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NORTHDUK

Mechanical Transport Colours and Markings

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NORTHDUK

I am researching the Mechanical Transport used by the British and Commonwealth forces during World War One. Does anyone know whether any orders or regulations have survived that cover the painting of these vehicles? I am interested in the overall paint schemes applied to the vehicles and the markings of all kinds applied to them.

Similarly, I'd like to find information on the allocation of vehicle serial numbers.

If anyone has copies of any relevant documents or could suggest where I might get access to any, I'd be very grateful if they would let me know.

Gordon McLaughlin

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montbrehain

A good mate and I were having a serious discussion about the colour of British "lorries" (aint that a quaint word now ?) during the war. Amazingly I lost :lol: and was battered in to submission ! Believe it or not "lorries" (and cant talk for other transport) in the early part of the war were Light Grey ! I believe the mustard/khaki/green (ala IWM) colours were much later in the war. Any thoughts most welcome :D "MO"

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walrus

Mo,

I believe all military transport was grey in the early days of the War, (can't speak for the guns).

Tom the Walrus.

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NORTHDUK

Thanks, everyone, for your replies.

I'm following up the two links in the hope of finding further information.

I can't be sure about the colours of MT in the early stages of the war but I think grey is quite likely for vehicles already in service when war broke out. After that, other colours may have appeared fairly soon. A light-to-mid grey, which may have been called Service Colour, was used on guns and transport in the Boer War and for some time after it. By the time of WW1, some guns were green and this may have applied to most of them. I have tried to decide on the basis of photographs what colour the transport was but it is notoriously difficult to infer colour from monochrome photographs, especially as most would have been taken on orthochromatic film which distorted tonal values in a largely unpredictable way.

My best guess at the moment is that early lorries could have been grey or a dark green with a brown coming into use at some stage. A few first hand accounts mention a mud brown and one referes to grey-green for some converted buses. Most MT seems to have ben painted in a single colour but one account mentions troop carrying buses in a "camouflage dazzle". I assume that a light sand or ochre would have been used in the Middle East but I don't really know. The only colour photograph that I know of shows an ambulance in a lightish brown.

Thanks again for your help.

Gordon McLaughlin

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montbrehain

Gordon . I would be interested to know what you find . So please do keep in touch. I attach a couple of pics that may be of interest ? I think these Lorries are the light grey I was talking of. I have been looking for "Great War" lorries "in the flesh" to take photographs of but they are thin on the ground. I have managed to find some though and bits and pieces written about them. I think its about time a book was done on the subject ?? There was one book done in the 60/70s but it was mostly hand drawn pictures. I have seen it for sale but didn't bother. Why do you seek the colours and markings ? If theres anything I can help you with ? just let me know "MO" p.s note the shamrock of the Irish division on the first truck.

post-13272-1175353878.jpg

post-13272-1175353946.jpg

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walrus
"...I have been looking for "Great War" lorries "in the flesh" to take photographs of..."

Mo,

There are one or two knocking about, but those that I've seen seem to have been painted Bronze-Green (which I think is a post War colour) at some point in their history.

Tom

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fv1620

Maybe contact these chaps who have seven WW1 trucks, they should know. If you like what you see. Join HMVF forum & contact them.

http://historicmilitaryvehicles.com/index....2&Itemid=26

Clive Elliott

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montbrehain

Thanks for the link Clive , I have met them before somewhere. Will try to contact them again "MO"

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NORTHDUK
Gordon . I would be interested to know what you find . So please do keep in touch. I attach a couple of pics that may be of interest ? I think these Lorries are the light grey I was talking of. I have been looking for "Great War" lorries "in the flesh" to take photographs of but they are thin on the ground. I have managed to find some though and bits and pieces written about them. I think its about time a book was done on the subject ?? There was one book done in the 60/70s but it was mostly hand drawn pictures. I have seen it for sale but didn't bother. Why do you seek the colours and markings ? If theres anything I can help you with ? just let me know "MO" p.s note the shamrock of the Irish division on the first truck.

post-13272-1175353878.jpg

post-13272-1175353946.jpg

Thanks for your reply. I'll let you know if anything turns up.

The lorries in your photograph are Wolseley CR6 3 tonners and the few photographs I've seen of these lorries always show a light overall colour with WD in black rather than the more commonly seen white. I'm inclined to agree with you that this is grey. The shamrock on the cab side may not be a divisional sign. They appear in quite a few photographs of lorries and I think they may be tactical markings to indicate sub-units within large units or units within a brigade or division. I hasten to add that this is guesswork on my part Nevertheless, I have an IWM print of this photograph and it shows two other insignia on the cab side, behind the shamrock and in white. One is the number 46 and the other apears to be the upright sword insignia of 56 (London) Division.

I can't usefully comment on the camouflage pattern on the Rolls-Royce armoured car. It may be based on the grey scheme used by RNAS armoured cars but I really have no idea.

My interest is not confined to colours and markings. I'm interested in all aspects of MT used by the British and Commonwealth forces during the war. Any information would be welcome.

Gordon McLaughlin

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montbrehain

Thanks for that Gordon, I assumed the shamrock was because the photos are captioned "Irish Division" my mistake :lol: I have a book (which these photos came from) called "The Big Push" published about 1917 ? It is the book of the film "Battle of the Somme" . It has few more pictures (which you have probably seen ) But I can scan them if you wish ? In the mean time here's one taken before the other ( I reckon the photographer walked along the line ?) It gives a real good idea of the colour of the Lorry. "MO"

post-13272-1175498692.jpg

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walrus

Is it worth adding the reminder that not all of the film used a this period was panchromatic, and that the 'grey scale' values obtained by 'modern' and contemporary films vary greatly?

