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Have you traced or are you attempting to trace the military history of your vehi

John Blackman

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If you've attempted to trace the military history of your vehicle - successfully or unsuccessfully, any era, any country of manufacture - I'd appreciate hearing from you. I'm hoping to get some individual case studies for a forthcoming feature in Classic Military Vehicle mag.


You can post something here, pm me, or email direct to johnblackman@ntlworld.com


Thanks guys and best wishes for 2008





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I traced the history of our Spartan. I found out it was used in Kosovo by 26 Engineer Regiment, so posted an article on the 26 Engineer Regiment forum. A few days later I was sent photos of it out there by a former crew man.



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Jeep chassis and front body sections , all match. 1942 Willys but British army jeep, possibly part of the Lend/Lease. Rebuild date and garage that rebuilt it in the fifties. Vehicle based Leamington Spa area post war. Chassis and parts found in a hedge in a museum field in East Anglia somewhere before they came into my possesion.

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UPDATED - 29/12/07


I have a little info about my M201, but not much. Not exactly its military history, but certainly a background to the vehicles history.


My jeep was an early build M201, using several recycled Willys parts and starting its life as a 6 volt jeep. It carried the Army chassis number 5792, and its Hotchkiss serial number is 6560. This indicated that is was the 6560th vehicle made, and left the factory in December 1958. When first issued to the Army, it bore the registration 031 026. At some point after, it was upgraded to a 12 volt system with a second battery between the two front seats.


Jeep as first found

width=300 height=225http://www.sacarr.co.uk/jeep/jeep1.JPG[/img]


Eight years later, it went to be rebuilt by E.R.G.M. at La Maltournée near Paris.It was given the MALT job number 28196, and after rebuild, bore the registration 265-0439, and it is fitted with a rebuild plate dated 3rd June, 1966. I am guessing that this is the date of the completion of the rebuild. It was also converted to 24 volts.


At some point, perhaps during the factory rebuild, the jeep received a 'Sahara Jeep' screen. This can be distinguished by the spotlight bracket on the left frame of the screen. A light sanding reveals sand coloured paint below the olive and primer. The Sahara Jeep was not an Army modification, but a production line variant.


The jeep was also converted at some point to carry radios, and the mounting holes remain in the rear wheel arches showing where the radio trays were attached. In the following few years, it received a replacement gearbox, possibly towards the end of 1969 or early 1970.The gearbox rebuild plate is dated 21/05/69, the gearbox rebuild being completed by ERGM in Vannes, on the western coast of France.


After I bought my DSLR camera, it allowed me to get a clear photo of the engine data plate. I also found the original Willys engine serial number - MB 465 640, and block casting number 8-18 638632 W5 NI-CR N1, from August 18th 1944. The engine rebuild was undertaken by yet another branch of ERGM at Clermont Ferrand in central France. The picture revealed a rebuild date of what appears to be 6/7/87, suggesting the vehicle was still in army service at this date.


This date seems to fit in with the markings on the jeep as it was found in February 2005. The grey/white circle, with the black broken 'O', on the side of the jeep was a recognition marking used in the 1980's. Only a few of the jeeps remaining in French Army service carried this marking. While still being in service in the late 1980's, it can't have been used off base. To comply with modern French traffic regulations in late 1985, the tail and stop lights were revised on vehicles used on the roads. My Jeep still had the original light units, hence my reasoning it wasn't used off base.


In the late 1980's or early 90's, the jeep was selected for long term storage, and the engine bay components were sealed to keep moisture out. It was sold at auction from Toulouse in the year 2000, and was viewable at the Army Camp at Muret, prior to the sale. It may or may not have served with the Army at Muret, but is most likely to have served in that general area. It was lot number 79 at the sale on 27th of January.


I bought it from a dealer in Scotland in February 2005.


