View Full Version : Aircraft salvage and transportation

13-05-2009, 23:21
Not all aircraft can move under their own steam and often they need the help of of a lorry or two. Here are some shots taken through the ages. Anyone any more?














14-05-2009, 16:35
Talking of transport, the RAF has two modern versions of the good old 'Queen Mary' aircraft recovery trailer.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7337/11477022834_33604f25bc_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/56270329@N08/11477022834/)
Meteor T.7 WH132 trailer (http://www.flickr.com/photos/56270329@N08/11477022834/) by jamtey71 (http://www.flickr.com/people/56270329@N08/), on Flickr

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2828/11477210943_0aedb9f04d_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/56270329@N08/11477210943/)
Tornado F.3 ZE887 trailer (http://www.flickr.com/photos/56270329@N08/11477210943/) by jamtey71 (http://www.flickr.com/people/56270329@N08/), on Flickr

Both types are manufactured by King, the one below is an extendible tri axle low loader used for heavier loads.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7413/11480144876_3df374f029_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/56270329@N08/11480144876/)
VC-10 K.2 ZA144 cockpit 08 April 11 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/56270329@N08/11480144876/) by jamtey71 (http://www.flickr.com/people/56270329@N08/), on Flickr

There is a general trailer in use ass well. All of these are currently pulled by DAF CFs and XFs which are leased to the MoD.

14-05-2009, 20:11
Nice pics WJT, the bottom one with the Ford Thames transporting a Gannet is nice. Every Fairey Gannet that was built at the Hayes, Middlesex, factory had to be roaded to White Waltham and Northolt this way for putting together and test flying. The pic looks like XA430 going back to Hayes for full COD.4 conversion. It looks close to an airfield by the background.

I'm amazed at that relatively small tractor unit (?) pulling the SARO Lerwick, that must have been a slow move!

Keep on posting olive drab with yellow stripes, fantastic stuff - even the Mk2 Escort estate!

14-05-2009, 21:47
Removal of US Air Flight 1459 (which crashed in the Hudson River in New York in February of 2009).



14-05-2009, 21:55
Ah MM, so its olive drab with yellow stripes that turns you on. Will have to see what I can find!

14-05-2009, 22:42
Here,you go MM, a few more green and yellow stripes involved in aircraft transportation. They are all relatively recent - well, over the last 15 - 25 years.







Paul Francis
02-06-2009, 17:26
Here is one I took earlier Te he he he! It is a lorry owned by Whitehead Aircraft (1917) Ltd with a an aeroplane (what type is the a/c and vehicle). The photo came out of a book that the company published during WW1 which is in the archives and the great man JA Whitehead has signed it which is rather nice.

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/norwichpaul/Odds%20and%20Ends%20England/img319.jpg (http://s133.photobucket.com/user/norwichpaul/media/Odds%20and%20Ends%20England/img319.jpg.html)

Paul Francis
02-06-2009, 18:26
This is another Whitehead vehicle, and before you say the image is posted in the wrong section, well it is but the timber that the vehicle is carrying is going to be made into aeroplanes!

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q51/norwichpaul/Odds%20and%20Ends%20England/img325.jpg (http://s133.photobucket.com/user/norwichpaul/media/Odds%20and%20Ends%20England/img325.jpg.html)

02-06-2009, 18:45
Some of these are Military versions of Commercial road haulage classics!
I will have a go at ident for a laugh :)

#1 Crossley ?
#3/#4 Morris Commercial ?
#6 S type Bedford (probably called differently in the military).
#7 AEC Mandator (first truck I drove after getting my HGV)
#8 Leyland Mastiff, (gawd awful hideous ....! )
#10 Seddon Atkinson 200/400 series or commonly referred to by drivers as 'Sudden Accidents'
#11 Sudd...err..Seddon Atki with the Iveco cab and branded as a Strato, another miserable POS.
#12 Another S type this is a civilian version.
#13 Thames Trader

P Bellamy
03-06-2009, 00:37

Foden 5 Ton Steam Wagon. :wink:


03-06-2009, 07:51
Denis: Pretty much spot on I reckon, but I can see that you would never have got a job as a PR for Leyland or Seddon Akki!

