BEF Vehicle Arm of Service Markings (GHQ and others)

Discussion in '1940' started by Rich Payne, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Well done Andrew. The list is certainly starting to show some patterns, isn't it ? I'd expected to see more black backgrounds at GHQ level. We have HQ, Artillery and ASC. Perhaps there will also have been blue RE ? It would be nice to see some bridging trucks.

    I have some very clear IWM phoney war images showing workshop 6x4s but with no serials visible (RAOC should also be on a black ground at this stage).

    The AEC isn't the easiest ID with the seller's markings across it but I don't think that it can be anything else.

    I'm in two minds about the beach photo. Either the poor little blighters had no parents any more or 'Papa' is on the beach pinching a couple of motorcycle wheels for his handcart. I've read a few Belgian accounts which suggest that civilians fell upon abandoned material like vultures once the fighting had passed (but of course they've had more than a thousand year's experience in being looted by passing armies and stealing back).
     
  2. May1940

    May1940 Senior Member

    Rich

    Looking at all the various 6x4s I think the AEC Marshall wheels are unique so that would confirm it.

    I have a few pics of other 6x4s. They include bridging vehicles but no AoS numbers. I do, however, have an interesting one of a Guy FBAX Wireless No 3 on the beach at Dunkirk. It has the clear number 64 with bar below on it. I think there is also a picture of the same vehicle being loaded on a ship on the way to France before being given its AoS plate. Look closely at the camouflage patterns ...

    As to what GHQ unit I just don't know.

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=41088&stc=1&d=1290439120

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=41089&stc=1&d=1290439120

    Andrew
     

    Attached Files:

  3. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    Fascinating pics-
    post 77 -Motorcycles, crankcases don't look like Triumph wonder if its something like a twin port Rudge ?
    Post 70- The Scammell has the overall chains on the rear wheels that make it into a half track ,unusual, wonder if its being on beach helping to build lorry piers , perhaps with the French tank with all the tow chains.
     
  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I think that you're right about the bike in #77 being a twin-port but I don't think it can be a Rudge with those damper springs on the lower lug. The front mudguard made me think of Edward Turner's influence and I suspect that it's probably a twin-port Ariel...Nice !
     
  5. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    Yes their seemed to be quite a lot of tasty bikes, impressed into service. I wonder if France is where all them beautiful military and civilian pre war ohv BSA V twins dissapeared to ?

    Knowing nothing about vehicle markings as this question will highlight :)
    Do the numbers on the AOS markings relate to the vehicle or the unit?
     
  6. May1940

    May1940 Senior Member

    Hi JCB

    The Arm of Service plate related to the unit - a regiment within a Division for example. That specific unit could only be identified by looking at the AoS plate in conjunction with the Divisional marking since the AoS plates were the same across different Divisions. Thus both 1st Division (white triangle) and 2nd Division (crossed keys) had units with an AoS with 17 on a green background. Only by seeing the Divisional marking would you know if the unit with 17 on green was 1st Loyals (in 1st Division) or 2nd Warwicks (in 2nd Division).

    There were also a series of AoS plates with a white bar above that were seen in conjunction with a Corps marking to identify Corps level units.

    If you look at Drew's post here http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/1940/8586-bef-1940-vehicle-markings-7.html you will see the relevant numbers and units listed for units in 1st Corps both at Corps level and at Divisional level.

    Finally there were a series of AoS plates with a white bar below that identified GHQ / Army level units. These were not seen in conjunction with any other marking because there was only one GHQ / Army level. No need to use the same AoS plate more than once.

    Each vehicle was identified by a vehicle number (such as T 7256 for a tank) and there were a few other markings also used to identify specific vehicles in different types of unit (particularly in the artillery). If you want to see some artillery markings, try Derek Barton's site RA 39-45 Markings

    Andrew
     
  7. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Yes their seemed to be quite a lot of tasty bikes, impressed into service. I wonder if France is where all them beautiful military and civilian pre war ohv BSA V twins dissapeared to ?

