Page 3.   Shelvoke & Drewry Enthusiasts' Club Newsletter - Autumn 2018.

DIAMONDS TO THE RESCUE.


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In the early years of the Second World War the British army had a severe shortage of tank transporter vehicles. These were based on the Scammell Pioneer 30 ton semi-trailer tank transporter or the Albion CX24S but the latter was found by the War Office to be unreliable. As Scammell were unable to increase production they turned to the U.S.A.’s Diamond T based M19 tank transporter. But this consisted of a separate tractor with a drawbar trailer. The War Office’s preference for a semi-trailer was that with that configuration the weight of the load is transferred to the driving wheels eliminating the need for a ballast load on the tractor unit.

Late in 1942 Shelvoke & Drewry were ask to explore the possibility of converting the Diamond T to create a semi-trailer tank transporter using the Scammell trailer. Often people are surprised that the company that produced the somewhat eccentric SD Freighter had the expertise for such an enterprise, but in fact the Freighter was an ingenious design which demanded a high level of engineering skill from the company. By December 1942 S&D had produced a hybrid tank transporter with a Diamond T tractor unit and the unmodified Scammell trailer. Tested against the Scammell Pioneer the SD modification acquitted itself well. The ballast box had been removed from the Diamond T and a simple adaptation carried the Scammell ball joint trailer coupling just ahead of the bogie centre line. 100 examples of the tank transporter were ordered from S&D and the company designed a semi-trailer which follows the Scammell design butb also has elements of the contemporary Dyson 40 ton drawbar trailer.

The major difference was in the treatment of the loading ramps. In the Scammell design these were raised and lowered by a hand operated winch. Talking to me in 2004 the late Vic Negus , who was an SD apprentice in those War years could vividly remember the astonishment of the War Office officials when one man stepped forward and lowered the ramps which were cleverly counterbalanced by springs.
 
Ramp details.
After the initial order S&D received further orders for 120 30 ton tank transporters. An interesting footnote is that towards the end of the War the War Office tested a trailer with a 40 ton load and concluded that they could carry that load in an emergency. The photos are from those rescued from a recycling centre and kindly donated to me in April 2009. The information given here is based on an article in Classic Military Vehicles April 2002.
 


Trailers under construction.

Footnote:- In 2006 Kevin Green informed me that surprisingly the remains of an SD tank transporter trailer remained at a garage near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. The garage had adapted it for use as a ramp for inspection, steam cleaning etc. Vehicles were driven on to it up an earth bank and the other end was sup-ported by a brick pillar. The running gear had been removed, the central crossmembers had also been re-moved, the frame had been cut off directly above the rearmost axle and the triangular stop blocks at the front had been cut off. Soon after this inspection ramp was dismantled and the remains disposed of.

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