on it that it comes to life in a different way. Reminicences and place names get easily transposed in everyday life. They at least give a starting point. If anyone is going to use information it is up to them to check for unintentional errors that may have crept in. Kuno if English is not your mother tongue you are  doing a good job with it. Stay safe. Any more pictures of Diamond T's or Scammell Pioneer/Explorer Tank transporters please.

Thanks for the words John. I am now chilled but just need to say that my research is thoroughly accurate and professional and when I've posted FACTS from my research, that's exactly what they are unless I expressly say to the contrary and plead for assistance.... as I have done where it comes to say.... B vehicle types at which point you the experts on those matters graciously step in. Some ghibli eh? ;)

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May  l say that l for one miss your presence on the forum and the most interest thread that you started. But also why you removed the photographs l to have removed the items l posted on the postwar sales catalogues there will always people who will question FACTS and never put forward a valid point with supporting  proof and how easy it is for this in time become { FACT}

WITH KIND REGARDS

WALLY

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You only have to look at Tiger 131 to see with the best will in the world, Fact can be lost and turn into fiction but also  can be found again and become fact. But the fact that some people ask questions and strive for perfection can sometimes make wrong right and all of the hard work worth while. I am off back to trailers.

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  • 6 months later...

25 Armd Bde were formed in Libya in 1952 post exodus of 1 Inf Div, and adopted the similar white Rhino symbol or Formation marking of the defunct 1 Armd Div....which was the non-rampant white Rhino on a black oval exactly as now seen on the uniform shoulder patches below. 10 Armd Div was uregently reformed in Libya around May 1956, incorporating 25 Armd Bde. It made sense not to revitalise the 'dead' fox of the previous 10 Armd Div and instead incorporate the white Rhino on a black oval of the subsumed 25 Armd Bde as the Formation flash.... worn on uniforms, vehicles, stationery, notice boards etc. On tanks, vehicles etc; the white Rhino appeared on a black oval, no surrounding white ring or other adornment. On tank and vehicle fronts, the Rhino always seems to have faced to the left as looked at from in front whereas on the rear the Rhino faced which ever way the signwriter chose. It follows therefore, that the RSG, based in Barce, were in the formation of 25 Armd Bde as were many other regiments and units throughout the then M.E.L.F. The RSG at that time were the senior armoured regiment of the brigade and as such their tanks and vehicles bore an Arm of Service marking to reflect their position.... a white 50 on a red rectangle. All those regiments in theatre at that time were subsumed into the 'new' 10 Armd Div which in reality at first, was only a slightly expanded Brigade. When 10 Armd Division came to be disbanded after a nominal year of existence.... units in Tripolitania adopted the black/white/blue Barbary Dhow as the formation marking (shield or rectangle) for Tripolitania District. Units in Cyrenaica adopted the twin white-ish pillars of Cyrene on a black rectangle as the formation marking of Cyrenaica District. Uhmmm, no, I'm not presenting photos of the RSG in Libya Centurions, Halftracks, Champs and suchlike here either so its just the Rhinos.☺️

25 Armoured Brigade  and 10 Armoured Division white rhino RH arm.jpg

25 Armoured Brigade-10 Armoured Division white rhino-LH arm.jpg

Edited by BlueBelle
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Thanks for that.

The picture I saw show Daimlers of the RSG with the later red/yellow diagonal AoS but seemingly no applied number, although that might just be an applied white numeral not showing up due to glare and the raised position on the front wing.

I have also seen that the Life Guards Daimlers were using the “charging rhino” version of the badge of the 1AD in Egypt and Palestine during 1947 and beyond. I thought that 1AD was disbanded in January 1945, but its badge seems to have lived on longer.

Edited by simon king
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Formation patches on vehicles in Libya did seem to have an extended expiry date, even when 10 Armd Div wound up in July 1957 those white Rhinos could still be seen as late as Oct 57. The winding up of 10 Armd Div also meant that it no longer remained in an Order of Battle, nor did any of the regiments or units of 25 Armd Bde or from elsewhere that had been taken in. Did 25 Armd Bde still exist now? No, it didn't. There was a period of several months where dithering occurred as to what Formation Libya based regiments and units should be in if any, compounded by a Defence Review and massive down-sizing of the Army in Libya (10,000 troops down to 2,000 in a matter of 12 months). To the end of 1957, vehicles could still be seen with the previous 'fighting' Formatiom rectangles with numbers (white numbers 50 etc on red rectangles for Armoured regiments of which there was now in Dec 1957, only one and that being 6RTR) and at the same point in time, the black oval was all that remained of the 25/10 Armd white Rhino for it had been blacked out. The new 'non-Order of Battle' markings began to appear late Jan/early Feb 1958.... the Red/Yellow RAC patch Arm of Service and white bar atop with abbreviated regiment name stencilled black stencilled therein. Tripolitania District Barbary dhow as a 'Formation' patch......shield shaped or rectangle depending on ....whims for Tripolitania based regiments....all two of them. The Cyrene Pillars were for units (only one complete regiment, INF) based in Cyrenaica post 1958 and even then, squadrons and companies from those few remaining regiments were forever being sent out of Libya on deployment. What remained post 1958 was really to provide  'protection' to the Libyan throne and to a lesser part, fulfill defence treaty obligations with the minimum of military and financial input.

