RAF Command Caravan (Austin chassis).

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Waddell, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Waddell

    Waddell Well-Known Member

    Currently reading Desmond Scott's entertaining memoir 'Typhoon Pilot'. When he became CO of 123 Wing he was issued with a caravan for his duties, which he took to France after D-Day.

    He described it as-

    'My own needs were well catered for. I had a large semi-collapsible three-roomed caravan built on a six-wheel Austin Truck. This monster was driven by my batman who could have it in position and ready for me within minutes if its arrival. I always had my caravan parked near the ops room or briefing complex, which was staffed by both Army and Air Force intelligence officers. The centre room was my office, and the two canvas-sided extensions were used as bedrooms, one for myself and the other for visiting friends. Christened 'Leaping Lena' by my batman, it was austere but comfortable'.

    Does anyone have any further details on this type of caravan or an image?

    I imagine it to be similar to this image from the net of an RAF Austin K6 wireless truck.


    Austin K6.JPG
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  2. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    It sounds a bit like the K6 office body with extending sides (photo will follow in the morning) but I have never heard of it being used as a caravan
  3. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    The definition of caravan has changed over time. For example some biblical texts describe the magi as having caravans but I doubt that they were Austin 6 wheelers but they might well have had canvas folding bedrooms
  4. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    Here are the photos as promised yesterday. First is the original body, second a later, more sophisticated, version and finally a drawing showing how they folded out and how two could be joined by a canvas penthouse.
    K6 expandable office.jpg K6 expandable office new.jpg K6 Office Plan.jpg
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  5. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    I have checked through the references I have and none mention these vehicles used as a Caravan (very little is mentioned about there use at all! ). This is the only vehicle I can think of that could have bedroom-office-bedroom side by side as described in the text and it is a six wheeled Austin.
    Also none of my references say when the newer version was introduced (apologies for the poor image of this - its the only one I could find.
  6. Waddell

    Waddell Well-Known Member

    Thank you for those images and information Noel. They seem to be how I imagine it would look. A substantial set-up.

    Desmond Scott seemed to appreciate having his own mobile set up whilst commanding his wing.

  7. ted angus

    ted angus Senior Member

    Sorry for a tardy response: I have seen pictures taken on ALGs which show one of these parked in the vicinity of where the ensign was flying. I have some vehicle lists for 125 Wing which show 3 Austin Office on establishment, one was allocated to the Wing HQ the other 2 to the wing intelligence section. So I imagine the single HQ vehicle fulfilled the needs of a" Station HQ " plus accommodated the CO around the clock, I imagine this would be referred to as the CO's caravan, whereas the pair would have been the the joint service intelligence-operations - briefing centre.

    In addition I am pretty sure these "caravans" were also issued for the use of "Air Officers " in the field- such as those at 83 and 84 group HQs.

    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020 at 11:16 AM
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  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I think that Noels first photo is an office. The second is the senior commanders caravan. Basically the same vehicle but the caravan has many fittings such as a shower. Which one is referred to in Scott's post I would not like to say for certain.

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