    There were some War Office V-twins in France but it is difficult to know how many. I have heard of parts turning up in France and I have a horribly coloured DVD which shows them during the phoney war. I'd suspect that front line units had exchanged them prior to 10th May.

    [​IMG]

    I have seen a picture of an OHC Norton in an RAOC workshop in France and there were certainly BSA 'Empire Stars' but there couldn't have been many 'Gold Stars' as they were made in such small quantities.

    The term 'Civilian Impressed' when applied to motorcycles seems mostly to have been used for factory stocks of non-WD machines and dealer stock - the variety of machines available meant they needed a reasonable batch to make it worthwhile.

    There are a lot of photographs of Germans on 'beute' BSA V-twins but these are usually Dutch contract bikes with valanced mudguards and hand change. Large stocks were captured in the Netherlands.
     
  8. JCB

    JCB Senior Member

    May 1940 and Rich thanks for info.
    Digressing off topic but not period ! heres some of them stylish war ministry BSA ohv V twins in 1939 in RAF service . A nattily attired 1939 Dutch army soldier on the archaic G14 sidevalve V- Twin and some Canadians in 1940 with a Norton ?
     

    Attached Files:

  9. rewdco

    rewdco Senior Member

    May 1940 and Rich thanks for info.
    Digressing off topic but not period ! heres some of them stylish war ministry BSA ohv V twins in 1939 in RAF service . A nattily attired 1939 Dutch army soldier on the archaic G14 sidevalve V- Twin and some Canadians in 1940 with a Norton ?

    Thanks for posting some motorcycle pictures JCB! :):):)
    Here's another (ex-)Dutch BSA V twin, under new ownership:

    [​IMG]

    The motorcycles in the third picture are BSA M20's, not Nortons. Nice pictures,thanks for sharing!

    Jan
     
  10. rewdco

    rewdco Senior Member

    Here's another Scammel Pioneer (two actually) from a German album on eBay some time back. It's displaying '135' from a GHQ series

    [​IMG]

    Wonderful axle articulation !:)

    Rich

    I love this picture. While I am looking at it I think I can see three Scammells. If you peer to the right and behind, below the '135' ...

    Surely the photographer took more than one shot of these. We need some clues about the guns and perhaps even the bridge classification would help. The pictures also show an early scheme for differentiating guns/vehicles within the regiment. That circle on the door is similar to those on Scammells in Taghon and to some on Dragons of 2 RHA in Pathe News shots. You can also just make out a symbol on the door of this dumped Scammell. Another puzzle if you are interested.

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=40124&d=1289234089

    Andrew

    Rich, Andrew,

    Here's another Scammel, unfortunately without any visible AoS markings, but this one also has that "circle on the door":

    [​IMG]

    And here's another one, albeit on the petrol tank of a late 1944 Royal Enfield WD/CO (source: http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/women-ww2/18668-anyone-know-what-bike.html)

    [​IMG]

    It would be nice if we could find out the meaning of these symbols as well! :D

    Jan
     
  11. rewdco

    rewdco Senior Member

    Don't know if the AoS line is on top or at the bottom in this picture... :confused:

    [​IMG]

    Jan
     
  12. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The rather gorgeous Humber 8cwt in #111 carries the 52nd Division Formation sign so there will be no corps or GHQ bar.

    It looks like a '15' which would mean, on a red ground that it was with 5th KOSBs.

    Is it Cherbourg ?
     
  13. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I found this Crossley on MLU. I assume that it's a 1940 image.

    [​IMG]

    I think that the census number begins L351*** and as it's not a Break-down or Derrick, presumably it is the Machinery version listed under contract V2778 (L351000 - L351035).

    The contrast on the AoS marking suggests to me that it is black and perhaps '48' is likely to relate to an Ordnance Field Park ?
     
