to David Bale for
the following information
Mechanical Transport (M.T.) strength of the RAF had been reduced
at the end of the First World War. The exact vehicle and personnel
establishment in November 1922 being printed in precise detail in
Bruce Robertson's excellent book 'Wheels of the RAF'
published by Patrick Stephens Limited in 1983.
1934 the politicians finally realised the danger of falling behind
in the air and RAF expansion was agreed. No.1 Universal Equipment
Depot was opened at Hendon, moving to Wembley in 1936, being a MT
storage unit. Further M.T. stores depots were opened, these later
became Maintenance Units (M.U.s)
the outbreak of war it became necessary to impress civilian
vehicles, the Army having priority.
Air Striking Force (AASF) in France had barely sufficient
transport some standard vehicles were shipped from the U.K. and 40
Renault vans and a few busses, the latter held in a pool, were
was necessary to have a pool of vehicles and drivers to afford
greater mobility to squadrons and stations and transportation
between railheads and ports, from these factors came the
introduction of the M.T. Companies (Coys).
first three were formed in July of 1940, No.1 at Darlington, No.2
at Cambridge and No.3 at Borough Green, Kent.
1 M.T. Company
On 16th July 1940 Fl/ Lt Carmichael and P/O Murphy from RAF Henlow
went to The Air Ministry, Kingsway to form the new unit, ordering
typewriters and stationery, traveling from Kings Cross to
Darlington to set up No 1 M T Company.
were to be based on Neasham Road ground. W.O George and eight
airmen had already arrived. Tables and chairs were provided by RAF
19th July P/O Whitehead and P/O O'Neil and 110 N C Os and airmen
arrived. Fatigue parties set about digging drainage ditches. P/O O'Brien
was posted in on 25th July.
the end of the month the unit received six Commer 15cwt trucks.
Twenty airmen and a NCO went to No. 1 MT Storage Unit, Wembley to
collect 10 coaches (It would be interesting to find if these were
impressed civilian vehicles. )
tenders were collected from No.7 M.U. RAF Quedgley.
Unit HQ was set up at Mowden Hall, a Cpl and 4 Cooks and Butchers
move to Mowden Hall was made on 12th September and NAAFI
facilities sought, the NAAFI was set up later in the month.
Writing in 1975 Mr F H Marchbank, who had set up a Preparatory
School at Mowden Hall in September 1935 told of a holiday at
Windermere in 1940 where ''he saw a suitable building
Fallbarrow, which he considered to be a suitable ''funk hole''.
Knowing that parents wished to move their boys west the school
evacuated to Fallbarrow. He received a telegram from the Air
Ministry telling him that the building had been requisitioned for
the RAF. He returned to find RAF vehicles on the tennis court and
a sentry at the door.
October 25 Bedford (these were probably OY models or possibly
impressed. and 25 Ford 3-tonners were brought from RAF Quedgley.
7 Squadron Bomber Command had recently converted to the new four
engine Short Stirling at RAF Leeming. Early in November on their
first major operational task 1 MT moved the bomber squadron to RAF
revised establishment from No.40 Group, Maintenance Command
resulted in Sergeants being posted in to take charge of Sections,
a Warrant Officer in charge of discipline and a Fl/Lt AS Unit Adjutant.
Unit paraded on the 17th November for Mayor's Sunday and on the
22nd collected a Me 109 to be exhibited as part of War Weapons
the end of December 1940 the Unit collected another 25 Fordson
trucks form No.7 MU Quedgley.
Mileage figures published were:- January 17,087. February March
24,835 May 27,019 June 12,154
18,068 Sept 15,874 October 17,756.
February 1941 F/O Whitehead was posted to No.3 MT Company. In May
2 Officers were attached and 3 Motorcyclists were posted to No. 5
MT Company, then forming at Woodvale.
July a major convoy was involved running between Lindholme,
Syerston and Swinderby, In September a similar exercise from
October two Crossleys towed the Cooker trailers, equipped with
Turley and Williams cookers to Whitley Bay where meals were
provided for 1700 men. This was possibly for the construction of a
camp for 22 Recruit Centre?
July 1942 the cooker trailers were positioned at Carlisle railway
station where they fed United States personnel passing through.
August a detachment at RAF Wyton helped No.2 M T Company to move
A full dental inspection was carried out by a mobile team.
August 1943 the Unit was to be disbanded and No. 2 MT Coy were to
become a four Flight company..
J C Ellis was appointed O C Rearguard and the Unit disbanded in
3 M.T. Company
Green The Unit was set up on 16th July 1940 at Maidstone, Kent
under the command of Fl/Lt A A Radclyffe.
