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Homepage. This page: The 'Queen of Salvage', a bus used by the Air Force at RAF Kaskareet in Egypt during WW2.

RAF bus used by 107 MU.

At first glance, the following two photographs of a very unusual bus threw up more questions than they were answering. The vehicle is bodied as a single-decker coach or bus, one that sits very high suggesting that the chassis wasn't original designed for bus/coach use. The wheels are also reminiscent of a military vehicle, perhaps indicating that a military vehicle had been converted into a bus, using an adapted coach body removed from another vehicle.
Handily one of the photos shows this fascinating coach head-on, clearly showing the "rising sun" radiator grille that has been made specially for the job (not unlike the badge used on Albion lorries). It sports the letters 107 MU, and RAF, helping to identify the unit operating this bus as 107 Maintenance Unit (MU), of RAF Kasfareet in Egypt, located close to the Suez Canal. In the background, the M.T. (Motorized Transport) shed, no doubt the location for this vehicle's creation.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
RAF bus with 107 MU in Egypt
The belief that this body started on another chassis is reinforced by the head-on view which shows the entrance door, some 2-3ft above ground level, requiring the use of a step. A partition behind the driver's seat can also be made out, no doubt adding some reinforcement to the structure.
The second view of the coach shows just how tall a vehicle this was. The military-spec diamond tread tyres have been polished up, probably for the benefit of the photographer, while the two- or three-tone paintjob emphasises the design work that has gone into building the body. Further reinforcement of the coachwork is evident through the side windows of the vehicle.
RAF 107 MU vehicle
The coach has been named "The Queen of Salvage", again backing up my theory that this is a vehicle comprising parts from many sources. In the background a small pickup truck can be seen.
Some online research brought up this page, which includes a side view of the very same "Queen of Salvage" bus used by RAF Kaskareet. This page advises that the bus was built up from scrap by the M.T. section, and was used on a daily bus route to and from Cairo for anyone to use on their day off. Another page on the same site again shows the bus, in 1942, confirming that it was built during the Second World War.

More information on the Queen Of Salvage.

Four years after publishing this page, an email from Alex Larden arrived out of the blue, regarding the scenes shown above. Amazingly, the bus was built by his grandfather, and he's shown in the photograph on this page as Alex describes:
"I was interested in your photos of the bus, and your theory of its origin. I can tell you something about it - it was built out of crashed plane parts by my grandfather, Warrant Officer James Mann, who presented it to the locals. I have proof of this, as I have a hand-made silver cigarette case with the inscription "to the Mann who built the bus" (Mann spelt as his surname). I also have a silver i.d. bracelet with his name and service number on it, which the Egyptians also made. Along with that I have several photographs. My grandfather is the man in the photo, his rank at the time was I think Leading Aircraftsman. If you wish for any more information, don't hesitate to contact me.
Yours sincerely, Alex Larden."
From time to time, information regarding actual vehicles presented in this section of the site turns up, and it's brilliant to be able to add in the story behind the scenes caught in these old images. Many thanks for the update Alex.
Return to Page 13 in the classic & vintage car photo gallery.
Military vehicle enthusiasts may also find this photo, of a bus in use with the Royal Army Service Corps, to be of interest.

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