Higher formation for the Army in Libya had always been HQ MELF in either Egypt or Cyprus. With the 1957/8 near demise of the Army in Libya, the two Districts were formed/reformed (Tripolitania and Cyrenaica) under 'Malta and Libya Command' which reported to HQ MELF in Cyprus..... until formation of NELF as HQ MELF moved to the Gulf.

Simon, you wrote elsewhere about white Rhinos and Cyrene Pillars being on the same vehicle at the same time. HQ units of 25 Armd Bde in both Cyrenaica and Tripolitania bore both Formation flashes and that also occured within 10 Armd Div. Oh yes, both sets of Formation markings and note which way that pesky Rhino to the front is facing in this press photo! 😆

I have 30 or so original photos (non press owned) of the occasion...on the parade ground with a myriad of interesting Bedford QLR-type lorries and recording/pa system equipment.

HM Queen Tobruk 1954-Rhino-Cyrene District-HQ vehicle.jpg

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It’s interesting that it took almost 10 years to introduce the “new” Red/Yellow squares in Libya.

In the meantime there’s this well known picture of a bent Cent with the rhino sharing an oval background with something else. It’s not clear what it is but I wonder if it’s the HQ MELF badge. 

Markings of vehicles in Libya seem to be in a world of their own. Hadn’t realised how interesting and frustrating in equal measures they could be

 

 

8AA3DF08-A1EE-4B20-8F76-873CB19096E6.jpeg

Edited by simon king
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Libya vehicle markings (and uniform patches) in a world of their own indeed! The above photo is one of a series of originals of that incident I have. However I think you may be reading too much into what you see around the white Rhino. The black-ish area is I believe, part of the camouflage applied onto which the Rhino was applied.....no need for the black oval perhaps. The blackishness of the camouflage varied all over the tanks.... some parts looking like freshly applied...almost wet, whilst others as varied shades of black into grey. Shadows played a big part too when tanks were photoed....leading one to think....ooh, another patch of camouflage. I can though dispel your theory that there was another marking adjacent to the Rhino.... it's just scuffing or fading. Here's a little of the front view of same tank 06BA09 (note the sloppy 50) and another part view of a Centurion with a shadow effect, Barce 1954:

Centurion 06BA09 RSG gorge front markings .jpg

RSG Centurion shadow.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am new to this website having joined seeking information about some trucks that appeared in a photo of my father on vehicle guard duty in the 1930s.  Having a look round I came across this thread,  Dad served in the RASC from 1927 to 1960, granted an Emergency Wartime Commission in India in 1944 (serving with 61 AD Coy RASC) and then in 1955-7 he was Adjutant Tobruk Garrison.  He commanded the column that was sent to the Libya/Egypt border to evacuate British personnel from the Cairo embassy, including the Ambassador, Sir Humphrey Trewellyn, during the Suez Crisis.  If further information might be of interest would you post a reply and then I will know this is of interest to others.

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Well......YES.... Jim7321.... you have an attentive recipient here.....anything Libya please. Thank you for offering to post what you know about a very interesting time in Libya and an episode of quite some intrigue.

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Thank you both for your interest.  I have some photos but they are mainly family happy snaps.  Some postcards like the one below showing the Long Span Bailey Bridge built by 22 Engr Regt (I think ) in 1946.  Postcards from Cyrene ruins.  Some good snaps of the exterior and interior of the Garrison Church.  I will also message both of you with some info I would prefer not to make too public,

Wadi el Kuf Bailey Bridge 1.jpg

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22 Regt RE ....and one of their squadrons, I believe (without digging out my RE files) it was 23 Fd Engr Sqdn completed the bridge seen here in 1948. Thanks for posting and your message. 

Have a look here for some interesting photos of the bridge opening : https://libocolors.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/a-story-of-two-bridges/

 

Edited by BlueBelle
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Great shots, not seen these views of the church before. Plenty to be seen of what it looked like later up until 1970 and even later after the Arabs 'converted' it into a museum of Daesh weaponry. Thanks for posting them. ☺️

 

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Blue Belle

I may have asked before, if so apologies.

Do you have any info on 169  Railway Workshop Squadron in use on the Egyptian State Railway and into Tripolitania.

Possibly with a location of Qasfareet.

 

Many thnks.

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Oh, I wish I did have something to tell you Ploughman of your interest 169 Rly Sqn Wksp ...... especially in Tripolitania and the 'keeping going' of the old Italian rail lines and stock running from Tripoli (four lines). The squadron would have been a Royal Engineers one and even the workshop too. An approach to the Royal Engineers Museum? It wasn't long before our army lost interest in keeping railways going (probably as early as 1951) as by 1956/7 with the Libyans in 'charge', it was a mere shadow of it's former glory with just a few diesel railcars running to a 'make it up as you go' timetable (one a day in either direction). Benghazi's railway lines out of the city to Barce and Solluch suffered a similar fate. The line from the Egyptian border to Tobruk was ripped out very soon after the war..... suggested by one article I fell upon by chance....prior to which I hadn't realised Tobruk had been served by a rail link from Egypt!  I can tell you lots about 79 Railway Sqn RCT Wksp REME....who were never in the desert! Yes, you had asked me before about 'trains in Libya' but I'm saddened I've not come up with anything useful for you..... or myself. I will try harder!

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