I would add the following:

The tractor units (or 'heads' as the RAF MT people always seemed to call them) on the Queen Mary trailers with the Wellington and Lerwick fuselages are Commer Q2.

The AEC pics (at Abingdon and with the Buccaneer) are Mercury tractor units, not Mandators (they had the smaller 505 engine not the big 760 beastie). Without looking back at the pics I think they also had the lighter narrow-track front axles.

I did one hear that the RAF buy of Mastiffs was the result of cancellation of a huge order by some firm, with the Government stepping in smartly to stop Leyland from losing out on the deal.

The Coningsby Bedford tractor unit was, I believe, designated SA. The other civilian Bedford S Type was very popular in my home area of Lincolnshire, with many produce merchants and other hauliers running large fleets of them.

Paul Francis
03-06-2009, 10:44
Is the aeroplane on the Whitehead lorry, a Scout if so which one Bristol or Sopwith?

03-06-2009, 11:29
My immediate thought was a Sopwith, but don't know which one.

Peter Kirk
03-06-2009, 12:42
Looks more like a Sopwith Pup

03-06-2009, 12:44
Presumably a Sopwith, given that Whitehead were based in Richmond.

03-06-2009, 15:01
Looks more like a Sopwith Pup

A Sopwith 'Pup' is a Scout. Scout was its official RFC name, Pup is something it was named by its flyers, being considered the junior of the Camel, and became the more popular name.

Paul Francis
03-06-2009, 16:28
Whitehead were based in Richmond but their main works and aerodrome was at Hanworth Park. They must of built aircraft under licence.

04-06-2009, 09:22
Whitehead were based in Richmond but their main works and aerodrome was at Hanworth Park. They must of built aircraft under licence.

Yes, the Whitehead Aircraft Ltd was based in an old drill hall in Richmond, with a modern purpose built factory site built in Feltam. Their aerodrome was at Hanworth, where they even had a flying school.
Most of their work was indeed sub contractor aircraft construction, and the Sopwith Scout was a major contract for the company.
Whitehead aircraft only existed between 1915-19, on the riches of WWI in other words.

Very well researched link to the sad tale here, http://www.whiteheadaircraft.com/whitehead-aircraft-ltd

Would be great to know if any of the Whitehead buildings exist anymore.

03-09-2009, 21:22

Now, that's a Phantom isn't it? Do you know which one it is... or maybe was. I think Thunder and Lightings may like to update their listings a bit!

04-09-2009, 13:06
is it the St. Athan phantom??

05-09-2009, 09:39
Now, that's a Phantom isn't it? Do you know which one it is... or maybe was. I think Thunder and Lightings may like to update their listings a bit!

Yes, was the St Athan gate guard, XV498 (wore XV500).
I thought demobbed knew about this one?

If you look under the gate guardians thread there are more pics of it.

06-09-2009, 16:26
Yes, was the St Athan gate guard, XV498 (wore XV500).
I thought demobbed knew about this one?

If you look under the gate guardians thread there are more pics of it.

Didn't know that it had been scrapped. Wondered why it disappeared from Google earth. Someone put a gate guardian up there quick. Every airfield should have one IMO!

P Bellamy
19-02-2010, 19:58
Found this snap in the archives today:



23-02-2010, 02:37
What's the aeroplane - an L-4?

P Bellamy
23-02-2010, 16:13
It's most likely an L-4.

The photo was taken to illustrate the packing method that was to be used for the forthcoming Normandy landings, where L-4s were taken ashore from landing craft and reassembled in the first suitable bit of open space they could find.

All the best,

23-02-2010, 18:41
Somewhere on the internet I have seen a photo of an L-4/truck combination being driven down the ramp onto an LCT .

Unfortunately can't remember which site.

Dave Smith
23-02-2010, 20:17
This will be the one. Any idea which Channel port this was?

23-02-2010, 20:59
That's the one .... no idea of location but can say that it doesn't look like Torquay, Brixham, Teignmouth,Poole or Weymouth.

