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RAF Bedford QLC Fuel Tankers


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Posted (edited)

I have a question to RAF MT or Bedford experts. 

Recently I found in some books 3 photos of Bedford QLC bowsers (dated late 1944 to mid-1945), which all seem to show late-war 850gal fuel/100gal oil versions. They look very much the same, however they have different RAF Type numbers on the door:
1. 'Type 1307' - registration RAF 106887  
2. 'Type 1308' (or 1306?) and registration seems to be RAF 106865 (not certain of the last digit, might be also 6 or 😎
3. 'Type 2400' - no registration visible 

Does anyone know the difference between these 3 types? Different types of fuel carried? PTO-driven pumps?

Reportedly the listing of the RAF types is in the 'Wheels of the RAF' book by Bruce Robertson, but unfortunately I don't have it.

I'd appreciate any help or any information that could help solve that puzzle.

Michal

Edited by mskaw
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From quoted book

Type 1307 = 1000 Gallons fuel tanker

Type 1308 = 2000 Gallons fuel tanker

Type 2400 = Petrol and oil refuellers

Type 1306 = Mobile operations room

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Posted (edited)

Thank you very much, that explains a lot.

Obviously Bedford bowser couldn't be possibly 1308 or 1306. So perhaps someone made a mistake writing the number on the door. Or maybe I misread it and it's 1508 or 1506? 

I attach photo for reference, I guess it is fair use if I add source. It is from Polish Wings no 16 on Spitfire XVI by Wojtek Matusiak, page 37.

Would you be so kind and check also 1508 and 1506 for me?

PSPW16_-_037b.jpg

Edited by mskaw
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Posted (edited)

1506 and 1508 not shown/used,  perhaps it should read 1329 as these were 550 gallon fuel tanker.

Interesting picture, no booms to refueller, although I don't know when they were/were not used. That looks like 1308 on the door, maybe an error when being marked up pre invasion, presumably the picture was taken in '44 or later?

Edited by super6
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Agree it might just be an error.

Photo was taken in the spring-summer 1945 in occupied Germany.

As for booms - it seems to me they were introduced on Bedfords only post-war. Or at least I haven't found any WW2-era photos of Bedfords with booms.

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30 minutes ago, mskaw said:

Thank you very much, that explains a lot.

Obviously Bedford bowser couldn't be possibly 1308 or 1306. So perhaps someone made a mistake writing the number on the door. Or maybe I misread it and it's 1508 or 1506? 

I attach photo for reference, I guess it is fair use if I add source. It is from Polish Wings no 16 on Spitfire XVI by Wojtek Matusiak, page 37.

Would you be so kind and check also 1508 and 1506 for me?

PSPW16_-_037b.jpg

Lovely photo.

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I would say that says Type 1308 . I have a copy of the short lived Air Ministry Order listing TYPES-  it was a totally useless system - like many thing I experienced in my 39 years in the RAF so nothing I read or see surprises me; The subject of the photo is a Fuel and oil bowser  850 gal of fuel and 100 gal oil. oil was dispensed through a hand pump mounted on the nearside of the vehicle.   There are 2 other types of QL bowser and both are listed in their relevant docs as 950 gal:   However in other RAF publications  there is mention of a 950 gal and a 1000 gal fuel bowser. ??   TED.

 

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Posted (edited)

Maybe 1000gal is just a rounding? Anyway I've seen mention of 1000gal only with the earliest version of Bedfords, but these also could have been actually 950 gal. Here is the listing of the Bedford tanker versions I've found so far:

1. Early version, 1000 (or 950 in reality?) gal of fuel with PTO-driven pump. Pump at the back of vehicle accessible through rectangle doors. Hose storage lockers at the sides, entire length of bowser.


2. Mid-production version, 950 gal of fuel, two Zwicky pumps and their engine (3hp Bradford or P5XC Stuart-Turner) accessible through left-side access door. Pumping control valves, suction valve and filter through right-hang access door. Fuel hoses in the lockers in the back of the vehicle.  


3. Mid-production version, 850 gal of fuel and 100 gal of oil. Same as above, but with additional longitudinal container at the top of the vehicle for oil hoses. Manual pump for oil.


4. Late-production version, 850 gal of fuel and 100 gal of oil (post-war classification: 16A/699). Two Zwicky pumps and their engine (P5XC Stuart-Turner) at the back of vehicle accessible through full-height doors. 2 longitudinal containers at the top of the vehicle - left for oil hoses, right for fuel hoses. Manual pump for oil.    


5. Similar to above (850/100), but with 3 booms and fuel and oil pumped through engine-driven pumps. Left and right outer booms for fuel, middle one for oil (post-war classification: 16A/700)


6. Same as above, but with oil tank not used (only 850 gal of fuel) and middle boom removed/not mounted (only 2 booms for fuel left).  


