Callender Hamilton Truss Bridge

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by URI, Dec 9, 2015.

  1. URI

    URI Member

    [SIZE=10.5pt] [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt]I'm looking for information regarding the use and manufacturing of Callender-Hamilton Truss Bridges (C-H) during WW2. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt]The C-H system was design by Archibald Hamilton prior to WW2 and from what I understand Bailey has violated Hamilton's copywriters in his design (although the Bailey bridges are an improvement, mainly in construction time and simplicity). I know C-H bridges were vastly used during the war. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt]It would also be interesting to know how many war-time C-H bridge are still around - I know of a couple in Europe from my Google search. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt] [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt]We have a Callender-Hamilton Truss Bridge in the Haifa Bay in Israel. Since the Bridge has several steel sources we believe it is WW2 surplus. The C-H bridges I found on-line are all galvanized but ours isn't (would love to know why). It also has vertical truss elements in a double truss which from what I understand is unusual. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt] [/SIZE]

    Attached Files:

  2. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Some years ago I collected a number of wartime army publications on bridging. C-H bridges do not figure very largely in them. I will look as time allows.

    My understanding is that the army laid in a stock of components in the late 1930's and used the bridge away from active combat areas. The greater part of the production was for the Ministry of Transport for replacement of civilian bridges in the UK, or for the Indian Government. Yours could have been produced in India.

    More later, hopefully.

  3. URI

    URI Member

  4. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    The bridge was designed by Mr AW Hamilton, a civil engineer employed in the late 1930s by the Iraqi PWD, and was widely known during WW2 as the Hamilton bridge. Hamilton persuaded Messrs Callender Cable and Construction Co Ltd to develop and manufacture the bridge (hence the full name). A subsidiary, Messrs Painter Bros of Hereford were also involved, adding important improvements. The bridge was slow to build, but the Army adopted the Type B bridge (the Type A bridge used 5 foot trusses and was intended for footbridges) as the Unit Construction Bridge - their permanent or semi-permanent bridge while other bridges, quicker to build, remained as their tactical bridge. Hamilton was commissioned in the Royal Engineers and posted to India where he became involved with the manufacture of the bridge for use by the Indian Army, many bridges being erected on the Tamu-Kalewa road for the advance into Burma across the river Chindwin in 1944. Information paraphrased from 'One more river to cross, by Col JH Joiner.

  5. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    There is very little additional information in the military handbooks etc. It does seem to have been far more widely used by civil authorities, albeit in support of the war effort.

    Some odds and ends.
    To the military there were three options,
    the single truss single depth which could be used for bridges up to 90 foot long.
    The double truss single depth which could be used for bridges up to 130 foot long.
    The double truss double depth which could be used for bridges up to 180 foot long.

    It is not entirely clear what weight class but Class 18 seems likely.

    Your bridge seems a text book example except for the bracing angle. The vertical angle is correct. This was fitted on the inside truss but not the outside truss. The bracing angle was not needed since the double truss was braced top, bottom and on each diagonal angle. The fact that yours has the bracing angle suggests it may have started life as a single truss and had the outer truss added later.

    A diagram.
    H C Bridge.jpg

    You already have most of the other information I have via the New Zealand link.

  6. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Col Joiner reports that, with some restriction on vehicle spacing, they could carry tracked vehicles up to 30 tons in weight, though his figures on possible spans are rather below yours (max span 140 feet).

  7. Trux

    Trux 21 AG


    Span and weight class are variables of course. My figures will be early war and for either Class 18 or Class 24. Therefore they can be built longer. At the time heavy artillery was the heaviest load.

  8. URI

    URI Member

    Chris and Mike,
    thank you for the info.
    The bridge over the Kishon River in Haifa is 150ft double truss single depth. so doesn't fall exactly within the categories mentioned above.
    I thought that having the braces might be another clue to war surplus. Perhaps there was a stock of pieces for several types of future uses in wartime and then installed everything they had over the Kishon.
    I don't know what was the weight class for the Kishon bridge. it was used as a road bridge for around 15 years (not sure) till another bridge was built next to it. It has a big sag and the bottom chord is in bad shape due to corrosion which doesn't help- but from what I hear it has had a sag for decades.
    does anyone have more info about CH bridges galvanizing? I wonder why the one we have isn't.
  9. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    The National Archives of Australia holds a file dating from 1950/51 titled "In the matter of Letters Patent number 20765/35 granted to HAMILTON Archibald Milne; Callender's Cable and Construction Company Limited; British Insulated Callender's Cables Limited" – it is registered in a series for files generated by High Court proceedings.

    Not much help as it begs more questions than any answers it offers – what was being discussed in Australia’s High Court five years after the war ended??
  10. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    RTA.DMR. Callender Hamilton steel truss concrete deck bridge over Yaven Yaven creek seven miles fron SH4. HO8524. July 1958. 19580701. DR 1215. (picture attached)

    And at least two copies of the best-selling classic "Callender-Hamilton bridge handbook : highway bridge type B /​ G. D. White-Parsons (published 1952)" are held in Australian libraries

    Attached Files:

  11. URI

    URI Member


    thanks for the input. the bridge in the photo doesn't look to me like a CH bridge - the section sizes and connections don't fit the standard details.
    I'm currently trying to put my hands on a CH handbook - maybe that will help solve some of the mysteries..
  12. Trux

    Trux 21 AG


    Not a Type B like yours but still a CH bridge. Type C or D which were heavier.

  13. idler

    idler GeneralList

  14. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    Our forum member Imphal campaign has known of this bridge for sometime but has now started campaigning for the Manipuri government to maintain it as a valuable WW2 heritage. I was able to find who and when and where it was built which hopefully will help raise more interest and awareness.

  15. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    This is the bridge in question courtesy of Raj aka Imphal Campaign.
    Lionboxer IMG_1011.JPG

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