ROOF OVER BRITAIN

SCOTTISH HOME FRONT LIVING HISTORY SOCIETY
Anti Aircraft     Home Guard     Land Army     Timber Corps
A E C Matador     GENELCO. 3.7 inch Gun.     Fordson model N


Vehicles

Fordson 1939 model N tractor added by John Webster on 18 Jan 2009 - 18:38.
In 1917 Ford started mass production of its model F tractor at Dearborn USA, the first 6,000 being supplied to the British government to help wartime food production. Two years later, an assembly plant was opened at Cork, Ireland. In 1929 Ford moved production of its Fordson model N from Cork to the new plant at Dagenham and at the same time changed the colour from gray to blue. In 1938 some improvements to design were introduced and the colour changed to orange. In 1940, a large number of orange tractors parked at the factory waiting transport was thought to be too obvious a target for the Luftwaffe to miss, so the colour was again changed, this time to green. By 1943 production had reached its peak at 100 units per day. It was this tractor, more than any other that helped Brittish agriculture beat the U boat blockade, and was the first machine that many Land Girls learnt to drive.
I first saw this tractor in 1975. It was in a sorry state, lying at the back of a shed at a local agricultural engineers, having been traded in for something newer many years previous. After months of negotiation it was bought and removed to my friends farm. It was rebuilt over the next two years, and attended many local vintage shows. In April 2006 I decided it was looking a bit shabby, so it was stripped down for a quick tidy up. In May 2008 I eventually got it back together again! See GALLERY pictures

Fordson model N number 2 added by John Webster on 17 Feb 2009 - 18:35.
This second Fordson used in the Land Army displays, belongs to friend and fellow machinery enthusiast Jim Davidson. Although painted green, as it was when we found it, this tractor was also built in 1939 and so would originaly have been orange / yellow. Tractors were often repainted in the new or current colours by their owners, especially if they were being offered for sale.

Bedford QL 3 ton 4X4 added by John Webster on 17 Feb 2009 - 18:55.
From 1941 to 1945 Bedford built 52,250 QLs making it the most numerious 4 X 4 three tonner of the war.
I had always been an admirer of British army lorries, and the Bedford QL is one of the best examples of a purpose built WW2 three tonner. I had seen this lorry at the Dumfries Aviation Museum open days, and at the 2007 event it was sporting a for sale sign.
Some enquires were made, and a few weeks later I went to the owners place for a test drive, the inevitable happened, - I became the new owner.
The lorry had originaly been built as a QLR radio truck, but the office body had been replaced by a drop-side GS body from a later RL. This was no real problem, since it was my intention to fit a Machinery body anyway, and the RL body was a good usable temporary measure. See GALLERY pictures

Morris Commercial MRA1 1953. 1 ton GS truck added by John Webster on 17 Feb 2009 - 18:58.
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A.E.C. Matador (first Matador) added by John Webster on 17 Feb 2009 - 19:01.
Built by the Associated Equipment Company Ltd. at Southall, London. The Matador Medium Artillery Tractor must rank as one of the most successful vehicles of the war. Just under 10,000 were built between 1939 to 1945 the vast majority of which were gun tractors, although other types of bodies were fitted.
I bought this Matador in 1991 from a friend, who had started restoring it but had then lost his storage space. Built in 1942, it had been retired from army service in 1970 and sold off at the Ruddington sales. Bought by LW Vass it was converted to a recovery truck and subsequently bought by Bus operators Grahams of Paisley. By the late '80s most buses could not be lifted by a crane type recovery, too much plastic and fiberglass meant that spectacle lifts were required, so the Matador was again retired, this time for restoration.
I decided that I would try and return it to artillery tractor spec. The recovery crane was removed along with what was left of the original body. and a replacement body was built out of an AEC Millitant Artillery tractor body. Restoration continued until in July 1994 it was ready for its first long distance run to the Cumbrian steam fare at Flookburgh. Over the next ten years it covered many thousands of miles including visits to Normandy and Holland.
In January 2005 it was parked in a friends storage unit when the building and all its contents were completely destroyed by fire. The vehicles were insured, but no amount of insurance money can make up for all the effort and toil that goes into a project like that. See GALLERY pictures

A.E.C. Matador ( Matador No. 2) added by John Webster on 17 Feb 2009 - 19:08.
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Roof Over Britain - Copyright John Webster 2009

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