Jump to content

Humber 1 ton truck 1953 APC FV1611B MK1 'PIG' 13BK56 question about history

Recommended Posts


I am not sure this is the correct method/posting place to ask this question but i am a new member, so any guidance welcome.

Recently I became the very happy owner of what I believe is a MK1 Humber PIG model FV1611B displaying military registration 13BK56. I have seen from searches that some information on the truck was provided by a Mr Clive Elliot who pops up a lot and clearly knows his stuff. It was great to find this and see confirmation that it was once located at the Grange Caverns Military museum Holywell. I have however not managed to find any history relating to its military services. To date I have searched on forums, enthusiast groups, checked every old photo and video recording i can find; i have also tried the Merlin archives. I found a fair bit out which was good but on the military side nothing other than when it entered service 1953, ended service 1970 and was sold off also 1970. I need to go through the full check list but I think it is an RUC spec MK1?

My question is, can anyone give me advice on the best way/ways to research the trucks military history? Or any other information so i can create a timeline record that can accompany the vehicle into the future (not that I will be parting with it any time soon).

I am located in Dudley, West Midlands if any service men recognise her and would like a reunion in exchange for anything they can tell me.

Thank you for your time... I've attached a couple of recent images.


13BK56 2019 after restoration by Alun.jpg


13bk56 2022 current.jpg

13bk56 2022 rear.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 I checked the loans file for vehicles lent to the GRANGE CAVERN COLLECTION a number of vehicles were lent  by the RCT via THE MUSEUM OF army transport including  HUMBER PIGS the one that has the most interesting history is 30 BK 09 which in 1991 was the subject of great interest by the MOD


Link to comment
Share on other sites

yours 13 BK 56 was recovered from GRANGE CAVERN  by 119 COY REME based in  PRESTATYN north WALES not to far from LIVERPOOL  As to  30 BK 09   OR  is that   27 BK 39 was the question but the reason for all the interest would have made a bloody good film  ?

Edited by wally dugan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Kevin Julian said:

it entered service 1953, ended service 1970 and was sold off also 1970. I need to go through the full check list but I think it is an RUC spec MK1?

Kevin as you probably realise it didn't enter service as a Pig in 1953 but as an unarmoured CT Truck FV1601B. It would only have become a Pig in the 1959/60 period. Trying to zoom in on the photos but I think the bodywork is from ROF (Royal Ordnance Factories) rather than Sankey. But if you can post a picture of the cab contract plate plate below the passenger's window you can tell by the serial number prefixed by ROFN (ROF Nottingham), ROFW (ROF Woolwich) or S (Sankey).

Not an RUC spec, the ten FV1609A delivered to the MoHA for use by the RUC Reserve Force were delivered in 1958.  32 BK 87 got returned to the Army & replaced with a standard Army Mk1 13 BK 01. This had some RUC adaptations most noticeable being an adjustable height barricade ram. It could be set close to the ground to prevent beer kegs etc being rolled under the vehicle. A lessen not learnt by the Army when they designed their barricade ram!

The RUC ram was slightly snow plough shaped to help spread obstructions sideways. As this was a fairly uncommon adaptation (I have seen one other so fitted) it was used as a front-line vehicle & consequently was a well photographed Pig, it was registered as 3071 EZ. Sad to say, there is a bogus Pig around bearing this registration which as a Mk2 is shear fantasy.

There was a prototype Army Mk1 07 BK 65 that was loaned to the RUC from in 4/5/60 to copy for the manufacture of armoured roofs & other fittings this was not on active service & returned to the Army on 14/9/61

I have a lot of Pig pictures but the only one I have is of yours when I saw it at The Grange. I have the ledger & sales details of yours, but I don't have anything of its service history. I can dig out what I have got but no idea when & where I posted any details, perhaps post what you have got & I can add anything I've not mentioned before.

