Page 1.   Shelvoke & Drewry Enthusiasts' Club Newsletter - Spring 2021.


By Roger Morrisroe.

An SD Freightlifter Model 82 at RAF Bahrain.

Roger Morrisroe did his National Service in the Royal Air Force from 1960 – 1962. He sent the above photo with the following explanation:-

This was taken by me on National Service at RAF Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf probably in1961.  This Freightlifter was finished in beige/sand colour. I went into the MT section one day to collect a Land Rover as I was to visit the Navy station on the other side of the Island.  This FLT was in the workshop with a problem. I asked the Chiefy:- “What is the problem?” and he said that it would not lift the load. I replied:- “Do you want me to have a look at it?” explaining that I had spent the last two years of my apprenticeship in the SD Service Dept. He asked:-  What trade are you? I replied:- “Signals, but I used to work for SD who built and serviced these trucks.” The reply was:- “You are not qualified to work on these trucks.” I bade him goodbye and went on my way to see the Navy.

On this station the RAF flew Scottish Aviation single Pioneers.  A mod came out on this aircraft and the RAF asked MOD to arrange a S.A. fitter to come out to do the mod. S A told MOD they already had a fitter in the RAF in Bahrain and they would not send anyone. The fitter was a cook, on National Service. He was taken out of the cookhouse, told to wear civilian clothes, and report to the SGT’s Mess and then report to the Hangers to carry out the mods.  He spent two weeks in the SGT’s mess, two weeks modifying the aircraft and then went back to being a cook.  On this occasion MOD had to do as they were told.

When reading Owen Whitehand’s account about the MOD FLT contract I was reminded of when the first truck ( a Freightlifter Model 82 ) was ready for MOD inspection. Their inspector was checking the depth of the yellow paint on various areas around the truck by scraping the paint back and then measuring the thickness. He was not satisfied and the truck had to be repainted. 

It transpired that when the trucks were received by the forces they were immediately resprayed in the appropriate forces colour.  RAF Blue, RN Navy Blue and RA Green and Camouflage.  Even back then MOD knew how to waste time and money.  Nothing seems to change. 

Roger Morrisroe July 2020.

I believe the above photo was taken at RAF Wittering (It was taken by the Stamford Mercury) but it appears to be a Canadian aeroplane. (Roger identifies this as a R.C.A.F. C 82 Fairchild Packet.) Note the non-telescopic mast on the Model 82 Freightlifter.

This photo was taken at the Bristol Aeroplane Works at Filton, Bristol, and shows the Freightlifter removing a Proteus Power Plant from the engine stand.


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