Peter Kirk
23-02-2010, 21:26
I remember a store about one being assembled on the beach at Normnady on D-Day. I think it became a shell magnet and upset a few folks trying to get on with the war - alive.

It might have been a Stephen Ambrose one.

23-02-2010, 21:57
http://i579.photobucket.com/albums/ss234/woody_photo/23-02-2010205524.jpg photo of brixham harbour in 2001,no landing crafts but same wall!

23-02-2010, 22:18
Yep - I was wrong about Brixham -that certainly is the place.

Les Freathy
18-03-2010, 20:49
thought i would pop this one in for interest

12-10-2013, 22:08
I was at 71MU Bicester 73 to 76 some of the vehicles are familiar the AEC outside Abingdon could easily be one of ours from Bicester. Be interesting to ask if anybody has any pics of vehicles at Bicester early 70,s I Know we had a AEC kitted up as a breakdown vehicle with ballast blocks over the 5th wheel which meant i could drive it on my class 3 license. I remember taking one of the Mastiffs ( sorry not from Bicester) out with a Queen Mary on the back not easy when the trailer is wider than the vehicle you have to keep your mind on the job you might get through the gap but the trailer might not!!! We also had two Scammells one of which i found in about 2004 at the Great Dorset Steam Fair must dig out the pic. Used for aircraft movements along with a large flatbed trailer.
Cars new on the scene Ford Escort MK1 Austin 1800 ( i wasnt allowed to drive these for 6 months as they were deemed to powerful for us new drivers and had a 5 speed box) Proper Minis and Vans.
Austin J2 Ford Transits Bedford CF (the one with the brakes which put you through the windscreen Crew Bus used for the hospital run to Halton. Bedford Ambulance with column change and i did one blue light job to Halton with it. Bedford Rls, Pantechnicon, Karrier Bantams, Matador, Land Rovers. Our main work being Aircraft Recovery and maintenance used to take big toolboard's all over with a Bedford 1 Ton and vehicle recovery and breakdown.
Oh nearly forgot a Smiths Crane and a brand New Grove Allen which was completely hydraulic no need to put together on site like the Smiths.

28-12-2013, 15:42
Finally a pic of one of our Scammels from71 MU Bicester, taken at the Great Dorset Steam Fair in 2004 when it was
still in good workiing order.


27-01-2014, 17:33
Does anyone know what this piece of recovery equipment is officially called please? It's located at the Metheringham Visitors centre but we are not sure if it is Postwar or not as the only Wartime pictures I can find seem to be of a wheeled version.



27-01-2014, 17:42
Yep, genuine war-time (and after) GSE. A Trolley Salvage Type something ( I can't remember) Ted, or others on here will know. Used to move an aircraft after a Trac-Jac has raised it. The design goes back to pre war agricultural I think.

27-01-2014, 17:51
Not bad!!! 9 minutes for an answer, thanks

would be great to find out some more info.

27-01-2014, 21:22
Salvage Trolley Type B as it has a turntable top, it would go under the tail or nose of the recovered aircraft. Type C looks very similar but had a fixed top and would go under the wings.
I think they were either produced by Roadless Traction Ltd.
I seem to recall that there is a set of these preserved by MAPS at Ronaldsway airport

ted angus
27-01-2014, 23:07
Blimey, I was on earlier and missed that ; If I recall correctly an average establishment would be 1 x B 2 x C 2x trackjac 1x 15 ton salvage trailer 1x 75 ton salvage trailer 1 x long bar & 1 x short bar for the salvage trailers.
I believe the type B & C date from WW2, the trackjac from about 1948; When I left in 2004 they were still in service.

27-01-2014, 23:34
Hi Ted, I believe the Tracjac was WWII era as well (certainly around by '46), produced by Henry Miller & Co Ltd, they were based on a Roadless Track chassis but the platform could be hydraulically raised to fit under the aircrafts' wings

28-01-2014, 00:05
Is that the same Roadless of tractor fame?

