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British vehicle marking, any ideas?


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This is interesting. Certainly the vehicle is Royal Artillery and, from the “44” belonging to a field regiment RA of an infantry division in NW Europe 44-45. But the RA identifying plate has the red in the first, ie top right, quadrant making it the first, or senior, battery of the regiment whereas the “GE” suggest it is the vehicle of the gun position officer (GPO), the “G” of the 5th, the “E”, Troop which would be in the 3rd battery (so the red quadrant should be bottom left, which it isn’t!). Ho Hum!

 

None of this answers your question, though.

 

Your question is, however, answered in Dick Taylor’s “Warpaint” books, which are an excellent reference for this sort of thing. Have a look at pages 122 - 127 in Volume 4 where he describes these numbers as allocated to each unit within the field force, irrespective of their size - thus each unit had a unique numerical identifier which could be used for movement control or identification.

 

Dick Taylor says he has lists of these numbers extending to over 400 pages, but, regrettably the examples he has offered in his book do not include 24720. But, there is a photograph of an RA Canadian Ford or Chevrolet Quad with a similar number, 24300, in Italy in 1943 and that is identified as belonging to 146 Field Regiment RA.

 

But, if the fact that your number is not included in his book, Dick Taylor makes ample recompense by informing us that 18132 identified No3 Boring Unit. 51704 meanwhile was at the other end of the spectrum as it was 204 Independent Rivetting Company. 61977 was that of the New Zealand Matron in Chief and 64713 belonged to No8 Pig Farm (Breeding)!

 

All good stuff, eh?

 

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The really interesting thing for me in this picture are the tyres. The front o/s is a mid to late 30s tread pattern,often seen on BEF vehicles but seldom later. The spare is an American bar grip pattern which is the only time I have seen a tyre of this pattern on a British vehicle during WW2. What a contrast and reassurance for those driving an MW on bar grip tyres !

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The (fuller) info on the other site says '441 Battery, 124th Regt RA, F and E Troop Comanders Vehicles', maybe this has some bearing on the red/blue position? But thanks for the info, interesting stuff.

 

If you google "441 Battery, 124th Regt RA" you will find a PowerPoint presentation on them which includes photographs of some of the officers (you might be able to match faces) and another close-up of a Bedford MW 15cwt with the same 24720 number on the right front wing. Should be suitable confirmation of the unit identity. Given that the regiment seemed, from the ORBAT included in the PPT, to be awash with 15cwt trucks, quite why poor old F and E tp comds had to share a truck is beyond me! But I still don't think the markings quite add up as 441 Bty was the second bty of the regt, so the red is still in the wrong quadrant. All interesting stuff.

 

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