Seen here at Christmas 2005

width=500 height=388http://www.sacarr.co.uk/jeep/homepic.JPG[/img]




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I have 2 Wartime vehicles. The history of both is very difficult to trace. All I have is :-


Ford WOT2 - Built early 1943, as I found the serial number under the paint, and I also found an Imperial War Museum photo of another WOT2 of the same contract number (S2019) at Ford in Dagenham with the date written on the tyre. Therefore I can calculate that my WOT2 was built around Easter 1943. I know that it was sold off in 1945 as I found the original Garage that bought it for use as a breakdown truck. No markings on the vehicle, so I think it never had any Army use.


Ford WOA2 - Don't know when it was built, but must have been late 1943 or early 1944 as the contract (V5000) was completed then. It had an accident when in Army use, as there was a panel added to the back. When I removed this, I found an RAOC badge and a headquarters badge. It also revealed green, gloss green and sand paint, so I assume it was meant to go to Suez when the accident happened. I know it was sold off in 1958 and registered 12 months later in 1959. It did have a re-registration plate on the chassis.


Reasons why British Wartime vehicles are difficult to trace are that Ford have little or no records of production and that the records held by Deepcut only have the serial numbers of the vehicles if you have the post-war re-registration number.

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Like Chris I too posted a message on my Ferret's regimental website (25 Fd RA) and through that got in touch with the guy who was its driver during most of the 1980's. Am hoping to meet up with him this year and get some photos of him beside it now - not managed to get any of it in service yet though

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Hi John,


I have the full history of my Lightweight Land Rover provided by the Museum of Army Transport before it colsed and the records went to Deepcut.


My Lightweight 49HG92 was used by the 4th Field Regt RA from November 1982 before going to the 7th Para RHA in March 1984 and they used it till December 1990 when it was sold off.

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I have made some attempts to find out the history of my Valentine but as always, there are some bits missing.

i know exactly which building on the ex Metro Cammel site it was built in 1943 and have taken some then and now photos of my tank in the same location in comparison with wartime photo's.

After being handed over to the Army, it was used for a single series of practice launching and landing and recorded 122 miles. Not sure where this training was but sunk in Studland Bay there are 2 Mk IX's, one with an earlier and one with a later census number so as they were allocated in batches, it is possible that my tank was used at Studland. That would be in 1944

After this use, it was returned to Metro Cammel for a full rebuild, new wheels, tracks, bearings etc. Tank goes into store until 1946 when it is sold (no details of where, maybe Ruddington).

Purchased by G R Mole Brothers, surplus dealers of Clows Top, Kidderminster. They sell it to Harry Ellard in 1947 for £450 along with a set of tools for £15 and a Mk III Valentine hull, also for £450. (This Valentine was restored by Tony Budge and now resides in Virginia.)

Harry Ellard gets the tanks in 1948 and immediately cuts off the DD equipment and the turret which is cut into about 6 pieces. This is all thrown outside in a scrap pile. The hull of the Mk III is left alone for some reason. Other parts also removed from DD but the basic hull stayed in the factory unit until Harry Ellard died on Christmas Day 1983. His effects were auctioned off July 10 1984 when I bought my tank and the tools. Also included was the original handbook with the G R Mole receipt in the flyleaf. Cut off pieces retrieved from the scrap pile and a very long restoration started.

I still hope to find out where my tank was used for training by trawling official documents.

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Is it likely that Deepcut Barracks would have the records for my Humber Pig, i have the military reg number etc, but it was released from service in 1967 prior to N Ireland kicking off, other than that i have no idea where it was used and with which units.

Would it be worth sending £25 (Non refundable) to find out they dont have records for that period etc and what exactly do you get back from the search? :|

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Yesterdays BBC internet news had it that they are considering closing Deepcut. What happens to the remaining records then? I can just see them being tossed into the nearest skip as a matter of expediency. :-(


Did see Andy Robertshaw and asked him about this. he was quite relaxed and assured me that 1 It's about 5 years away and 2 the museum and records will be kept. The more people support the place the better. It really is a super little museum. I've posted some bits on the museums battlefeilds bit.
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