That is a very logical assumption, but sadly it is wrong! Although having
toyed with the Spartan (an APC version of the Scorpion/Scimitar without a
turret) during the mid-80s, the Regiment were never really considered to be
mechanised infantry. It was found that if they needed to get anywhere in a
hurry then Landrovers and 4 tonners were by far the most efficient option.
Various detachments of the Regiment used the Saxon (which was effectively
just an armoured 4 tonner) for "supplementary defence duties". I'm sure that
you can imagine what those duties were, but I'm still not allowed to tell
you about them, nearly ten years after something or other was withdrawn! ;-)
For over 20 years, the Regiment has mostly considered airfield defence to be
*air* defence, using Rapier missiles. Now *that* would be an interesting
Wasn't there a much publicised move of Rapiers from Plumstead to Scotland by
rail a few years ago? I recollect some photos in the railway press of mobile
radomes etc loaded on flat wagons. BTW, there was a battery of Rapiers
deployed near to Dolland's Moor recently.
Whilst the initial post was about potential loads for Warflats/Warwells, it
sholudn't be forgotten that other flat and open wagons were also used and
are sometimes still to be found on military traffic. We lived in Stoke in
the late 70s/early 80s, where Cockshute Yard would often have Lowfits and
Plates carrying Land-Rovers, 1/4t trailers etc for Marchington. Later, when
we moved to Tyneside, 'Speedlink' trains from the area would often have what
I had assumed to be pairs of single-axle trailers on them, carried on SPAs.
I was subsequently told that these were some sort of mine clearing device
(Viper?) from ROF Birtley.
Don't forget also that the Royal Engineers sometimes used rail to move
various bits of 'militarised' construction plant around the place- tractor
shovels, road rollers etc. Often the only difference between them and
'civilan' plant was the application of camouflage.
One of the DEMU group has built a model of a branch line 'somewhere in
Oxfordshire' which has some interesting military material on it- worth
looking out for.
Still slightly on topic, there is a description of a visit to Marchwood
Military Port in the latest Modern Railways- I liked the reference to a rake
of Palvans ,ballasted with sand, that serve as a mobile blast wall when
ammunition is being loaded.
ps- I've E-mailed the company I mentioned previously enquiring about
possible modern British models. I'll post when I hear something.
I lived close to the Alvis factory and the munition trains used to run past
our school, presumably on their way to Kineton. There was nothing unusual
about the wagons which carried the light armoured vehicles. They looked like
regular frieght wagons. Even the ammunition was carried in what looked like
ordinary wooden box vans. The only odditiy was that on one occasion the
train was pulled by a loco which was bigger than a shunter but smaller than
a mainline diesel. I've never seen one like it before or since.
Individual vehicles were sent by road so it wasn't unusual to pull up at
traffic lights alongside a Scorpion tank or Stalwart amphibious truck.
Daimler Fox and Ferret armoured cars were made nearby too.
Kineton has had centre-cab locos (either Hudswell-Clarke or Ruston & Hornsby
type, resembling the Class 07 used at Southampton Docks), but might this
loco have been one of the WR Class 14 0-6-0 centre cabs? During their brief
and inglorious career on BR, they were tried in a few areas apart from South
Wales- trip workings from Banbury might be a possibility. I doubt that AFVs
would be going to Kineton, though, as it has always been an ammunition dump
. A former colleague used to drive there back in the 1950s during his
National Service. Possible destinations around the Midlands for AFVs would
be Ashchurch, Donnington (near Wellington) or Marchington (near Uttoxeter)
Strangely enough the Scorpion/Scimitar family are quite kind to road
surfaces. I was passed by 3 on the East Lancs Road some years ago and they
left no marks at all. The track have big rubber blocks on them for running
The trains were short but mixed. They carried a *few* vehicles, vans which
we assumed contained spares or ammunition and open wagons with loads
concealed under canvas, often with a gun barrel sticking out. Coventry
didn't just make armoured vehicles, there was a Royal Ordnance Depot which
manufactured everythng from 100 ton naval guns to (I'm told) machine guns.
The trains were travelling towards South Warwickshire.