War and Peace Show

Dirty Weekend for Mark 12A and TM


Carmichael Mark 12A and Bedford TM 6x6 allowed to go on Dirty Weekend together.

Shortly after delivery the Mark 12A was back on a low loader. David and I have been going to the War and Peace Show near Paddock Wood, which has become the War and Peace Revival at a different location, for a number of years. More about our visits to the various War and Peace Shows can be found within Events. I took the opportunity of exhibiting both the Carmichael Mark 12A and the Bedford TM. The Mark 12A was the first to travel. The low loader driver stopped off on the way and put £100 of diesel into each vehicle. Less than a third of a tank. It is a good job that neither of them do a lot of miles.


The Mark 12A leaves Dunsford 5360 My Carmicheal Mark 12A loaded ready to leave Dunsfold for War & Peace Show 2007 with the Bedford TM waits its turn on the low loader. The Bedford Library van has to stay at home, and does not go to the ball.

Mark 12A leaves Dunsford on Low Loader 

Neither of them are road licensed yet, so the Mark 12A is transported to the War and Peace Show first and the the Bedford TM forms the second load.

My Carmicheal Mark 12A leaving Dunsfold on Saturday 21 July 2007 for War & Peace Show 2007.  


The low loader was supplied by EWS Low Loader Hire up from the Isle of Wight. So that I can find it again, and to avoid you straining your eyes, here are the phone numbers from the photo; 07973 657 741, 01243 839 394. However, I'm not totally sure about all of the numbers. Also, EWS, not to be confused with the Freight Train Company, EWS - English, Welsh & Scottish Railway

The low loader was arranged through somebody who knew somebody, and was less than any other quote, but still expensive. I feel for the people who have military or classic vehicles who show up at various events through the year. Deep pockets. And you have to pay to attend and display at these events as well, even though without the displays there would be no event.

Trevor, my brother came to my home and picked David up. They set off together. I had already driven down to the trucks at Dunsfold and saw the Mark 12A off. I left via a different gate and did not follow the truck but took a different route.

The three of us met up at a cafe near Paddock Wood, and we had a late breakfast / early lunch, before driving together to the War and Peace Show at the Hop Farm, to wait for the Low Loader with the Mark 12A.  We registered, got our wristbands, the the exhibit labels. Then on to Checkpoint Charlie, one more check, and we were in and free. A 250 acre playground, with rules of course.

The Low Loader arrived at the delivery area and unloaded together with all the other low loaders with tanks, missile carriers, and all sort of other interesting stuff. 

The Mark 12A parked up at War and Peace ShowWe had been allocated the top field, which turned out to be a blessing despite being quite a way from the arena and the facilities.

I drove the Mark 12A along the marked routes staying on the site the whole time. There was a one way system set up for a lot of the site. The Low Loader went back to Dunsfold to pick up the Bedford TM. The driver would phone when he arrived back in the delivery area.

The Mark 12A parked up in the top field in the sunshine awaiting the arrival of the Bedford TM. Note the blue sky.

Mark 12A parked up at War and Peace Show



As an aside, a photo of my Mark 12A appeared in a well known military magazine. I have now altered this photo. 

Our little compound

Whilst we waited for the TM to arrive we set up our own little compound, ensuring that we still had enough space for the TM. The photo was taken before the first rains arrived.

We were far enough away from the centre of activity that we did not feel guilty using modern camping equipment and making ourselves as comfortable as we could. Two sleeping tents and a sitting room / kitchen.

The TM arrived and filled the slot awaiting it. We were sorted now. Exhibit labels on both vehicles in case somebody came this far and wanted to look them up in the Showguide. Looking at a later Showguide online the Top Field is also known as 'Outer Monktons'. The next field down, towards the arena is 'Big Monktons' and the Living Histories are in 'Little Monktons'.

 The sunshine didn’t last long and it soon turned to rain.

After the rain 5368

It rained, and rained.


Here is a neighbour's tent steaming in the sunshine after the rain. At least they had military tenting, but we still did not feel guilty.

It did stop raining and the sun came out again, but the damage had been done. Look closely at the ground beside the tent. That was a lot of water.After the rain the evaporation 5369

The evaporation from the tent increased significantly, and very noticeably, but this was not enough to dry the ground. It looked like the tent was smoking!

The field road turned to a sea of mud.DUKW by muddy road

 A DUKW (Duck) parked by the muddy road towards the arena.

Were they expecting more rain? Hope not! Or there could be a queue to get aboard.

The parent vehicle for the amphibious modification, the DUKW, was the GMC CCKW 353 2½ ton 6x6 army truck.


Griffet 6x6 Recovery CraneDavid stood a little way along the muddy road watching the Griffet 6x6 Recovery Crane do it's party piece of lifting something up. 

