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Military vehicle registration numbers


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#1 Moonraker

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 12:08 PM

I've a number of images c1908 to 1920s showing cars used by senior army officers as well as military vehicles with the registration numbers clearly visible. Has any Pal had any experience of researching such numbers?

The website

http://www.bsaoc.dem...uk/existing.htm

confirms my vague notion that county record offices may hold details of early registration numbers, and I'm lucky that for Wiltshire there is a good run of records held at Trowbridge. I'm guessing that the numbers of some of the apparently-civilian cars would be included, but what about army lorries around the time of the Great War - where would these have been registered - were they "bought in" centrally and then allocated to depots around the country? And I guess that it was some time after the Great War that the "three pairs" of registration digits were introduced for military vehicles.

(In case you're thinking why don't I look up some of the registration numbers featured in my illustrations, Trowbridge CRO is some way from where I live and I don't plan a visit for some time.)


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#2 Moonraker

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 03:02 PM

I've just worked through Early Motor Vehicle Registration in Wiltshire 1903-1914 (edited by Ian Hicks, Wiltshire Record Society volume 58, Trowbridge 2006), which gives details of registration numbers AM 1 to AM 4419, AM being the index mark allocated to Wiltshire. Some of the vehicles listed were owned by soldiers serving in Wiltshire (noticeably including members of the Royal Artillery, Bulford and Royal Flying Corps personnel) or by organisations involved with war work. Though the book lists registrations first made up to December 31, 1914, it also records subsequent owners, including some based at wartime camps. I've noted a couple of famous names:

AM 2829: Douglas, July 23, 1914-January 14, 1920, Louis Arbon Strange, Central Flying School Netheravon (perhaps an error for CFS Upavon?)
AM 3001: Thornycroft ("for military transport purposes") April 18, 1913-January 17, 1915, Major Brook Popham, No 3 Squadron, RFC Larkhill

and half a dozen vehicles presumably bought locally and registered in Wiltshire in late 1914 by Sir John Jackson Ltd, the company that built many of the Salisbury Plain camps in 1914-15; also

AM 4258: Ford with ambulance body, October 31, 1914– ,The Commandant (C Coleridge), Wilts VAD No 5, Homington House, Salisbury

and several cars purchased for the use of, presumably, staff of the 13th and 19th Divisions, Bulford, together with

AM 4380: Indian motor cycle, December 10, 1914– , The Government of Canada, Militia and Defence Department, Canadian Ordnance Corps, Bulford Camp
AM 4381: Ford, December 11, 1914– , Lieutenant-Colonel Frank Stephen Meighan, 14th Royal Montreal Regiment, West Down South Camp.

Amazingly the 550-page book retails for just Ģ20. It's hard-back with separate indices for places, persons, owners' trades, motor cars and motor-cycles. Just think of the labour in transcribing all those records from the original!

Moonraker


#3 Runflat

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 02:39 PM

Unfortunately, many of the early local authority vehice registration mark records have been destroyed (they are marks, not numbers, as they include a mix of letters and numbers). The book "How to trace the history of your car" by Philip Riden details where the surving records are located.

The three pair VRM system (2 numbers, 2 letters, 2 numbers) used on military vehicles was introduced in 1949 allowing nearly 6 million permutations (00AA00 to 99ZZ99). It was replaced in 1993 with a letter number letter system (AA00AA to ZZ00ZZ) allowing something like 45 million permutations.

#4 Colin Jackson

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 09:56 PM

Moonraker
Another book worth reading on the subject is "A History of Motor Vehicle Registration in the United Kingdom" by L.H. Newall published by the author, of 12 Lusways Court, Salcombe Hill Road, Sidmouth, Devon EX10 8JS
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#5 phil w

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 11:29 PM

I have a copy of Glass's registration guide and registrations issued to military vehicles are shown as "Govt. Dep.". Military vehicles carried civilian registration marks right up until WW2. The only time before that was during WW1 when the serial number was carried on each side of the bonnet and sometimes across the rear. If you see a civilian registration on an apparently military vehicle it is probably the personal transport of an officer, they were allowed to use their own personal transport.

#6 Prussian

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 04:00 AM

I think you re looking for UK plates, right? There, I donīt have any infos, but if you or someone else is interesting in german number plates until 1945 (also military), hereīs the link:
http://www.nummernsc...ennzeichen.html