Did you make the wings, side lockers & light guards or was it the previous owner, they are awkward things to fabricate & does it still have the winch?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, wally dugan said:

I checked the loans file for vehicles lent to the GRANGE CAVERN COLLECTION a number of vehicles were lent  by the RCT via THE MUSEUM OF army transport including  HUMBER PIGS the one that has the most interesting history is 30 BK 09 which in 1991 was the subject of great interest by the MOD.

Wally I see from the Chilwell ledger it was SO to Beverley on 24/2/83. It had a spell in Cyprus when it was a Mk1. I wonder what was the interest in 1991?


30 BK 09 b.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kevin thanks for posting that, as it has saved me dredging up the info again. Yes a working winch on a Pig is quite rare these days.

The contract plate shows the serial no. ROFN 353 so that is ROF (as I guessed from a characteristic of some armour pieces) & from Nottingham which looks like contract 6/VEH/27504.

That is the highest SN I have seen for a ROFN. The thing is there were 1,700 Pigs built by the three facilities. Yet I have seen S 949 & ROFW 903, so I am trying to figure out how SNs were allocated between the three.

Don't worry about what I'm going to say as most people would not notice or care about the details. But to a nit-picker it can be seen that the front wings have been made with no lockers & the wing tops have sagged under the weight of people kneeling into the engine. I found the bench seat from a FV432 was ideal for this & saves sore knees. Anyway the wing should be supported underneath by cruciform U-channels & any sagging of the plate would show this X pattern. Mk2 Pigs that had damaged wings were replaced of a thicker metal sheet with no lockers & two parallel U-channel supports underneath.

The rear lockers should have a long piano hinge so that the top 5in or so could fold down towards the wheel arch to allow easier access. The lower part of the rear should have small side lockers on each side.

It would be interesting see what your chassis plate looks like when you view it on near side with your head in front of the wheel. You might like to compare yours with the pictures of what is marked up as 13 BK 56 that has structural similarities.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Clive, I might tackle those lockers in time. Originality works for me. The photo is the same vehicle when it was advertised (2018) by Alun who did much of the restoration. It's since been repainted to what was thought to be original issue green. Daylight picture todayIMG_20221210_145648.thumb.jpg.7d0ad7098fc9f89136d41f8754330b71.jpg before she goes into the garage. Do you know if there is a physical archive somewhere that might have it's service history?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Clive, i need to correct myself. Seems the wings and probably the rear lockers were already on the vehicle when Alun found it in the scrapyard. Looking at the museum imagine they look the same. Also interestingly the museum imagine at least to me, seems to show fading on the paintwork indicating the outline of a rear canvas cover. Were these canvas covers standard on MK1's?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kevin I think I had got myself confused going on about 30 BK 09, but is was at least an excuse for an unusual Pig picture engaged with the civil authority in Cyprus I think.

The colour of yours looks fine high gloss deep bronze green although shades of even genuine paint can vary considerably particularly with manufacturer.

Someone once told me the canvas was to downgrade the appearance of the Pig so it didn't look armoured, which is complete nonsense. The idea was for insulation from the Sun in that there is a layer of air created by the rails supporting the canvas from the armoured body. Historically it rather blends in with the FV1609 that had just a canvas rear cover. Yes it would be appropriate to have a canvas on yours, if you want one I can put you in touch with someone who may still have some NOS ones. There are pictures of BAOR where troops have stuffed general baggage under the canvas for storage. Embarrassingly I have seen owners of Mk2 Pigs fit them which is utterly ridiculous.

There were a lot of driver's comfy seats around, these were remade for NI & most were in a horrible puce green that looks quite daft in a Mk1. I still have some canvas passenger seats which were fairly common as they were used in some folding stools, rarer are the passenger seat canvas backs I think I may have one or two.

The front & rear lockers are very rare, for years I had some NOS with labels still attached. Then someone bought them all I'm afraid. The front ones would be the most difficult to make because they have pressed edges. The rear ones could be a bit easier but even the proper lids give another avenue for water. It is no coincidence that the front & rear lockers had drain holes!

Unfortunately RLC archives don't list having your B Card. Although you may be able to recover some unit or divisional markings on the front plate overlying the radiator & the rear doors. The problem is that many owners will get the armour sandblasted without any thought of trying to recover the history that may lie beneath waiting to be discovered by those who take the history seriously.

