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Homepage. This page: Vanguard pickups, in service with the Royal Air Force in the 1950s.

Standard Vanguard pickup, RAF Aston Down.

David's father was a big fan of Standard Vanguard cars, owning a number of Phase 1 Vanguards himself. Photographs of these cars, including an estate version of the Phase 1, already feature on the site. Now though a trio of David's own photographs, that he took while serving in the Royal Air Force, during the 1950s. Of the first, head-on, photograph, David adds the following recollections:
"This one was taken at RAF Aston Down, nr Cirencester. Dad had the two Vanguards, so when I went in the RAF and to the driving school at RAF Weeton, nr Blackpool, I had a head start. So I drove some of the training fleet, and then was posted to RAF Stafford where I drove all versions, but only one with a boot. I have no photos of those I'm afraid. I was then posted to RAF Colerne and from there sent on detachments. This was one such, and we were based at RAF South Cerney, just outside Cirencester, and I took the crew to Aston Down where I mostly hung about all day until time to take them back."
"69AR17 and 69AR14 were both pickups, and I haven't a photo of the latter but both were regulars to my backside. I did drive others of course. From Colerne I was sent to Cyprus, where I finished my service. Before I went to Colerne or Cyprus, not sure which, Dad had sold the Vanguards and had a Morris Oxford, followed by a razor edge model. On my demob, he was awaiting in a specially-modified Farina Oxford (column change, which they did not make, but is another story - suffice to say, he got one!!)."
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
Standard Vanguard Pickup, at RAF Aston Down

An RAF pickup stationed in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Two further photographs from David's collection, record one of the Vanguard pickups that served with the RAF in Nicosia. Again a head-on front view of a Standard, this example has the earlier Phase 1 grille, when compared to the Phase 1a type shown previously.
Phase 1 Standard Vanguard pickup, front view
"These two were taken at RAF Nicosia. I had been sent out when the civilian Greeks were sacked, and was attached to 5001 Sqn, but working for the AMWD, (Air Ministry Works Dept), which was the civilian department. Thus I was allocated this pick up, and I took the Turkish, and British engineers about, along with other staff and vehicles. I was with them for about 8-9 months and drove the AMWD fleet vehicles, Austin Lodestar 1-tonners, Karrier Bantams, Bedford SLC and RLC 3-tonners, and a Vanguard Utility (surprisingly metallic green!). No photo, but that was mine for a short while, as was a Land Rover, and a Morris Minibus."
"The green Vanguard was nicknamed "PeeWee's Taxi", and I had a little metal plate above the bumper. This was stolen and I made another one out of hardboard, which I still have at home. PeeWee was my nickname after PeeWee Hunt the bandleader, whose signature tune was "Twelfth Street Rag". Taxi was for my civilian job of course. The attached had a typical back axle whine for the duration I had it, and was the one I eventually drove to the scrap compound in the camp."
"When driving off site to the surrounding countryside, we were armed with a WW1 (!) Sten gun. For this, I qualified for the General Service Medal (GSM). When the emergency was over, I was posted to RAF Akrotiri, and "back in the RAF" so to speak, and I then drove another set of vehicles but mostly SLC/RLC, Bedford coaches, and my favourites, the Bedford SA Articulated "Queen Marys". There were regular runs to Famagusta Docks on those, and just before de-mob, I collected horses and a cart with a QM from Army camp Wayne's Keep, RAF Lakatamia, and a pony from Moni Police Station, which was a gift to the Akrotiri Saddle Club which was just starting up. It is still going today some 55 years later!!"
David with his pickup in Nicosia
Thanks for the photographs David, and the memories you have of driving this now-rare variant of the Standard Vanguard.
Return to Page 19 in the photographic archive, or visit the main index here. Photographs of the Vanguard van version may now be found on this page.

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