It was going to be doing some other work later that day, towing people through the mud.


Bedford TM 6x6 goes into the muddy arena at War & Peace Show 2007


Time to get in the cab of the Bedford TM 6x6 General Load Carrier and do some exhibiting. Also known as having fun.

Mud on road

We slowly made our way along that muddy track towards the arena. 

As we got closer the mud got deeper. We were at the crossing by the permanent facilities and you can see in the photo that shoes were not enough to keep out the mud. Not even boots were impervious, wellingtons were the order of the day now. We were on high, in the cab of a 6x6 with very large tyres. We did not have to carefully plot a route through the shallowest areas of mud. We did have to go slowly enough not to add to their misery by spraying them with mud. I say misery, but in reality most people seemed to be taking it all in their stride, and some actually relishing in it.

That was just the site roads, the arena was up to two foot deep in heavy mud, just right for showing how well high and medium mobility vehicles can perform. Both the Bedford TM and the Carmichael Mark 12A are described as medium mobility with tanks etc. being high mobility. The 6x6 drive train configuration is enhanced with axle differential locks and inter axle locks. The Carmichael Mark 12A has three air assisted flick switches in their own little cage, to the right of the cab, to activate the diff locks in various configurations.

The conditions in the arena were superb both to give an interesting show for the relatively small crowd on the hill who had braved the weather and the mud, and to test the ability of the vehicles in a very difficult, but safe environment. It is not often that you get the chance to test the transmission in such challenging conditions.Mud on road not a deterrent

Unfortunately, I have not got any photos of either of my vehicles actually in the arena doing their thing. The closest I have is the photo below in the queue waiting for entry to the arena. Photos of the arena activities that year can be found at the War & Peace Show website. Look around for the 2007 photo gallery. If anybody has any photos of either the Bedford TM 6x6 or the Carmichael Mark 12A that they would be prepared to share, I would be very interested to see them.

Waiting in queue to enter arena



Safety is paramount it the arena and the vehicles process around the circuit for a couple of times in an orderly fashion. However, there are different obstacles and sub routes which can be explored with appropriate vehicles. Some of these are small hills with peaked tops. In normal weather some trucks could climb these and get over the summit without grounding. Tanks would balance atop the summit for a while before pounding on. This time they were avoided. However, the hollows were very interesting. Mud glorious mud.

In the queue with North London Barmy Army -- NLBA waiting for entry to the arena at War & Peace Show 2007. Invited to join them as I had missed the slot for my type of truck. This was the view from the cab of exhibit HV293, my Bedford TM.  

Entrance to the arena

Who knew, as an exhibitor, you have to be aware of the time and the programme of events. You have to prepare to set off from your compound, allowing enough time to get through the site and the crowds. You have to know which event your vehicle is due to parade in and get there on time, even if the programme is running late. Obvious really, but as a  previous attendee, it all just happens for your amusement, entertainment, and edification. 

My audience awaits. Well, not exactly mine. The bund has less people on it, I can't imagine why. Nothing to see in those clouds. Still people milling around the entrance to the arena despite the mud.

Displays near the arena

Mud is a recurring theme throughout this visit. The main road adjacent to the Hop Farm was closed to traffic following the rain due to mud on the road. Concern grew that the event would not be allowed to happen in future years due to the external impact.

Some photos of mud and unlike mine, a focus on people instead of machinery. Some people enjoy the mud. 

The mud was not however everywhere, just trafficked areas. The displays adjacent to the arena were beginning to dry out and still had people strolling around. Photos taken from the elevated position of the TM cab, waiting to enter the arena.

Time spent in the arena, but read about the Mark 12A experience.

At 6:43 of this video there is a good profile shot of my Bedford TM with me at the wheel, and if not a very good impersonation.  I have just left the line up and setting off for another circuit around the arena. More rain water cascades from the canvas top. I have set it to start just before this point so it is easy to find.

Time in the arena is up for this group, time to prepare for the next act, the next display.

Exit stage right. The other side of the mound and return to base on the other side of the fields. If you are driving a Main Battle Tank, at the gate you have to stop until you have a person walking in front as a banksman, to protect the crowds and pedestrians as you drive along the tracks, and the displays presumably.

A slow drive through the proper displays and camps (unlike ours), the living history displays, but from the other side of the field.

 My Bedford TM 6x6 after the arena

 After the arena, and back parked beside our tent. Wheels fully mud covered. Only a few splatters on the upper mudguard though. Just to give a little scale those tyres are nearly 4ft in diameter. (1.189m). A joyous amount of mud.