7. 850 gal AVTUR version for jet fuel with some additional cylindrical elements (with fuel pipes going through them before reaching booms) behind the cabin. Some kind of filters? I've seen versions with both 2 and 3 booms, but never seen the middle (oil) boom in use, so I presume even if present it wasn't used (post-war classification: 16A/1297 defines it as 850gal AVTUR tanker, no mention of oil) 


8. 950 gal version with PTO-driven pump (post-war classification: 16A/1393) - never seen one like that, but I presume it might be the same as version 1 (or maybe early version 2 also had a PTO-driven pump). I don't know. 


9. Water tanker. Filling and emptying by gravity. Filling through a top manhole with a domed cover and emptying being through 2in. valves, one fitted either side. I've seen 2 factory photos, but not in actual RAF use so far. 

 

The one in the photo is version 4.

 

Michal

Edited by mskaw
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Posted (edited)

Hi Michal,   In my previous I only mentioned the 3 basic types I knew were in service in WW2:  

I dug out my data book sheets  ; 

 1. concur- plus my memory is going daft as  the data book confirms this was 1000 gal.  16A/542

2. concur 16A/541

3. I will have to dig further into my photos but could just be same as 4.

4. concur 16A/699

5. concur 16A/ 700

6.

7.concur 16A/1297  850 gal AVTUR  yes large cyl items are the Stream-Line filters required for Turbine( jet) fuels . data sheet shows positions for 3 booms but centre not fitted; note this has full size rear double doors to access engine & pump compartment.

8. yes this is 16A/1393 950 gal AVTUR  this one is PTO  and the Stream-Line filters are consequently mounted in the rear compartment which has full size rear double doors. This is built with provision for just 2 booms and is exactly as projected in the Airfix plastic kit ! 

9.concur this is  16A 710 is a 1000gal water for photographic units.  this must have been overloaded as 1000 of water is nearly 4.5 tons ?

 I will have to dig further as I have photos of boomless refuelling jets ? and possibly other that don't match the above.

 

TED.

 

Edited by ted angus
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1 hour ago, ted angus said:

9.concur this is  16A 710 is a 1000gal water for photographic units.  this must have been overloaded as 1000 of water is nearly 4.5 tons ?

 

 

Hi Ted,

In answer to your quote above, I had to smile as Bedford used to put in there adverts many years ago, "good for a 50% overload". !!!

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Posted (edited)

Thank you, Ted. That solves some of the mysteries.

 

Some additional, visual info:

1. Early version, 1000 gal of fuel with PTO-driven pump. Hoses probably stored in the storage boxes at the sides, entire length of bowser.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210397

Peek inside (no motor for pumps, as they were PTO-driven). Note rectangular door:

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205219422

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205449968

 

2. Mid-production version, 950 gal of fuel, two Zwicky pumps and their engine (3hp Bradford or P5XC Stuart-Turner) accessible through left-side access door.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212464

Pumping control valves, suction valve and filter through right-hand access door.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205188486

Fuel hoses in the lockers in the back of the vehicle.  Note door in an irregular pentagon shape. Photo found on Internet many years ago, the website no longer exists and I can't find any other versions online now. If anyone has a credit for this one, let me know. 

135663628_Wersja2-2.thumb.png.0278201fde90d5cb1319ffdb486f74a1.png

 

3 - Mid-production version, 850 gal of fuel and 100 gal of oil. Same as above, but with additional longitudinal container at the top of the vehicle for oil hoses. Additional walkways above access doors at left. 

Small fragment of a photo from 'Spitfire IX & XVI of Polish Airmen' by Wojtek Matusiak, p.79 (heartily recommended). Same door shape, access door at left for engine and pumps. Additional walkway above (to facilitate reaching the container above).

1299550544_Wersja3-000.jpg.25dde37d2e86612d6c8ed11777fc909d.jpg

And a small fragment of photo from the same book, page 78. No doubt additional container was for oil hoses:

458233477_Wersja3-1a.thumb.png.d2e4473e81eba701c27a2982505a4eff.png

 

 

4. Late-production version, 850 gal of fuel and 100 gal of oil (post-war classification: 16A/699). Two Zwicky pumps and their engine (P5XC Stuart-Turner) at the back of vehicle accessible through full-height doors. 2 longitudinal containers at the top of the vehicle - left for oil hoses, right for fuel hoses. Note full-height doors and manual pump for oil on nearside walkway.   

Here is one refuelling Meteors:

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211784

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211783

PBO on the door probably means it contains jet-fuel (does it have anything to do with adding PbO2 to the fuel?)

 

5. Unfortunately I only have the museum photos. Cosford example is this version. 

 

6. Same as above, but this time Duxford has this version. 

 

7. There are photos of 3-boom AVTUR examples in 'Machinery of Conflict, British Military Trucks of WWII' on pp.37-38. However, the middle one is not used. I guess it might be either unused or removed.

