Vehicle numbers and tracking them to a unit

Discussion in 'Vehicle Names and Census Numbers' started by chingoo, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. chingoo

    chingoo Active Member

    Hi all,

    Is there a way of tracing which regt. a vehicle was issued to based on it's vehicle number?

    In particular I am interested in a 6x6 cwt Tractor with number H4149384.

    I realise it's a long shot, recently came across a picture of one with a chap that looked like my grandfather sat on it. Figured there would be little chance of accurately identifying him, but thought if I could work out if the vehicle was/was not with his regt then it would give me a better idea.


  2. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    This is really a question for KevinT but I'm quite sure you will find the simple answer is 'no'.

    Long shot but it might be worth contacting the appropriate vehicle museum. I know that, in the case of tanks and possibly other vehicles, Bovington Tank Museum hold Key Cards for series of vehicles so it's possible to get basic details of a particular vehicle but no reference is made to the Regiments with which it served. This doesn't mean you can't make any progress because any progress is better than no progress! In my case, Bovington located the Key Cards for my fathers tank (T335335) and mention was made that it was located in Hong Kong at one stage and that allowed me to identify the various Regiments with which it served. That was great because I'm researching the tank and not my father.

    I guess the other possibility is the War Diaries of the various vehicle parks but, even if the records still exist, you are talking real needle in a haystack stuff especially as the Military equivalent of the Log Books were normally destroyed along with the vehicle.

    A better approach might be to try to contact an Old Comrades Association: you presumably know the Regiment he served with? Doesn't the photo show any markings? They would allow the unit to be narrowed down and that should then allow you to compare it with the units/Regiment he served with.

    Hopefully someone will now come along and say I'm talking tosh and say exactly how it's done!
  3. chingoo

    chingoo Active Member

    Thanks for the reply. Thought it was likely to be a no, but worth a try. Cheers all the same.
  4. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    What vehicle markings are visible on the photo? Could be a good start because if they correspond to your grandfathers regiment then you are on to something.
  5. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    Hi Ian,

    I do not have that particular vehicle number listed but what I can say is that it is a Morris-Commercial 6 x 4 Light Anti-Aircraft gun tractor. As Stephen says if there are any other markings visible it may be possible to tell which AA unit the vehicle belonged to. Was your Grandfather in a Anti-Aircraft regiment?


  6. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    It used to be possible to get the 'service record' of a particular vehicle from the Museum of Army Transport at Beverley. For a fee of course. The museum closed ten years ago but the records moved to (I think) the Royal Logistics Corps museum.

  7. chingoo

    chingoo Active Member

    Unfortunately there were no other markings on the vehicle other than the serial number. He was in a light anti aircraft unit, and the picture in question has the truck towing a bofors 40mm with some troops sat on top. the picture is not the best quality but there is a chap that resembles my grandfather. I was hoping that tracing the serial number would see which particular anti-aircraft unit it was assigned to, and therefore see whether it was my grandfather's regiment. It was a long shot, but thanks for the responses. I may try contacting the logistics corp and see if that gets me anywhere.

    Thanks again, will post if I have any success.

  8. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    In general, vehicle records were destroyed when they were struck off. Wartime serials survived until about 1948 at which time a census was taken and new numbers issued. Some of these show the old serial but rarely with unit.

    Your best option is to obtain all the regiment's war diaries from 1940 onwards (the vehicle does not have a pre-war serial) and hope to find a list of vehicles in one of the appendices. Diaries varied upon the whim of the Adjutant but some, especially of Territorial units do tend to include more information on men and machines than was actually required.

    Bearing in mind the numbers who served in the Royal Artillery, the chances of locating someone are tiny...but most of those who survived became someone's grandfather !

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