The Carmichael Mark 12A 6x6 turn to go into the muddy arena at War & Peace Show 2007


 WP 2007 17A photo I found of the Mark 12A with David and I in the cab. Taken by PierreD and posted here.

Once in the arena with the Carmichael Mark 12A I selected the full diff lock configuration. It was time to test what works and what does not. It is immense fun putting a 28 ton truck in a six wheel drift to get round a muddy bend knowing that you are not going to hit anything. (Its important to know what is around you at all times) It performed excellently, hauling through the mud without a problem. The convoy was stopped facing the crowd on the hill. Audience and players.

The commentator talks about each vehicle in turn. I was amazed by how much he knew about my Mark 12A. His knowledge is always excellent regarding the normal army vehicles, but to know so much about the Mark 12A without having any advance notice that I was bringing it into the arena that day, was very impressive.

After the commentator had described each vehicle to the audience the marshals send the vehicles on another circuit of the arena prior to exiting on the other side of the field.

 Well, this was a find out the problems session, and that was exactly what was about to happen. Just in front of me, slightly to the left was a seesaw, which drivers try to balance a jeep on.

There is a brief glimpse of the red painted seesaw in this video, well more than one as it turns out. There are also tracked vehicles doing the equivalent of four wheel drifts. Towards the end of the video you can see the exit from the arena gate.

In the same series of videos part 3 and part 4, another element of War and Peace Show are the reenactments.

The Mark 12A has, I believe an air assisted throttle which seems to create a bit of a delay in following instructions. I assume that this is required due to the engine being at the rear. Normally this is easily compensated for. However, with all of the mud, I needed to put on reasonable amount of power to get the Mark 12A moving. And that was when I learnt another important lesson. With all the weight of the engine cantilevered off the back, the front of the Mark 12A is extraordinarily light if there is no water in the tank. The water tank is mid ships and therefore counters the engine's weight. To set off I needed to apply full left lock and power off. The Mark 12A has power steering so despite the huge wheels and tyres it is easy to apply full lock.

Whilst the wheels were pointing hard left, the Mark 12A was only coming round very slowly, ploughing a twin furrow towards the seesaw. The lack of weight on the front axle, even though drive was engaged meant that I was, in the commentator’s words “going to have a go on the seesaw and that it was unlikely to take the weight”. The delay on the accelerator exasperated the problem. Only a very heavy application of the breaks brought weight to the front axle and the Mark 12A started to turn as it came to a halt. The marshals then stopped the rest of the convoy to enable me to back out and attempt a much wider turn to the relief of all.



The final circuit also was not without its problems. More mud with some over 2 foot thick and more solid. Towards the end of the circuit and again at the exit gate there was a loud metallic tickling noise. I have been told that this may be a problem with the transfer box. It only happens with full diff locks applied and has not happened since. Still it represents something will need to be fixed. The list of what does not work grows, but it would have been difficult to find out without the opportunity provided by the weather.


  This video is part of a set, found as I look for sight of my toys in action. Not on this video but it does show the muddy arena, packing up and leaving, the exit route, and the main road closed because of the mud being cleaned.





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To see the photos of this article, taken by David or me, in HD, together with some extras, follow this link to my photo gallery site. Click here.

Photos taken by Ivan Hurst and David Hurst, all rights reserved.




After the excitement of the arena


Both the Bedford TM and the Carmichael Mark 12A had completed their arena experience. To be frank, at the time of writing, I am not totally sure that they went into the arena, the Bedford TM followed by the Mark 12A. Equally, it does not change the story much, if the order is incorrect.

The sequence of most of the following mini stories, or even if they happened on the Saturday or Sunday is unsure. 

Our camp or compound was quite away from the centre of activities down by the arena and Living History displays. The public rarely explored as far as our top corner of the top field. I don't think we were meant to keep both, or possibly any, of our none military cars in area. There is a special parking place for that. We may have been asked to tuck them in a bit more. However, given the state of the tracks after the rains, and how much we relied on them regarding our camping, I am glad they were still available to us.

The exposure of driving the length of the fields to the arena, and back, together with the performances in the arena gave us something of a higher profile.

If I recall correctly, my Bedford TM 6x6 was the only one at the show that year. There were some TM 4x4 and plenty of other Bedfords. Add to that ours had the dropsides and canvas to make it a General Load Carrier, and it was quite noticeable.

There were definitely no other big 6x6 fire engines with an high rise access platform.

This next section is supported by photos from 'Northernmemories'



 As an aside, and not really part of this story, apart form I saw these whilst looking around. My first military vehicle was a Austin Champ, which I bought when I was still at school, before I had passed my driving test. They are superb vehicles with exceptional cross county ability and amazing towing capacity. 




