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Area Report - Windscreen April Issue 147
The 2014 Wilkinson Sword Award for the most miles travelled in a wartime military vehicle comes to our Area for the first time. Paul Mayo travelled some 1100 + UK miles in his GMC 353 and a further 320 in France last year. ‘Bessie’, his hard cab GMC, is rather smart and quite distinctive having RAF markings with Echo 42 Band written on the doors. I saw it for the first time at Valley Gardens in Harrogate, last June, where the Band was entertaining the huge crowds. Paul plays the trombone and I understand that the Band can be seen in the new film about the two Royal Princesses celebrating VE Day titled A Royal Night Out which is released on May 15th.
Paul Mayo's GMC 353
Click picture for larger readable version
Stuart Kinroy also enjoyed the delights of film work last November on the set of the new Dad’s Army film. He has written a short piece about his experiences which you can read in the 2014 Events Gallery HERE, including a larger version of the image to the right.

Brian reports on last year’s ‘Christmas Cracker Run’ from Lotherton Hall, just outside Leeds, to Wetherby Sports Association. This is as much a social gathering as a small convoy run for our military vehicles. 

“The use of Lotherton Hall café facilities preceded the run which was made up of 18 vehicles, with one or two cars coming along too. The route covered 35 miles along minor roads to take us to Wetherby where hot food, drinks and an open bar were waiting for us. The weather was very kind being bright and sunny, but with more than a hint of frost and ice on the roads, to keep our concentration levels up - bar grip tyres aren’t the best in those conditions!

Tim Benton caught up with us in his new purchase, a 1942 bright yellow Chevrolet pick up, and very splendid it looked too. However, when it came time for the convoy to set off he discovered he had a very flat battery, and ended up being left behind with ‘Thunderbird One’ in the guise of Dave Reape in his VW Iltis looking after him. The food was good and so was the company. It also gave us a chance to catch up and get out of the house over Christmas and get some fresh air in our lungs”! 

He adds “The following Sunday we had a last minute invitation to the newly purchased Church Fenton aerodrome. The new owner wanted an open day to celebrate his purchase, and invited aircraft to fly in as well as the support of our military vehicles. Some 250 aircraft flew in, and in the region of 20 military vehicles turned up too, as well as hundreds of general public to have a look round. We had the luxury of parking in one of the hangers. The day was good weather wise which allowed us to enjoy the drive and the fly in etc. “There is hope for the future, in terms of events being held on the site, as the new owner seems to be very open minded about keeping it going as an airfield. 
On the vehicle front we will see a newly restored No 5 body Morris Quad, owned by Mike Peacock, finally surface this year after being hidden away for over 30 years or is it over 40 years! Mel Bean was charged with its rebuild and quite a challenge it proved too. Towards the end of the War, 1944 in fact, Morris Commercials seemed to have gone out of their way to design and build a most complicated vehicle to replace the beetle back quad. In my view some of the design features defy all logic at a time when money and time were critical issues. A Bedford QL would have done the job very nicely.

Mel has also recently rewired one of three Scammell Pioneers owned by Ashley Walker which arrived at his workshop during blizzard conditions in mid January. Conditions had improved for him to tackle his first drive on the road early one Sunday morning. Scammells not being noted for speed or ease of driving!

On the Austin K2 front I went to the South Yorkshire Transport Museum to have a look at Tim Shelcock’s ambulance whilst he had the engine was out for a rebuild. He stores the K2 at the splendid facility and had invited me down as this was an ideal opportunity to see the front end of a K2 chassis whilst our search for a complete one to start an ambitious rebuild continues. 
Nick Bullock is also in the process of restoring a K2 and with Bob and Simon Fenton owning two; the Area is rapidly becoming the epicentre of existing ambulances. For anyone interested in old vehicles the Museum is well worth a visit.

Bob Wales has acquired one of the Bedford QLs from Stuart Wright’s haul and has already managed to source a replacement cab. It certainly looks like a real challenge from the photo, but it will be great to see another of these fine trucks back on the show circuit.

Mike Shackleton likes Bedfords. He has a QLD and an OXD already, but has been brave enough to relieve Stuart of the other two QLs. I’m to catch up with him soon and have a look at them. More on their restoration later. 

Denis Matthewman’s Standard Tilly has joined the Royal Navy establishment in changing hands and is now owned by Jack Ford and Tony Boyle. New markings to follow no doubt.

At the February Area meeting there was a small treat in store in the shape of Brian armed with the lap top and projector, with a selection of photos and videos to watch. The photos were of the crank down in September, courtesy of Mike Hemingway and Sharon Annat, and some were pretty good too. Also we had a video loaned to us by Ian and taken by his son in Afghanistan. It was a purely personal view of life over there and what goes on, but very interesting though, nevertheless.

Having done this, and it appeared to be quite popular, he’s decided that for the next couple of months at least, he’ll take the lap top and projector along to the meetings to show a selection of videos and photos that members ( yourselves ) bring in to share. Talking of photographs, Ian Garbutt has gathered together a collection of 2,780 pictures! and videos taken by group members over the 10 day XXX Corps extravaganza in Holland last September. He has amalgamated and sorted them into date order, reduced the size of lots, mainly his own, and managed to squeeze the collection onto 2 x DVDs. Perhaps 15-20 minutes worth of the best might suit an Area meeting.

Dates for the diary: Northern Militaria at Newark is on the 26th April. Our Battle Group North show takes place over the weekend 8/9/10 May. Please note entry is compulsory for everybody. Entry forms are available on our web site and need to be posted with a SAE to Gary Docherty. So if you haven’t done so already you had better get a move on! www.battlegroupnorth.co.uk

Please ring me or e mail me with what’s going on with your vehicles, sales, buys, rebuilds, trips off etc. Finally, please use our Website for Sales and Wants it really does work and is free.

Mike Humphreys.