Jump to content

Saracen with a Goldfish bowl on the turret.


Recommended Posts

I used to be in a TA Royal Engineer Airfield unit based at RAF Leeming.

As par of our vehicle allcation we had 2 Saracens initially from about 1989 to 1992 

These bits of armour had all been modified with a Plexiglas cupola over the commanders position.

This was to enable better visibility when doing a recce for bomb damage on the runways, but did create vehicle access problems.

The vehicles had no other purpose other than airfield use.

Does anyone have any photos of these vehicles so fitted?


Similar vehicles may have been at Marham, Coningsby, Waddington, Coltishall, Honington, North Luffenham, Lossiemouth or Kinloss.


Edited by ploughman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

Found something similar eventually, but not a Saracen.

A 432 that appears to be ex RAF or was an RE vehicle that worked on Airfields.

The Cupola is of a similar type to the one I am looking for a photo of.


Photo taken on the BONESS Railway near Edinburgh and due to be moved to Bovington.

Registration seems to be 21 GB XR may be wrong.


RAF 432 + Observation turret.jpg

Edited by ploughman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This FV432 is indeed one of the prototypes and is significantly different to the series production ones. Its registration is actually 216 BXR which is has always carried. It never had an army registration though the Pre-Production FV430s (with 'W' numbers) did have army registrations (from 03DA04 to 03DA30 I believe). It has resided at the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway near Edinburgh where that photo was taken but is being returned to Bovington. Once Fv432 production was established P4 went to FVRDE at Chertsey where it was used for experiments into hydrostatic steering transmissions and other projects. Amongst other details the running gear is directly taken from the last version of FV420, with narrower road wheels, lighter suspension arms and lighter sprockets. The rubber track pads are also smaller than FV430 series. The yellow stripe was simply to make it more visible in the camp and on the test track. The armoured engine louvres were replaced by wire mesh and the perspex cupola was added to give a little driver comfort. There is a photo of it in William Suttie's excellent book 'The Tank Factory' which is a history of Chertsey.


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Inspection teams would be out within minutes of an All Clear being given.

There would be the liklihood of AP mines, Bomblets and other nasties scattered around.

Tracked or Wheeled the purpose would be the same and  that would be to ascertain the damage done to the airfield to enable a plot of a minimum operating strip for the planes.

In some cases there was also the possibility of the use of a helicopter but ground vehicle provision was always provided.

As an example this is RAF North Luffenham from Google.

The Airfield was used as a training centre for the inspection teams, this would have included all types of damage.



Edited by ploughman
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have no connection to and have never met William Suttie but I found his book to be packed with information that I find interesting and is also very well laid out and easy to read. I thoroughly recommend it if you have a technical interest in armoured vehicles. It is also not very expensive and easy to find on Ebay !


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...