SALES OF GOVERNMENT SURPLUS VEHICLES
Crown vehicles were usually sold via auctions at the RUDDINGTON ORDNANCE STORAGE AND DISPOSAL DEPOT. This was situated on the A60, about 5miles south of Nottingham and was the RAOC's facility for the disposal of surplus equipment. After the war, there was a lot of surplus stock and much of it was acquired by other countries in order to replenish their depleted fleets. What was left over was sold at the newly converted Ordnance Factory at Ruddington. The first sale was in July 1946 and included Austin 10 HP 'Light Utilities' (Tillies), the precursors of our Morris 1000s. There were auctions half a dozen times a year from then until the depot closed in June 1983.
The MoD depot has now been developed as Rushcliffe Country Park. The Great Central Railway (Nottingham) formerly the Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre is on the site of the Marshalling Yards for the depot.
The auctions were conducted by Messrs Walker, Walton, Hanson of Nottingham and although most lots went to the Trade, it was possible for private bidders to make purchases. Many Crown vehicles went through these auctions and this explains the diverse range of Government Department vehicles which were available. Most were sold to specialist dealers who subsequently sold to the public. Some ex-BAOR vehicles were bought by dealers at the port of entry e.g. Hull. BAOR vehicles were sold at Munchengladbach and Hamm. Other overseas based vehicles were disposed of at the relevant location. Auctions also took place at other sites e.g. the Forestry Commission Facility at Chirk. Although some BAOR vehicles found their way back to the UK, many were disposed of abroad, hence the large number of Morris Minors to be found in Holland and Germany.
Each vehicle was sold with an Auction Release Note and, in the case of Military Vehicles, this document is necessary for establishing its military identity in the event of the Military Registration Number not being marked on it (e.g RAF and RN vehicles). This document was given to the local licensing office when the vehicle was first registered and may or may not be still available.
Vehicles for the various Government Departments were purchased by contract and distributed to the relevant agency.
Ministry of Works, latterly Property Services Agency (PSA). Maintained all Government Estate both Civil and Military and had offices at all Military bases. Morris 1000s formed part of the "small vehicle fleet" of Government self drive vehicles. They were used by workers and others around the site and for other tasks such as Pay Runs etc. High visibility yellow roofs were sometimes applied to those used on airfields. They had civilian registrations pre-allocated in blocks (usually London). They were supplied through the main workshops at Keynsham or Biggleswade and disposed of at Ruddington when either 5yrs old or after 55,000 miles, though many were kept for longer as they were so reliable.
When Morris Minors were purchased by the Ministry of Defence they were initially sent to Central Vehicle Depots throughout the country and abroad and from these were dispatched to the appropriate Service Unit. The depots were at Hilton (Derby), Ashchurch (Tewksbury), Irvine and Antwerp.
Many Crown vehicles had data plates attached and these gave varying amounts of information. (see pictures in "Gallery") Some explanation of terms may be useful.
- Code Number: The Army Vehicle Code (AVC) will be 1140/0659 (UK), 1140/3659
- (Tropical) or 1140/5659 (BAOR) (often LHD).
- Nato Code: This was used at this time by the RAF and is basically a stores reference number. RAF vehicles carried this number on the data plate.
- CES Number: This is the Complete Equipment Schedule Number and refers to the equipment which should be carried.
In addition, the plate also includes the designation: Car Utility 4x2 Morris1000, also the contract number, the military registration number and the chassis number.
The Morris Minor, in common with all other military vehicles at that time, would have had two insignia attached. On the offside side would be the unit sign and on the nearside the formation sign. The formation sign could be that of the District to which the vehicle was attached, e.g. SE District Tiger's Head or NW District Red Rose. These were used in the UK until about 1978 when they were replaced by a numerical code to represent the operational unit. A small Union Flag transfer was also attached. BAOR used the numerical system. Military Police vehicles had a 4x4 MP sign and the District sign on the rear doors. Also a roof mounted "Military Police" sign and flashing light. Those used by the RAOC on Bomb Disposal duties had bright red wings and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal signboard together with a blue flashing light on the roof. Royal Engineers vehicles had 'Bomb Disposal' on the board. (for examples of pictorial signs see 'Gallery'). RAF Minors sometimes wore roundels on the grille.
We would be very grateful to receive more information about these as there seems to be little published or photographic material available.
- ARMY: Deep Bronze Green (BSC224)
- RAF: Blue/Grey (BSC 633)
Note: We have records of most chassis numbers of ex -military Morris Minors (except RN vehicles), so we can usually establish the age of a vehicle.
The data cards for Army and RAF vehicles are available. Write, quoting the Military registration number, to the following addresses:ARMY: The Archivist,
Royal Logistics Corps Museum,
Princess Royal Barracks,
RAF: Dept of Research and Information Services,
Royal Air Force Museum,
Grahame Park Way,
Unfortunately RN records for Morris Minors have not yet been traced. Any that do survive are at the R.L.C Museum but there is no guarantee that a particular number relates to the Morris Minor in question as RN serials were reused, unlike the Army and RAF where a vehicle was given a unique number which went out of use when the vehicle was disposed of. Further information is included in the 'Articles' section.
Morris 1000s were referred to as 'B' Vehicles. Scanned copies of the cards can now be downloaded from the Royal Logistics Corps' website: www.rlcarchive.org (There is a fee). You need to know the military registration number and chassis number. Cross check these two before committing yourself as sometimes the military number is not clear on the vehicle data plate. (If in doubt I can usually tell you the ERM given the chassis number, except for ex Royal Navy vehicles)
GLOSSARY OF TERMS (relating to data cards)
- ADPCON: Administrative Data Processing Conversion (when a vehicle was put on an early computer system)
- ARN: A code which refers to the vehicle's make, type and state of modification (later known as Equipment Identification Number EIN)
- Asset Code: The vehicle's NATO designation
- CES Number: Complete Equipment Schedule Number and refers to the equipment which should be carried.
- DRS: Depot Receipt Schedule.
- ERM: (Equipment Registration Mark) The original vehicle mark eg 02FK 75
- Contract Number: The Contract under which the vehicle was acquired or fitted out.
- Designation: The agreed description of the vehicle (standardised across NATO)
- DIS: Date into Service. ie the date on which it entered service.
- GenGP: Genera lGroup The group of vehicles to which it belonged. (used for Fleet Management purposes.
- TXN: Transaction. Usually the date a vehicle's move was entered as a computer transaction.
- UIN: Unit Identification Number. The service unit responsible for the vehicle.
If you have any information about Minors in service and/or pictures, we would be glad to receive it. If you would like to display your vehicle in our 'Gallery' section, please send a picture (6x4) or good quality digital camera image (eg 5MP j-peg).
Army Badges and Insignia Since 1945 (Book 1) Guido Rosignoli
British Army Cloth Insignia (1940 to the Present) Brian L.Davis
Badges on Battledress (Post War Formation Signs) Howard L.Cole
Bombs to Butterflies (History of Ruddington O.S.D.D) Margaret Lawson