One of the people to seek us out due to the presence of the Mark 12A was affectionately known as scammell.man. He wrote 'Scammell Lorries - a celebration' to which he later provided a link to. Unfortunately, it was hosted on freespace.virgin.net which has been dropped by Virgin, so the link is no longer functional. I have whilst  writing this searched for the paper hosted elsewhere but have not found it yet.

The Mark 12A was built by Carmichael using a Unipower Vehicles Limited Chassis, number LJ 72395. Unipower were previously Scammell. More information about the Carmichael Mark 12A Vehicle Specification is in another article. The chassis was basically a Scammell with a different label, literary a different manufactures plate. Scammell was a good strong make so this was not a disappointment.

With all the excitement of all the things that happened that day, together with the passage of time, I am a little shaky on the details. After talking for a while, were I found out some additional stuff about my Mark 12A, we got to sitting in the cab. That led to me agreeing that he could have a drive of it. Not round the arena or anything like that. Just along some of the field roads. That was not unusual as there was generally somebody just cruising for the sake of it. After all, if you have a big toy, why not  flaunt it. It is all done very slowly, carefully, and paramountly, safely, well for the most part. So Scammel man did exactly that for a while and then drove across the bridge over the brook, and through the wood to the 'Americas Field'. There we found a collection of Scammells, Some of them were the well known Scammell Pioneers, either as Heavy artillery tractor, Heavy recovery vehicle or Tank transporter. I don't recall which was his, if any. We chatted a little longer and then I drove it back across the bridge into the 'Monkton' Fields.

North London Barmy Army



The man from the North London Barmy Army


 At some point we met up with a man who I think had a Land Rover, and was part of the North London Barmy Army group. They had an impressive array of military hardware.

Again we chatted for a while. There is a lot of that going on. It is a basically friendly group of people despite the uniforms, the guns, and tanks. Some of the exhibitors will happily chat to anyone who expresses an interest irrelevant of the colour of your wristband. i,e, daytripper, public camper, or another exhibitor.

 His story resumes after the site closes on the final day.



Shopping aka Trade Stalls


War and Peace layout map Trade stallsClick on map to go to original

new canvas

 There are a large number of trade stalls selling a huge variety of things from tanks to toys. In parts it is row upon row of canopies, but in other places there are much larger concerns. We bought new canvas sheets for the Bedford TM 6x6 at one place. The 6x6 means a longed bed and therefore different sized sheets. Not many of those about. We found mirrors and other minor bits for the TM to replace damage. We also found a place to make replacement MOD style number plates. Illegal for road use but just right for here. We knew the old plates for both vehicles. The Mark 12a did not miss out either. For some reason, probably the same person that was over exuberant with scraping off the white letters on the Mark 12A, the long vehicle signs had been removed. We found some the same size as those removed.



 The whole shopping area is massive and could easily absorb a whole day, for those with an interest. Truly amazing what gems can be found.

Frequently there is more stuff than be accommodated under cover, and  in a shower gets quickly covered with some plastic sheets. I don't know what happened in the downpour on Saturday.  Shopping

The delicate stuff and the books are always undercover. There is a lot of money that changes hands during the week, and no one wants their stock damaged and profits diminished. 

clothes shopping

Clothes galore, at so many places. Some casual wear for any time, and not surprisingly a lot of camouflage print in all sorts of colours and designs.  There are also a lot of uniforms, and it seems to be form any age and any country. I am sure that is not actually true, but there is a vast array. Obviously, as it is a place for reenactments, there has to be supplies for the goodies and the baddies. Just with playing cowboys and indians  when a child. 

A lot of it is army surplus from around the world, however some is much more vintage and collectable. I think I saw some Boer War stuff at one stall. It is not all army either. Both Navy and Air Forces are also represented, but not so extensively. 

Something for the kids, of course, catch them early.


gun shopping

Then there is the weaponry. A not insignificant arsenal. All manor of weapons, knives to machine guns, to rocket launchers.

Almost anywhere else this would be a problem for the police, but not here. The police do have a presence, perhaps half a dozen uniformed, wandering around, mainly in the stalls and shops areas, but happy and low key. It shirt sleeves in the right weather.

In a different location the Armed Response Team would be showing up in very short order.

However, whilst you are doing your shopping you may bump into some people dressed in full combat gear. Perhaps all in black, armed to the teeth, including machine gun. Perhaps as Elite Forces Police or in camouflage as SAS. Very scary to meet at the mall, or at an Airport. Here totally normal and acceptable.

I have even seen real police chatting quite happily with their pretend armed counterparts. All very comfortable. 

No orange tips on the guns either.


Stall The van carries all the merchandise and camping equipment here and just the camping stuff back. Wishful thinking, plus the items not sold. Perhaps a few machine guns in the back of a van travelling around the M25. 


