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See Homepage. This page: Various photos of Bedford RL trucks driven during a stint of National Service in the Army.
Original transport photographs
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Bedford RL Army lorries.

A Bedford RL truck used by the military

Firstly, I'm indebted to Ray who sent me these photographs, taken during his service with the British Army during the 1950s. The Army RL was in effect a military version of the civilian S-Type lorry, albeit with 4x4 running gear as opposed to the civilian S-Type's 2wd arrangement. The first photograph, shown above, has a young Ray at the wheel of his Bedford, en route to Hanover in Germany.

RL Photo 2
Ray's regular steed was this RL, registration number 12 CE 72. The front of these lorries is perhaps most often associated with the Green Goddess fire appliances used from the 1950s well into the new millenium, as the front end tinwork was almost identical. The militarised RL was a very different machine under the skin though.

The RL was fitted with a 6 cylinder petrol engine as standard, producing 110bhp and proved sufficient to pull this 3-ton rated lorry around. The RLs in service were upgraded to 4 ton capacity in 1968. Apparently over 73,000 RLs were produced, with the model first being offered to the public in August of 1952.

Next up are two photographs again featuring Ray's Bedford. To the left is a shot of his lorry parked up at the Hamelin Barracks, being washed down by hose, and alongside a shot from inside the cab, as driver and vehicle cross the River Weser, a river that runs down through Bremen, passing close to Hannover and southwards in the general direction of Frankfurt, albeit some way to the East of this city.

More photos of Bedford RL lorries

RL Photo 3
Next in this mini-assortment of Bedford RL photographs, is this front three-quarter view of the RL-W Bedford, complete with its GS rear body and canvas tilt.

As with most military vehicles, these Bedfords ran on bar-grip tyres, designed to offer decent traction in varying road and off-road conditions. They could however clog up as this tyre design isn't always at its best on mud once the grooves have clogged up, but overall they are the best compromise. On the road though they can give a hard, and noisy, ride. No power steering in those days either, so drivers of lorries back then had to be made of stern stuff.

RL Photo 4
The final picture shows Ray's RL parked up, with a tug boat and trailer hitched to the rear. All these photos were taken while Ray was on National Service, where he was a 'sapper driver' delivering and collecting various rations and hardware. Much of his time was spent in and around Hanover, and was stationed close by to the VW factory there. Some photos of the Volkswagen factory will feature on the site shortly.

Thanks again to Ray for sending these photos over, and allowing them to be featured at oldclassiccar! Original photographs of this model's predecessor, the OY, can be found on this page of the site.
Return to the old transport photos - Page 5.
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