 

8. I haven't seen a photo of this one so far.

 

9. Photos can be found in 'Bedford to Berlin and Beyond' by Robert Coates on pp.55-56, although author doesn't clearly identify it as water bowser, it definitely is one, with simple manhole on the top for gravity filling, 2 valves in front of the rear axle (one each side) and only an auxilary motopump placed in the rear storage box.

 

10. Yes, it seems there existed boomless AVTUR versions, one can be found in 'RAF Ground Support Equipment Since 1918' by F.J. Adkin on p.90

 

I have some questions, maybe someone will know the answer:

a) For version 1 - does anyone know how these  storage boxes were opened? I suppose similar as in the RAF fuel trailers, but that's just a guess.

b) Manual oil pum used in versions 3 and 4 - I believe the ref. no. was A.P.4268A - does anyone know how it worked? I suppose the crew didn't operate it from the walkway, but put it on the ground before starting the tiresome, manual work.

c) Does anyone has any photos of version 5 in actual use by RAF?

Edited by mskaw
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A little more info to add :  here is a picture of a 16A/700  which is number 5. on your list.   The oil pump on your 4. 16A/699 is mounted on the walkway; described as a Zwicky double reciprocating hand pump.   

On your 3. I am wondering if the pump - one of the handles can be seen in the photo - is mounted but not plumbed in  plus the oil hose stowage box fitted to give a capability in the field but actually the oil is drawn from a 44 gal drum.  I used the later hand pump and certain models could be mounted with a hose and standpipe into a drum or the dip tube of the standpipe fitted to pump and the resulting assembly simply put into the drum ??    I would certainly be a lot of work to retro modify a 950 tank into a 850/100 - your thoughts . 

 

Bedford QL 850 petrol -100 oil 3 boom 16A 700.jpg

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Thank you,

The photo above seems to show AVTUR version with  Stream-Line filters. Is 16A/700 taken from the MT Vehicle Record Card? Maybe it simply was rebuild to AVTUR version later on? If I'm not mistaken QLs were no longer produced by then, so possibly all AVTUR were conversions of earlier models?

This is a good view of the pump (on version 4) and yes, both handles are visible in the photo of version 3 above:

985071148_Version4.jpg.4c331414e8df5bdebd79f9f0bd990dda.jpg

A screenshot from https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060021114 shows how the hose was connected to the (front) top of the bowser (again version 4) and then leading to the front  of the hand pump. Another hose is connected to the top of the pump and thrown over the top of the vehicle:

 919750166_139WingIWMARY36-1711m15s.thumb.png.6525ff2c51f4c2b61b0626d4e879de27.png

The hose seems to be too short to operate pump from the ground, on the other hand operating it from the walkway would certainly end up with some legs being broken. And another question would be of course if the pump was both to pump the oil into the bowser and out of it?

Was it also used to pump it into aircraft oil tanks? I'm especially not sure about the latter, as this is a photo from 139 Wing shows (320 Sqn to be precise, which was equipped with fuel/oil bowsers) - the oil distribution into the aircraft was by more traditional means (a screenshot from https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060021112 ):

2121506774_IWMARY36-153m26s.thumb.png.cb545ed7139ecbba9380764ea838e34d.png

 

I'm not sure if version 3 was a field retrofit (I can't imagine adding internal bulkhead inside the bowser in the field). I think they were made in the factory. And then factory moved to version 4 which was purely 850/100gal. Please note, that at least versions 1-5 I've tried to put chronologically as they more or less gradually show up on the RAF airfield photos.

 

Michal

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Posted (edited)

Hi Michal,  as hostilities came to an end there would have been a surplus of QL bowsers so as with many types, vehicles were selected for rebuild  for the medium to long term future requirements.  I would imagine 16A/ 700 started life as 16A/ 699 . My identification of  that  vehicle is taken by reference to the relevant data sheet  in AP 2782A.  and AP 2515A Vol 111- which is a huge cross reference document which lists complete vehicles by its 16A reference,   At the time of publication ( may 1946) only 4 QL bowsers are listed- 16A 541. 542 699 and 700.

Turning to the close up of the oil pump it appears that there are re-inforced areas each side of the pump on the walkway ?

By swapping the hoses  fuel could be drawn from a 44 gal drum and pumped into the bowser.  We can only assume that the connection on top of the bowser tank is to some sort of  internal stand pipe . Zwicky pumps of the day had the delivery outlet at the top of the pump body, so in the screen shot you posted the pump is set up to deliver from the tank. 

Now to version 3,  no  modifying the tank is a factory or exceptionally well equipped workshop task. drain vent and steam for several days, cut the end off the tank to gain access to the interior to weld in dividing wall. then pressure test with water , then drain vent , dry ! My thoughts are that the version 3 in your picture is a 950 with an acquired oil pump mounted on the bowser for convenience .

TED  

.

Edited by ted angus
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