Some of the companies are much bigger than that and have whole trucks full of equipment and some also sell from the back of the truck. Massive stock levels, and some very specialized, for instance just for Jeeps, others more general.

With all the traders and stalls here, you may think that you could get anything you want, but there are still things that are too rare or elusive. Happy times going from stall to stall, trawling through boxes for the just so item.

Finding the exact paint for the vehicle and period. Fortunately, the TM was not camouflaged so a single color would do. 

In the end however, we bought our paint from the North London Barmy Army for a little less than we found elsewhere.





Drive defensively

Witham Specialist Vehicles Ltd had a large pitch in very good location. they had brought down a number of vehicles for 'Direct Sales' whereas my two vehicles were bought from them by Tender. They were of course in very good condition as they had already been serviced in their workshops. I had a long chat with them. 

It was only 68 days after the tender and they remebered me. They also gave me some addtional information about the Mark12A.

They also told me about the general sudden downturn in prices at that Tender. Everybody taken by suprise.

Again, everybody very friendly.

The mudgard on a tracked vehicle with a sticker 'DRIVE DEFENSIVELY BUY A TANK' was not one of theirs, but I did find it amusing when I saw it.






Visit to the Fire Station


At a place between the Trade Stalls and the Arena, near the Home Front, you can find the Fire Brigade. Yes, that is right the War and Peace Show has its own Fire Brigade and Fire Station. Considering the number of BBQs and open fires around the site and at the camping areas, it is not surprising. Add to that, the risk that the pyrotechnics and hot bullet cases pose in the arena, it is prudent to have something to hand. I do remember them being called out, but not which year. From some photos I saw when researching this article they were called out to a fire in one of the outlets in the food court.

RAF Odiham, The Defence Fire Training and Development Centre (DFTDC, formerly FSCTE Manston), and Odiham Fire Show all come to mind. The main banner outside the fire station that I remember was Manston Fire Museum.

An extract from this site.

This started as the private collection of Flt Sgt Steve Shirley; when he was posted to Manston the RAF agreed to take it over and it opened as the Ministry of Defence Fire Museum in June 1995.[2] It was renamed the Manston Fire Museum in November 1998.[2] The collection included vehicles, models, badges, patches, uniforms, helmets, prints, extinguishers and fire fighting equipment.[2] The museum closed in 2014 and the collections were transferred to the Museum of RAF Firefighting at Scampton.

MAY 2014 – It is with much regret that we have to announce the closure of the Manston Fire Museum.
After 20 years of operation in the old fire school building, the decision has been taken, that the building will be demolished in the near future.
The entire collection has now been transferred to The Museum of RAF Firefighting at Scampton.

An article in Lincolnshirelive

The museum was based at RAF Scampton but was forced to vacate in January this year (2017) to allow for space for the bases's maiden air show, taking place in the coming weeks. ,,,
Speaking about that decision at the time, Steve Shirley, founder of the museum, released the following statement: “It is with much regret that the Museum of RAF Firefighting located at RAF Scampton has been closed down until further notice.
“This is due to the MOD’s requirement at RAF Scampton to use the former offices within the Annex of Hangar 2 for the Scampton Airshow 2017 project.
“The museum is very grateful to successive Station Commanders for allowing us to have a presence at RAF Scampton for the last 14 years."

 The collection is back in private hands, still under Steve Shirley MBE. The name has changed again as has the location. Museum of RAF Firefighting at 14 Billet Lane, Normanby Enterprise Park, Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, DN15 9YH.

This video is ten years later, but it does give a good aerial overview. At about 40sec into the video, you can see the Fire Station adjacent to the First Aid and ambulance post. It was in a different location if I recall correctly in 2007, but still accessible. Most of the fields are used for the same things, but there have been some re-organisation.

At some point during the weekend I turned up at the Manston Fire Museum tent and Fire Station and after a short discussion it was decided, I should bring the Mark 12A. Which I did and immediately had a bunch of happy firemen crawling in and on. Giving hints about some of the equipment, and giving some history about the vehicle. One of the things a few of them tried was to lift the lighting mast. It refused to budge. The switches in the cab would turn on the lights, but would it rise, no. Later, I found there was a switch on the side of the monitor console which activated it. No driving around with a tall lighting mast in the extended position, by mistake, from the cab. They gave us instructions on the operation of the monitor and the windscreen coolant system. There was talk of taking it to the brook and filling the Mark 12A tank with water. This did not happen though, I don't remember the reason. 

It was an enjoyable visit.

Finding out that the Mark 12A was special 


During the time at the show, I was beginning to find out more about the Mark 12A. There was  a story about the ladder / access platform being raised in a hanger, and hitting the roof. Apparently there were not many made. Prehaps this could be quite rare, maybe the only one surviving of just a few made.

