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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

Here are a few photos taken from my original negs in Libya. Keith

Hi, I hope you will excuse me for butting in on your site. I served in Tripoli in 1957/58/59 with X Plt TK-Tprs 38 Coy R A S C. based at Medenine Bks driving Diamond T units pulling dyson trailers. We

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On 2/20/2021 at 5:47 PM, ploughman said:

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.

Hello Ploughman (and Lizzie if she's listening)

Whilst researching my own Topic I came across a small reference to 169 Ry Wksp Sqn RE in the History of the Royal Engineers Volume 10 which covers the period 1948 to 1960.  It is in Chapter IV Page 87.  I think if you were to look in Volume 9 you might find soomething else (too early for my purposes).  The history is free to view on line at this link.  Hope this is of some help, Jim.  RE History Vol 10.  

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Dear Ploughman, if you want to wade through nearly 800 pages of The Desert Railway, try this https://www.nzsappers.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/The-Desert-Railway.pdf

Stuff in there too, on Staniers.....steam puffers which may pop corks for some!

The website has been a great source of British Royal Engineers reference material for my RE research in Libya since I embarked upon my 'crazy' project...... have a good look around it.

https://www.nzsappers.org.nz/introduction/heritage-material/

This is the best place for anyone to start on anything Royal Engineers.....journals with much high-brow stuff and so on but unfortunately there are  no 'Sapper' magazines which are really really full of more useful useable information. Again I suggest, turn to the RE Museum.

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On 10/23/2016 at 4:08 AM, BlueBelle said:

It went quiet, maybe you fell off your sandbags or got a bigger kick on here out of winter woolly combat hats? 😄

Thanks to Charles Yerrell 6RTR/2RTR for the following photos and for allowing me to use them. Sandbags plumped up again, bottle of Miranda to hand, sit back and enjoy!

Look what was parked up in front of the 2RTR cookhouse in Homs, Libya 1959! Far more exciting than a Katy K2 fake, Richard!

There were three of these parked up (dumped), used in the film 'Ice Cold in Alex' and then returned to Homs for plunder by LAD fitters determined to keep other ones 'on the road', so to speak. They must have been 'borrowed' from 6RTR who occupied Homs 1957-59 as the film was made in 1957 to early 1958 and released in June 1958. There's just a slim chance that they were 'borrowed' from 3RHA who were in Homs prior to 6RTR. No prizes for guessing the correct make and model number (with justification for guess).

 

 

 

Did you see the Landrovers in the final scene of 'Ice cold'? A bit of another giggle was driving East though-out the film they ended up in Tripoli!!!!

 

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On 2/25/2021 at 1:22 AM, BlueBelle said:

Dear Ploughman, if you want to wade through nearly 800 pages of The Desert Railway, try this https://www.nzsappers.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/The-Desert-Railway.pdf

Stuff in there too, on Staniers.....steam puffers which may pop corks for some!

I saw a Stanier 8 in Egypt in 1954. Only a flashing look but it was parked in a siding in an awful state!

The website has been a great source of British Royal Engineers reference material for my RE research in Libya since I embarked upon my 'crazy' project...... have a good look around it.

https://www.nzsappers.org.nz/introduction/heritage-material/

This is the best place for anyone to start on anything Royal Engineers.....journals with much high-brow stuff and so on but unfortunately there are  no 'Sapper' magazines which are really really full of more useful useable information. Again I suggest, turn to the RE Museum.

 

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On 1/28/2021 at 2:38 AM, BlueBelle said:

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

I am on that photo somewhere!!!!I stood on one of the trucks lining the Parade ground! I ran out of film just as the Royal Landrover passed me just 6' away!!!

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On 4/20/2017 at 8:22 PM, BlueBelle said:

 

MELF 57? One thinks you may be thinking of BFPO 57, the postal address which covered all locations in Tripolitania, even when the few remaining locations became part of NELF, headquartered in BFPO 51, Malta (later becoming Malta & Libya Command). So when I was a far younger 'uman bean' than now, I lived in Homs, Tripolitania, Libya BFPO 57 where, one could sometimes hear the simultaneous distinctive purr of more than 80 B-Series engines of the regiment's armoured cars and APCs. Not that one was old enough to realise, know or be interested in those sorts of things then. Tapping one's Wheetabix, pre-milk addition, was such fun as we competed to see whose cereal would produce the greatest number of weevils! And, if you didn't get them all out, they floated to the top, if you waited long enough! :red:

MELF to my limited knowledge, was MELF, without numbers, headquartered first in Egypt then Cyprus (with their own BFPO numbers based on their locations).