28-01-2014, 00:21
I believe so, they initially seemed to have specialised in tracked designs.

ted angus
28-01-2014, 11:17
It is the same ROADLESS as Mawgan says. There is an article about the introduction of the TRACJACK in the Commercial vehicle archives- I will try and find it on their site - the copy I have is barely legible and the date is either 46 or 48 but I would guess into service wopuld have been at least several months earlier- racking my brain as to a TYPE A ?? there used to be a huge lever trolley jack which ran on rails but the grey cells are not good this morning; The Type B & C almost certainly predate the Tracjack I have a picture of a B- 17 being raised and its good old muscle power and hydraulic pillar jack and a pair of TYPE C standing by to be rolled into place. The USAAF also used air bags.

found the article 23 feb 1945 so into service sept/oct 44 ish ??

28-01-2014, 13:06
Could be, I have seen a pic of a Hercules powered Halifax on Tracjacs.
By the way, I've only ever seen it spelled Tracjac - might not be right though!

28-01-2014, 14:35
Thanks All, Could just do with a Wartime picture now to add to the description.

ted angus
28-01-2014, 17:22
Could be, I have seen a pic of a Hercules powered Halifax on Tracjacs.
By the way, I've only ever seen it spelled Tracjac - might not be right though!

Your spot on TRACJAC it is -- all other spellings are my blonde senior moments !!!

03-02-2014, 12:13
Dont know much about them but im sure we had one at Coltishall in the 80,s cant recall us ever having to use it or who was responsible for it, never saw it in the MT section so presume it must have come under ground equipment dept, it was always parked near the main RV point ready for use. I know during aircraft emergency state we sent a crane a refueller (empty to defuel if nec) crash ambulance.
Always made me laugh to see a Coles Crane trying to respond in a emergency.

03-02-2014, 12:44
The arrester bay had a mobile workshop "bread van." I forget the make, but we always referred to it as the Hawson (the van body people.) It too had to trudge out to precautionary alerts to line up by the tower. When used for on-airfield duties, it would pass the civvies watching at the crash gate on the far side of the airfield, who, when they saw a RAF vehicle with "arrester" on the front in cut out dayglo letters would scatter!

06-02-2014, 20:44
I know during my time the only Hawsons we had were Bedfords.
Drove one to Llanberis from Bicester once with a caterpillar track in the
back, hate to think what the weight would have been. Didnt ask questions
like that in those days.

ted angus
07-02-2014, 01:32
I know during my time the only Hawsons we had were Bedfords.
Drove one to Llanberis from Bicester once with a caterpillar track in the
back, hate to think what the weight would have been. Didnt ask questions
like that in those days.

Over the years both Bedford CF and Ford Transit "Hawsons" for arrestor ! prior to that Karrier Bantam box body, the Hawsons were replaced by nice gootchy 6 seater jobs when we went over to LEX white fleet. Our Hawson at Chivenor was a real cracker- the only bollocking I ever goot as a chief tech when there was a high speed barrier engagment at Chivenor, I was driving and overtook the TACR1 and the MK8 going down the taxiway, we had the power isolated and were freeing the strands holding down the canopy before the fire section arrived- they were really peed off GEF got the crate of beer that day !

13-02-2014, 21:21
That reminds me of being at Sculthorpe when the Canberras from Marham were there Marham having its runway done, a Canberra came in on a state 2 all the USAF fire trucks trundled off amid lots of smoke and noise, Before they were halfway there our crash vehicle (Range Rover) was sitting on the end of the runway, Canberra goes by Range Rover takes off and passes said Canberra on runway, meanwhile USAF fire service still on there way. I think by the time they got there the aircraft had taxied back to its stand. Funny how you remember things. Now where do i live? hehe:-D

The Bedford Hawsons that we had i think had the Bedford RL gearbox in them. Very solid.

16-02-2014, 19:45
Discovered in the woods on lavenham airfield.15790

Paul Drake
10-04-2014, 23:53
It's officially called a tracked aircraft recovery dolly, often referred to as a tracjac.
They were occasionally used by 71 MU at Bicester.