Not quite firm information but at least a different feel to it. In a different league to the Bedford TM 6x6, which even in it's configuration was relatively common.

The interest generated at the show started me researching about the Mark 12A.

On Fire Engine Photos site, Peter Mitrovitch posted a photo in 2009, of the Mark 12A whilst in service.


Mk12a, 10AY98 RAF Brize Norton
This Mark 12a is seen at RAF Brize Norton during August 1990. As far as I am aware it was the only Mark 12 delivered to the Royal Air Force and differed to Royal Navy Mk 12's by having a high access hydraulic turntable ladder.

Some of the comments to that post;

Quite unique to see a crash tender fitted with the aircraft high access hydraulic turntable ladder.
Added by Bomba Boy on 01 February 2009.

I have been told by Carmichael that two of these were manufactured. I don't yet know if both of them entered service. I am now the owner of a Mark12A, which I think is the same one as in this photo. It is currently a little sad but is being slowly restored. It is great to find such a good photo of it. I will add a current photo to this site and will create a photo history on by web site which can be found by searching for my name.
Added by Ivan Hurst on 09 May 2010.

I remember this vehicle from my time at BZN, I also remember a certain Flt/Sgt Crew chief who put the high access ladder up while the vehicle was parked in the bays when the builders were visiting to look at a problem with it...
Added by Gordon Smith on 20 August 2013

I was at BZN When the first 11 and 11A were delivered into the RAF FS. I remember the aerial ladder was temperamental. Left in 1986, and wasn't aware there was a 12 or 12A. Looks remarkably similar what was the difference?
Added by Phil Cox on 30 April 2014.

I worked on this at BZN during my time as a MT Mech/Tech in the 90's, that hydraulic ladder was a nightmare and if memory serves me right eventually got strapped down as it was deemed unsafe to use.
Added by Adie Taylor on 18 June 2015.

My post on Fire Engine Photos dated 11 May 2010 at 07:09


Carmichael Mark 12A
My Carmicheal Mark 12A parked up at the War and Peace Show 2007. I am told by Carmichael that this is one of only two made. I am currently restoring it.

Comments on my post;

Imagine owning a monster like this,i don't think it would fit into my garage !
Really interesting piece of kit.
Added by Bristol Bob on 11 May 2010.

there was 1 out in Cyprus at RAF Fire Service Akrotiri
Added by Bobe on 11 May 2010.

Thanks for the comment. Do you recall when you saw the Mark12A with ladder in Cyprus. I am trying to build up a history of mine.
Added by Ivan Hurst on 12 May 2010.

There was only ever one MK 12a build it was 10AY98 chassis No 72395 it served all its life at brize Norton. Akrotiri had similar looking MK11a 02AY28 chassis No WHV 62113 with the hi access ladder.
Added by Ted Angus on 13 May 2010.

There we are Ted I thought it was a Mk12 cause they were to be fitted with high access kits glad you got that cleared up anyway mate.
Added by Bobe on 13 May 2010.

Thanks Ted. the reg and chassis no. match my vehicle.
Added by Ivan Hurst on 14 May 2010.

I remember driving this vehicle during my time at Brize as a member of the RAF Fire Service, it ran out of the old crash section know demolished and replaced by the new section, the Navy had Mk12's but without the sky ladder
Added by Gordon Smith on 15 May 2010.

We are at present refurbishing Mk11 02 AY 26 which had the access ladder but has long been removed.
Added by Mark Wildon on 16 May 2010.

Your're brave taking something like this on. Am I right in thinking the RAF did'nt keep these machines all that long? If so: why not ? Why does yours look so worn ?
Added by Norman Brunt on 05 June 2010.

How high can that platform (?) reach?
Added by David Jones on 02 July 2010.

Thank you all for your help and comments. I am building a history and tech website for my Mark12A. If any of you have information or stories about it or your time using it I would appreciate your input. Also, there is a significant hole in the history, which I assume is when it got neglected. Any help in filling that gap? Ted is correct about there only being one built. I have spoken to Carmichael again and they kindly sent me information from their workshop journal confirming only one. I am also creating short histories of Carmichael and Scammell / Unipower. All contributions welcome. It is still in relative early days of full restoration,so any tips on that would also be welcome. (too late for the dont start tip). And finally, I don't know how high the platform can reach yet as I have yet to get it to work. I will put the result on by website and reply here.
Again, thanks to everyone.
Regards Ivan
EDITOR: You can email Ivan by clicking on his name (in blue) if you have more info for him or want to get in touch with him
Added by Ivan Hurst on 03 July 2010.