Yellows seem especially prone to appearing dark on contemporary prints, thus, given the 'wrong' film, the grey shade given by the mustard/clay brown in use may appear to give a similar grey to that of a 'bronze-green' photographes with a panchromatic film.

Now Granny, this is called an egg....

Tom the Walrus

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NORTHDUK
Thanks for that Gordon, I assumed the shamrock was because the photos are captioned "Irish Division" my mistake :lol: I have a book (which these photos came from) called "The Big Push" published about 1917 ? It is the book of the film "Battle of the Somme" . It has few more pictures (which you have probably seen ) But I can scan them if you wish ? In the mean time here's one taken before the other ( I reckon the photographer walked along the line ?) It gives a real good idea of the colour of the Lorry. "MO"

post-13272-1175498692.jpg

I'd be interested to see the other photographs if you feel like scanning them. New pictures are always worth seeing.

Gordon McLaughlin

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NORTHDUK
Is it worth adding the reminder that not all of the film used a this period was panchromatic, and that the 'grey scale' values obtained by 'modern' and contemporary films vary greatly?

Yellows seem especially prone to appearing dark on contemporary prints, thus, given the 'wrong' film, the grey shade given by the mustard/clay brown in use may appear to give a similar grey to that of a 'bronze-green' photographes with a panchromatic film.

Now Granny, this is called an egg....

Tom the Walrus

It's always worth keeping in mind the peculiar tonal rendering of orthochromatic film, especially as it was the most common type in this period. As you say, yellow tends to come out as a dark tone and is easily mistaken for a dark green. Red is practically black and some blues appear lighter than they actually were. Contrast is also affected so that markings sometimes disappear.

It is difficult enough to infer colours from panchromatic film but ortho film is a nightmare!

Gordon McLaughlin

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montbrehain

Here are a couple more from the book. I think we can safely assume that these ones are not light grey ? Also in 1 picture is an interesting shot of horses towing 2 Lewis gun carts each . "MO"

post-13272-1175710359.jpg

post-13272-1175710421.jpg

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NORTHDUK
Here are a couple more from the book. I think we can safely assume that these ones are not light grey ? Also in 1 picture is an interesting shot of horses towing 2 Lewis gun carts each . "MO"

post-13272-1175710359.jpg

post-13272-1175710421.jpg

There's no knowing what the colours are. It's tempting to say that the top picture shows a dark green but it might be anything. The leading lorry in the top photograph is a Dennis Subsidy 3 tonner and the lower picture shows a late GS Wagon, a Mk 9, 10 or 11 possibly, followed by an Albion A10 3 tonner. I can't identify the other lorries in either photograph and would welcome suggestions.

Gordon McLaughlin

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montbrehain

Gordon , Another photo that may be of interest ? A neighbour gave me this one and a portrait shot after learning of my interest in the "Great War" I was told of a 1916 Karrier that was for sale in the Guildford area 6 or 7 years ago ? I was also told it was the only surviving one. (but I have seen claims like that shot down before :lol: ) "MO"

post-13272-1175942885.jpgpost-13272-1175942908.jpg

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montbrehain

Heres a photo of my mate mike with the Hampshire county council Thorneycroft lorry .

post-13272-1176019357.jpg

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walrus

Mo,

Would that be one of the lorries from "Milestones"?

Tom the Walrus

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montbrehain

Thats the one Tom , good day out , and good Museum too. I aim to find myself a "Great War" lorry ! after all I look old enough to be a ASC MT driver now :D "MO"

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NORTHDUK
Gordon , Another photo that may be of interest ? A neighbour gave me this one and a portrait shot after learning of my interest in the "Great War" I was told of a 1916 Karrier that was for sale in the Guildford area 6 or 7 years ago ? I was also told it was the only surviving one. (but I have seen claims like that shot down before :lol: ) "MO"

post-13272-1175942885.jpgpost-13272-1175942908.jpg

This is a very nice photograph of a Karrier WDS 3 tonner. Looking at other photographs of these lorries, I'm struck by the variety of styles of presenting the name on the radiator and the variations in cab shape.

Can you make out the return address on the post card? It appears to be somewhere in Middlesex but the details aren't clear.

Gordon McLaughlin

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montbrehain

Gordon , the writing on the Back of the postcard says Driver S H Moses , M2/229132 , RASC , MT Driving School , Lorry Section , Hounslow Garage , Hounslow , Middx.

Heres another pic that I hope is of interest "MO"

post-13272-1176536672.jpg

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Guest
Gordon , the writing on the Back of the postcard says Driver S H Moses , M2/229132 , RASC , MT Driving School , Lorry Section , Hounslow Garage , Hounslow , Middx.

Heres another pic that I hope is of interest "MO"

post-13272-1176536672.jpg

This may not be relevant to your researches but MT operated by the RNAS up until at least mid 1916 seem to be finished in light grey with the title R.N.A.S in white on each side. I havn't got any photos to hand, but they all seem similar.

As far as serial numbers are concerned I assume you meanIndex marks. All the RNAS vehicles I have seen in photos where they are apparent they seem to have been civilian marks issued by the London County Council in the series from LF to LM.

The Karrier lorry in post 17 would seem to have been registered by Middlesex County Council (MC) whilst the lorry in post 22 would seem to be registered bt London County Council in the XA series of marks

Hope this helps

Duncan

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montbrehain

Heres another I took in Ireland during the filming of Michael Collins. Not sure what type it is though ? "MO"

post-13272-1176966473.jpg

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Chris Henschke

Here's another shamrock on a truck. Irish soldiers disguised as members of an AIF mechanical transport company in early 1919.

post-671-1176992892.jpg

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