I see that yours correctly has only the three antenna mounts. I have seen a fourth one added on the rear off side because it was thought to be missing. But this was only added when an FFW was being upgraded to FFR & no FFWs had a winch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, Kevin Julian said:

All good stuff thank you. I'd love to get a canvas if you could let me have the details please. I'm not sure now original the interior is, I'm told it suffered in the caverns. Current interior image attached. Thank you.


Your truck would have suffered at the Cavern Museum ,  I went there - the main reason to view the LRDG Chevrolet  (now with IWM)  .  ISTR the nearest you could approach was 2m , considering the well preserved state ex-Libya  - I was shocked by dampness on this & other vehicles - the garaging climate was not good , seemed to me the  'authorities'  were more £ commercial than interested in corrosion prevention.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your cab looks petty complete & the seats original. The driver's seat looks good but the passengers canvases have faded badly & the back rest ripped. I need to check but I may be able to help. What are the rear seats like?

I'll PM you the roof canvas seller in case he only has one left & someone beats you to it.

Where are you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kevin nice to see the machete holder still in place & the period fire extinguisher. There should be a reinforced canvas cover surrounding the gear box boot. It looks as if you have got the spare periscope holder for No.17 Mk1 or Mk3 (don't know what happened to Mk2) that is quite rare to see.

The rear woodwork is neat & ingeneous, but not original. Mk2 Pigs did have wooden bench seats but they were quite substantial. The seats for Mk1 were made of canvas filled with "horse hair" supported on a steel frame.

The wooden dividing panels are correct & were generally painted in aluminium like yours. Don't be tempted to paint the seats in this as the correct anti-inflamable aluminium paint doesn't dry like it does on metal. (I painted some woodwork on a Hornet & it had never completely "dried" after 14 years). So even if you used a silvery Hammerite on the seats it would look odd,  even Mk2 seats were not painted in aluminium, they were either varnished or painted red.

The frames that have been made for yours, I just wonder if they go a little too far forward in that they might be blocking the access to the small floor panels that cover a small locker on each side? Unfortunately you can't have the big underfloor locker under the large rear panel as the winch lives there of course.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Clive, thanks for all your help to date

Could you help guide me on what is probably a simple question. 13BK56 is in good working order so I've started the process of getting her road registered. The MVT 'who i have to say have been very helpful' are assisting on this.

Question - Amongst other things, I need to send the MVT a photo of the chassis plate/number. But where is it? I do not think its the contract plate in the cabin as i have a note of the chassis number  and it doesn't match anything there.

I really need to get a manual to tell me these things and stop me from doing things like unwinding the winch under the truck. This happened because i didn't know what the little lever next to the driver seat was 'PTO it turns out'. I was looking for the fuel tank diverter value. Pleased to say I figured both out and managed to neatly rewind the winch with the help of a friend who held onto the cable end keeping it under tension.

13BK56 winch.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kevin the chassis plate is on the vertical face of the chassis that can be viewed when you kneel down with your head in front of the near side front wheel.

I think the fuel tank switch is the opposite to logic (for reasons of easier plumbing) in that the lever end pointing to the left is the RHS tank. The lever pointing ahead is the LHS tank.

When my second Pig was recovered for re-introduction into service, someone thought that it should be wired in a similar manner to a Land Rover. This meant I was reading the fuel level in the tank that was not in use. Just check nothing like that has been done with yours!

UHB is WO Code No 12246

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Thank you for that Andy. Clive very kindly gave me the details of someone with a few mk1 canvas covers, i have already picked two up; not sure these will ever appear again. They are old new stock, look great on the vehicle, image attached after fitting. The gent on ebay (BB Engineering) is the same seller, i think digging them out for me prompted him to list the rest. They are great quality, i even love the staining from long term storage; antique dealers call it patina. Thanks again for the thought.

FV1611B new old stock canvas.jpg

  • Like 2
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...