The 10a 11a & 12a were tried out at Brize if I remember rightly. The high access were fitted for the Tri Starsmay. I have some pics lying about somewhere, will try to look them out.
Added by Alistair Forrest on 09 October 2010.

Hi Ivan, amazing to still see this standing after the chequered life it had, I was an RAF MT Mech/Tech at Brize in the 90's and did plenty of work on it. That hydraulic ladder was a nightmare and if memory serves me right eventually got strapped down as it was deemed too unsafe to use so I don't think you will ever see how high it goes. I did however have the unfortunate experience of testing it's height reach in the hangar and remember being pushed through the false ceiling by it as one of my colleagues had overridden the controls from the basket to the vehicle. I had to squat down in the basket. Best of luck with the restoration, let me know where and when you show it, be good to see it when finished.
Added by Adie Taylor on 18 June 2015.

An update about the Mark 12A. This morning it joined the collection of the Museum of RAF Fire Fighting.
Added by Ivan Hurst on 22 March 2019.


The Mark 12A is UNIQUE!

An email thread on Monday 14 June 2010 between Colin Nicklin. Spares Manager. Carmichael Support Services Limited. and myself.

Order of thread reversed for ease of reading.


On Mon 10:31 AM , "Colin Nicklin" This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. sent:
Hi Ivan,

I had a look through our old records and found the following information, you may already have it

Order placed by MoD RAF

Scammell 6 x 6 Mk 12a

Super Nubian 6 x 6

Chassis Received 24/12/88

Chassis No SM28C50C47GCCD
Eng No 37114465

Despatched 16-3-90

No other entries shown for a Mk12a

Next Nubian to appear in the ledger is CHG4978 for Boscombe A+AEE no despatch date given

Hope it may be of some use


With kind regards,
Colin Nicklin.
Spares Manager.
Carmichael Support Services Limited.
Weir Lane, Worcester, WR2 4AY, UK

Registered in England No. 05254784

Registered Office Address.
Floor 6, 4 Thomas More Square, London, E1W 1YW

Tel +44 (0) 1905 748660 Ext 283
Fax +44 (0) 1905 339238

Mon 14/06/2010 14:29 

Hi Colin,
Thanks very much for the information. That seems to confirm that it is a unique vehicle worth restoring.
Do you have a date for the order placed by MoD RAF?
I have added the rest of the info to my web site and acknowledged Carmichael and you, together with a link to Carmichael’s web site.
The web site is http://www.ivanhurst.me.uk/html/carmichael_mark_12a.html
It was really good talking to you last week. It is a pleasure speaking to someone so knowledgeable and helpful.
Kind regards

Ivan Hurst

On Mon 3:09 PM , "Colin Nicklin" This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. sent:

Info came from the hand written ledger and that is all that was there
Sorry no date of order appears
I just noticed that I seem to have added a ‘G’ in the Boscombe build number it should read CH4978
I looked at the web page and am impressed how much time and care you have invested in it
If I help any further let me know

With kind regards,
Colin Nicklin.

 Mon 14/06/2010 16:20

I suspected as much, because you would have included it if the date was in the entry.
On to the matter of spares:
The Mark 12a suffered a bit of a kiss in the mud at the War & Peace Show with someone trying to go where it did not want to go.
I have been intending to straighten the front bumper and do some welding of the sloping 'bull bars?' and the light guard. The chrome surround to the nearside headlight is also out of shape and the side light broken.
Do you have any of these parts available, and if so, what is the cost.
Thanks again for your help.
Kind regards


 A photo sent from the Museum of RAF Firefighting with the Carmichael Mark 12A in possition. Follow the link, and at the time of writing, the Mark 12A is in the centre of the heading photo.20190323 163404 resized 1

 However, I am getting ahead of myself and have time travelled from 2007 to 2010, and then 2019. Back to 2007 now.


The Kiss


This is in part a continuation of the story about the man from the North London Barmy Army, NLBA, shall we call him John. Not necessarily his real name.

War and Peace layout mapClick on map to go to original and click on that map to zoom in

After all the excitement of the weekend, the show closed and the public were making their way back to their cars and home. John walked across the fields and delivered  the paint. The correct army green for the Bedford TM. We paid him.

To recap, our compound was at the top of the Outer Monktons field, which is at the bottom of the map. In the South West corner, (bottom left hand side of the map).

He continued the previous conversation about the Mark 12A, and then asked if he could have a quick drive around the fields. I agreed, and quickly he was in the driver's seat flanked by David and I, with David on the offside. A few instructions about the quirks, then we were off. Nothing eventful, keeping to the tracks and the speed limits. He wanted to drive by his mates in the NLBA. The NLBA compound was in Big Monktons, near the 6 on the map, but the other side of the brook, on the Eastern side of the field.