  14. May1940

    May1940 Senior Member

    Jan

    I agree this looks like a 15. The other marking next to it is new to me: B over a 1?

    I think it is Cherbourg - see attached

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=41321&stc=1&d=1290871569

    Andrew
     

    Attached Files:

    Drew5233 likes this.
  15. May1940

    May1940 Senior Member

    Jan

    Thanks for the picture of the Scammell . How selfish of the soldier to stand in front of the mudguard where there might have been a bridge marking ...

    I am trying to collect examples of these geometrical artillery markings. There seem to be triangles and circles divided up in various ways. They are to do with battery and gun within an artillery unit. They seem to have been replaced in 1940 with a system based on a small plate similar to that used for the AoS markings.

    The circular marking on the bike is intriguing as I would not have expected the geometric system to have endured that long. Do you know the type of unit to which it belongs? If not, let's see what turns up in future pics.

    Andrew
     
  16. May1940

    May1940 Senior Member

    Rich

    I had missed this picture. It is shown in a booklet of captured British equipment in German service.

    Based on the arrangement of the uprights on the rear body it could be a searchlight lorry. I also think the AoS plate, while dark on one vertical side is light on the other. Am I looking too hard? If it is then this would give us a searchlight regiment with a sequential number to go with the other searchlight vehicles with a '49' marking.

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=41322&stc=1&d=1290874008

    I also attach a Crossley IGL8 searchlight lorry for reference.

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=41323&stc=1&d=1290874130

    Andrew
     

    Attached Files:

  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Looks like a 48 or 46 to me ?
     
  18. May1940

    May1940 Senior Member

    Welcome back. Hope you are on the mend.

    Andrew
     
  19. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Rich

    I had missed this picture. It is shown in a booklet of captured British equipment in German service.

    Based on the arrangement of the uprights on the rear body it could be a searchlight lorry. I also think the AoS plate, while dark on one vertical side is light on the other. Am I looking too hard? If it is then this would give us a searchlight regiment with a sequential number to go with the other searchlight vehicles with a '49' marking.Andrew

    I think that you're right about the vertical split Andrew. I couldn't see that on the image which I had. What you say makes perfect sense. I've had another look in the Chilwell census listings and in fact V2778 is one of those complicated contracts (probably extended mid-way) which has numbers in several blocks. It totalled 65 of various bodies :-

    L35989 - L35999 (11)....Catalogue Ref 24 - Lorry 3 Ton 6x4 Searchlight

    L351000 - L351035 (36) Catalogue Ref 25 - Lorry 3 Ton 6x4 Machinery

    ..................................Catalogue Ref 26 - Lorry 3 Ton 6x4 Break Down

    ..................................Catalogue Ref 27 - Lorry 3 Ton 6x4 Derrick

    L352188 - L352205 (18)..Catalogue Ref 24 - Lorry 3 Ton 6x4 Searchlight

    ...................................Catalogue Ref 26 - Lorry 3 Ton 6x4 Break Down

    Catalogue Ref 23 relates to a 1934 contract for 10 GS bodied 6x4s and Cat Ref 28 to a 1936 contract for 100 GS Lorries.

    I have no details of the split of different types within the contract but I've found in the motorcycle contracts I've looked closely at that there is usually no logic and order relating to the issue of the numbers for different types within the block so it is likely that the lorry being recovered is one of the Cat. Ref. 24 S/L variants and that some of those were issued with numbers from the 351000 - 351035 block.

    I reckon that you've got another Ack Ack code to add to the list !
     
  20. rewdco

    rewdco Senior Member

    Jan

    The circular marking on the bike is intriguing as I would not have expected the geometric system to have endured that long. Do you know the type of unit to which it belongs? If not, let's see what turns up in future pics.

    Andrew

    Andrew,

    All that I know is that the picture was taken on July 11th 1945 at Tolworth, and that rider was in the ATS...

    Jan
     

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