24th he was joined by a Flt/Sgt, a Sgt 4 corporals and 24 airmen
who were billeted at Greenway, London Road, West Malling. Two
Flights were to be billeted at the Bull Hotel, Wrotham with one at
Maidstone and one at Oakenshott.
days later four F/Sgt's seven Corporals and 115 Airmen, with
Crossley tenders and an articulated vehicle arrived at Oakenshott
together with a Corporal and two Cooks and Butchers.
9th September 1940 the Unit was put on Standby ready for an
October the cooker trailers provided meals to No 66 Spitfire
squadron at West Malling and to Defiant squadrons No. 141 at
Gravesend and 264 at Rochford.
Unit was part of 54 Wing
the unit moved to Ightyr???
July 1942 the unit moved to requisitioned premises: The Close
1942 consideration was given to cultivating land again 27/11/42???
M.T. vehicles were used in Northern Ireland during December 1943.
The Unit operated from Leicester East from 22/5/43.
31/3/46 and amalgamating with No 2 M.T. Company.
4 M.T. Company
RAF Form 540 pages for No 4 MT are very sparse.
Unit was established at 9 Abbey Road on 1st May 1941 under command
of Fl/Lt C J Smith MC.
15/1/42 moved to 20 Langford Place, St Johns Wood NW8.
22/11/43 to 116 Hamilton Terrace.
the Unit provided 80 vehicles for operations with the United
Jones mailed and later wrote in November 2010.....
now I've managed to find your Email, I can expand a little on my
time with 4 MT, RAF Kidbrooke. I had an exciting and hectic time
there. A huge pool of vehicles at the place, mostly in hangars.
Many of the drivers were aircrew awaiting de-mob. I was a
frustrated aircrew candidate who opted for MT when I discovered
aircrew were no longer needed.
day was an adventure. Sometimes taking Bedford QL troop carriers
to main line stations where we would often stay overnight until
the troops arrived. Then a taxi service for officers and others
for transit across London, sometimes to private addresses,
hospitals, military establishments, etc. As I said in my letter, I
was not a good driver and had many hair raising incidents.
Improved after posting to war-torn Germany. RAF Kidbrooke is now a
large housing estate. There is not a trace of the place, or the
WRAFs I used to chase in my free time. Hope you can tell me a
little about your experiences in MT.
Featherstone wrote in November 2010.....
did square bashing at Hednesford and MT training at Weeton. I was
at RAF Kidbrooke (No. 4 MT Coy) London SE3 From December 1951 to
June 1953. I was a MTD and re-mustered to MTDM after 3 months
there. driving mainly coaches.
civilians outnumbered RAF personnel both in fitters and drivers.
The Air Ministry jobs you speak of were mainly done by the civvy
drivers although we did a few runs as well. But we, the RAF
drivers and dispatch riders did most of the longer and more
interesting journeys i.e. taking guards of honour to various
functions in and around London or further afield. I worked on the
Coronation for 6 weeks prior to it and on the day itself. RAF
Kidbrooke was situated right beside Kidbrooke railway station
Southern region. If you look on Google Earth for Kidbrooke Park
road SE3 you'll see where it was. It's now a school, where the
football pitch is was where our billets and cookhouse were then.
The tennis courts is where the workshops were, the school itself
is where the SHQ and married quarters were and the present
entrance was the Main Gate.
15 Rockwood Close
was at Kidbrooke from June 1961 until June 1965. There was a
detachment at Woolwich Arsenal for the storage and transport of
''Deep sea'' boxes these being taken to the various London
docks, Royal Albert and Victoria, West Indies, King George Vth
Wapping Basin and St Georges Wharf.
5 M.T. Company
formed in January 1941 to handle Liverpool docks traffic moving
cased/crated aircraft from Southport to the docks.
imported U.S. aircraft were handled for later erection in December
1943 nine crated Stinsons and eight Piper Cubs were transported to
the American depot at Grove. Towed from the docks was a U 64A
Norduyn Norseman utility aircraft.
Unit moved to Woodvale in February 1946 and disbanded on 16th
at Bishopsbriggs in March 1941 to serve Glasgow docks. Donald
Service served there as well as on 51 MT Company in Egypt.
disbanded in September 1948.
The Unit formed at Commercial Road , Anlaby, Kingston upon Hull on
13th March 1941. Where it operated for a year, the unit moved to
Cardiff, staging overnight through RAF Stafford in February 1942.
was established at 82 Pearl Street by 24th April. Later moving to
Tremorfa where the Form 540 also indicates flying activity.
disbanded on 31st July 1946.
The Unit formed on 11th December 1941 and by June 1945 was at
540 records discussion groups being held the topics including:
of Germany after the war.
election be held before the defeat of Japan
The Jap War
reinstatement in private business.
moved to Leicester East on 21st March 1946 and disbanded on the
31st, presumably being absorbed into No 2 M.T. Company.