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Homepage. This page: A pair of interesting black and white photos, both featuring a pre-war cattle lorry.

A 2 ton Bedford cattle lorry.

Helena kindly sent this pair of photographs over, she is researching a Bedford lorry that was once used by her family's business. Both photographs show a mid-1930s Bedford, registration BTA 397 (a Devon number), bodied as a cattle truck. The first picture shows the lorry head-on, and the signwriting for W. Reddaway Jr., Cattle Transport, of Belstone (nr. Okehampton) can clearly be read. The wonderful old telephone number, Sticklepath 53, is also given. Note the AA Commercial-style badge fitted to the headlamp crossbar, and what could be a BDC (Bedford Driver's Club) badge fitted to the nearside end of the bumper.
Pre-war Bedford lorry
The second photo was taken from a high up vantage point, looking down at the Bedford parked in the middle of a cattle market. Note the timber construction of the rear body, with both rear doors open and the ramp in place.
A cattle lorry in a market
The Bedfords of the mid-1930s were available in three chassis variations:
  • Bedford WHG - 2 tonner - 10ft 11in wheelbase
  • Bedford WLG - 2 tonner - 13ft 1in wheelbase
  • Bedford WS - 1.5 tonner (30cwt) - 10ft 11in wheelbase
For transporting cattle, I'm sure a 2 ton lorry would have been specified, so this I think makes the Bedford shown either a WHG or WLG. If the overall diameter of the wheels was known, it would be possible to have a stab at the wheelbase of this lorry, my suspicion is that it is the longer, WLG, model.
Handily, there is a story about the restoration of a 1930s Bedford WHG lorry already on the site - see the Bedford WHG page - and I'm sure that the lorry shown above has a longer wheelbase than this green restored WHG.
This range of pre-war lorries was introduced in 1931, utilising the cab of a contemporary Chevrolet truck (also part of General Motors), with the remainder of the design being British. Early examples featured "British Bedford" badges fitted to the bonnet sides, sold under the slogan "You See Them Everywhere". Production of the three basic models, all powered by a straight-six petrol engine of 26.3hp (RAC), continued until 1939.
If anyone can shed any more light on the type of Bedford shown here, I'm sure Helena would be interested to hear from you. Just drop me a line and I'll pass the info on, and add it to this page.
Various snippets relating to other old Bedfords can be found across this site, including a PC screensaver, free ads in the lorry classifieds section, and photographs of various Bedford (plus other cars and commercials) in the vintage photographs section.
Return to Old Car Photos Page No. 8.

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