Old Blokes!!?! Never worked on one but I seem to remember having to paint one at Bordon (voluntary work of course). However Harry, your avatar reminds me of how 430 pack lifts used to be prior to the new fangled "Barrow" took over..no chemical loo though. Mind you as the crafty, I would have that to clean as well!!
Yo Harry 7134,
I think that by 1963 most tank regts had at least one Conq ARV. I was with 11H in Hohne in '63 and '64 and I'm sure there was a Conq ARV - pretty space age then alongside the Cent variants and the miscellany of WW11 kit including half tracks in the sqn LADs. During Ex Deep South I vaguely recall 17/21 being involved - the whole brigade 'rested' over a weekend in acres of stubble fields. I have a photo somewhere of a joint operation to recover a Cent or a Conq with MAYBE a Conq ARV. Don't know if this helps but it brought back memories of hanging upside down inside a cent in complete darkness trying to replace a coolant pipe; rather fortunately the crew had had the good sense to lose power right outside a gastatte!
the reason for the query was a good story, but the old memory cells seem to decline each time they are asked to perform.
the avatar is very similar to my old half track, but they were able to do pack changes on Chieftains as well, and were deeply missed by the "old brigade", as we liked our home comforts!
Because the half tracks were a dying breed, we were allowed quite a bit of latituude as to what we could do to improve life in them. Most were fitted with four steel framed canvas beds, suspended on chains from the roof, individual reading lights on each bed, powerpoints for electric razors (purloined with the help of Ecces from radio sets) and many had driving seats from cars in place of the standard seats with very thin cushions. I did see one track that had a stove, as per gypsy caravan, fitted, but this was frowned on as it was fairly close to the petrol tank inside the body.
Driving half track was good fun, as beside the drivers seat across the cab floor were no less than four gear levers. This is were the memory is a bit suspect, but in order they were nearest , winch engagement lever ( forward to winch out, back to winch in), next came the ordinary gear box lever, ( standard "H" pattern shift), then two more levers, generally operated by the commander , (on a shout from the driver), and these controlled the "four wheel drive" and the "low ratio" gearbox.
In addition there was a small hand throttle lever on the dash, along with a plethora of American syle gauges.
To add to the joy of sorting out which lever was which, when driving you had to remember that there was approximately 12 feet of jib sticking out in front of the front bumper, the top half of which you could not see, as your vision was limited by the very narrow windscreens, with their amour plated "eyebrows" stopping any upwards vision.
In the FRG role, the replacement assembly was carried in a one ton trailer, which was further modified by having "baskets " welded on the side to carry spare oil, fuel,water and rations. This resulted in the trailer and assembly being far too heavy to push around, so your reversing skills had to be good. (The beer was always carried INSIDE the track)!
To erect the jib you winched in, just enough to pull the folded section over the point of balance, and then the rest of the crew lowered it to its working position. Folding it back into place was also controlled by the winch, taking care not to let out too much slack rope or the jib crashed into the roof milliseconds before the Tiffys hand done the same thing to your head!
In the days of Centurion engine changes, it was not unusual for the driver to be sitting in his seat for several hours, and with the boredom, and the heat from the engine, falling asleep was very easy, only to be wakened by some heavy tool being thrown from the tank.
The driver was also responsible for the crew`s welfare whenon a job, from making tea to making sure the tankies did their jobs, and at the end of a job getting the crew back "home".
Sorry if I rabbitted on a bit , but I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed my time with "my" track, and would love to have one to drive right now!
Yo Harry 7134,
Amongst other tasks I drove the AQMS in the wksp office austin 1 ton radio wagon and office trailer. There was a waiting list at the tin bashers for drop down metal framed beds which hung on meat hooks from the canopy of suitable vehicles ace! but a bit of a squeeze when you had to stand too. Real luxury of course was the box body machine shop inhabited by the turners they could stand up straight. Remember Benghazi burners? maybe folk still use them? Happy days at A1 ech.