 Most of the tracks in the fields are longitudinal, almost all roads lead to Rome, but in this case the Arena. The main transverse track is from 2, through 9, and into Americas Field. Between 2 and 9, again near 6, there is a small concrete slab bridge across the brook. Small but strong, as all sorts of heavy weights go across it.

The bridge had coped with all the heavy traffic, including low loaders with full battle tanks on the back, for years, until today. One of the slabs had broken as a low loader drove across it, dropping one set of wheels through the bridge. Blocking the main heavyweight exit, just at the time it was going to be at its busiest. Some of the exhibitors are very quick to leave after the show is closed as they frequently have a long way to go, and sometimes have ferries to catch. With such large vehicles, it is not just a case of turning up, you have a slot which you need to get to.

People were busy jacking up the axle of the stricken truck to start recovering it and the situation.

We of course knew nothing of this as we drove down the western side of Big Monktons. Intending to cross the field at main road, by 9, and then go up the other side past NLBA. Slowly, and waving, no doubt. We were not in a hurry to leave. Our transport was not waiting for us. It is conceivable that it was not coming until Monday, to pick them up without me being there.

The bridge problem had created a queue along the main road, and it was half the width. The turn from the main road to the eastern track of Big Monktons was quite acute at the best of times, now even more so with half the width of the road taken up with queuing vehicles. With the benefit of hindsight we  should have continued down to the arena and come back up the other side, so avoiding the tight turns. The normal turning circle is 21m, 67ft.

In addition to the now very tight turn, there was the mud to consider. Add to that the very light front end that we talked about when it was in the arena, and we have the impossible corner. And that is what happened, he entered the corner but could not get round in one. A little shunt should do it, and in dry conditions, I am sure it would have done. However, dry it was not. The front wheels were not steering the Mark 12A successfully, just digging their own furrow, irrespective of the angle of the steering wheel and therefore the front wheels. After a couple of attempts, he wanted to give up. He handed over the driving to me and left the cab. I heard someone talking about getting chains and a tracked vehicle to drag it round the corner. That did not sound good. Yanking it sideways! What damage would that do?

Reversing backwards into the track opposite seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately we were parallel to some other vehicles and very close to them. Fortunately some people shouted to us to warn us not to turn as the back end overhang would side swipe the trucks parked there. Forward seemed like the only option, but only turning once past the obstacles. Very tight.

Ok, using the experience gained in the arena, enough throttle to push forward, followed by heavy breaking to push the front wheels down to get steering traction and get out of the ruts. It worked to an extent but not enough. It did start to turn but had too much forward momentum, and the front bumper hit the front towing hook of a big truck. By this time we had a mini crowd. Everyone was embarrassed by the kiss. It had set us round far enough the we could drive, but that was not the way to do it! John volunteered that he would speak to the owner, one of his fellow NLBA, if we took our costs. It was probably only a small amount of paint in an isolated area, that was needed to fix the truck. I hope that was the case. John was already out of the cab and just wanted to get away. We also wanted the drive off, away from the embarrassment.  Now we could, so we did. Put it all behind us.

Except, that we could not. Not in the long term that is. Some repairs were done in the following years, but it was never really sorted. It was a scare on our ownership.

Our damage was to the front bumper, the bullbars, the nearside headlight guard, the chrome headlight bezel, sidelight lens and bulb, and a small nick in the glass fibre of the cab.

Many, "I wishes" later, and I still regret the kiss, but I don't blame John wholeheartedly. It was a difficult situation, that would have been better if it  had been avoided, and in anycase, I was in control at the moment of the kiss.


 Let's briefly look at the Living History area before the show closed.

Living History from the hill  

 Living History from the hill

 Living History from the hill 5398







  Exhibitors and public mingling together


The muddy track of the Top Field, looking down towards the arena, after the show has closed for the year.

 Top field muddy road 5401


 Top field muddy road 5402

 Top field muddy road












More background Photos

More photos at The War & Peace Show Index by Northern Memories

 Some photos by Andy Mitchell, the opening photo is during a reenactment. Don't worry, the bullets are blanks, still very noisy though. Looking at the mud, this was the last day. Another one for you. Even tracks get muddy.



War and Peace Show Beltring 2007 Directors Cut - Videos, the complete set 1-14

This is not directly linked to my story that year, but gives a very good insight into the War and Peace show, from driving there with the roads full of army trucks, to arriving, setting up, the fields filling up. On to the displays, the sideshow skirmishes, and the activities in the arena, and finally to packing up and leaving. It has German titles, but that should not be held against it, as it is a very comprehensive look into the show, albeit with a focus on armour. 

Videos by Rainer Preuss. Thank you for letting me use your work on this site.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14





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