In Cyrenaica District, all locations were covered by Tobruk BFPO 56 and Benghazi BFPO 55.

Of course, there may have been other BFPO numbers assigned to Libya locations though I’m not aware of them, nor do I profess to know when the locations were first allocated a BFPO number. Perhaps a philatelist would know.:cool2:

When I first saw this - MELF57 - I thought something was wrong cos Derna was MELF8!!! It was probably  BFPO!

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On 2/14/2017 at 7:49 PM, BlueBelle said:

Pssst! Want to see some gas cylinders? An MRA1 too, well, just the rear end anyway. Hmmm, with gas cylinders close by, that must surely be the Welding Truck? Elf n Safety springs to mind; free standing gas cylinders are a no-no, as are cylinders lying down, especially if they're acetylene! Goodness gracious, how do i know about stuff like that, I hear you ask. Well, just look me up on LI or my business website. I wrote the script and handbook for Air Products' 'Safe use of Oxy Acetylene' safety video and ... the safety handbook for industrial and analytical gases.

After the children, naturally. :laugh:

More ghibli damage in the desert.

Photos by Wilf Harrison 2RTR/REME

 

You would have been surprised at just how many Military - 50s to 60s - did not know about the DA Cylinders!!! Mind you - in my 12 plus years service - I never met anybody who could weld!!!!

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On 2/14/2017 at 7:56 PM, Richard Farrant said:

 

The cylinders lying on the rack are marked 'welding oxygen'. they are smaller diameter than the acetylene which are standing. I think it was acetylene that should not be laid down as it is liquid and a filling of kapok if I think back nearly 50 years when taught gas welding.

I think that the cylinders would have been used for cutting . This was the  - nearly 100% - use in REME workshops that I was part of. Mind you, some of the Civies could weld!

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10 hours ago, Morris C8 said:

Photos came in the post of Libya 1969.

Keith

Libya 1969. kb.jpg

Libya on the range kb.jpg

Libya 1969 back of photos.jpg

Yep, I bought some too! Most of the batches on offer are not up to much and the photos are in the main, not of 2RTR but are of 3RGJ ....taken by a 3RGJ person I suspect who was an officer trying to impress his CO.... I didn't buy the COs photos! The Capt. with the CO in two of those photos lives. The occasion of the exercise was for 2RTR's Battlegroup to practice their warfare skills, unfettered by BAOR/UK constraints as that's where they were ordinarily based. The vehicles you see are not 2RTR ones but are those of the exercise stockpile at 10 Ord Depot El Adem..... Camp Alpha or sometimes known as St Barbara's Camp..... she being the RAOC patron saint. The APCs, Ferrets and Wombats (yes, Wombats, not Mobats or anything else) were not 3RGJs either, just more stockpile stuff. Everything picked up from the stockpile and returned, even more worn out, at End Ex. Anyway....this was not Tripolitania 😂

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10 hours ago, Edward William Jones said:

Was this near Ttimimi? Between Derna and Tobruk?

No, not really.

Camp Chatham, 20 miles west of the Knightsbridge cross tracks.

Troops would often leaguer at a twin rock feature known as 'Pindar's Tits' near Wadi El Mra.

The two 'hillocks' to be seen from afar were so named long before the big-boobed model, Lucy Pinder of allegedly Page 3 fame was born. Some well-read wag in a WW2 or soon thereafter Cyrenaica HQ saw the likeness of the breast-like mounds to lines orated by the Greek poet Pindar when he claimed that Cyrene was to be built upon the chalk-white breasts of Libya. If you also look at a map of Libya, the 'lump' on which Cyrene and surrounds protrudes into the sea is also breast shaped. Hence, Pindar's Tits and certainly not Lucy Pinder's Tits or with an 'e'. History is a mystery, even when written down ..... somewhere!   ☺️

 

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