Trucks, Motorhome, Military and Motoring

Carmichael Mark 12A

Mark 12A and TM purchase and arrival


Carmichael Mark 12A and Bedford TM 6x6 purchase and arrival

A funny thing happened on my way home.Bloodhound Missile 1070204

Travelling south on the A1 on Saturday the 12th May 2007, I was about to drive past the signpost to Honeypot Lane. Instead I turned off the A1. I had been to Witham Specialist Vehicles Ltd before so knew where I was going. I have also been to L Jackson and Co at the Rocket Site, but not this time. "The Rocket Site", Misson near Bawtry, Doncaster is a former bloodhound missile site, which at one time was important to the defence of the Country. 

I had  worked for Grant Rail Ltd a couple of years earlier which involved visiting the HQ in Doncaster, which provided opportunity out of hours to visit both L Jackson and Co and Witham Specialist Vehicles Ltd. Either during stay overs or when travelling there or back to home.

One email from 21 March 2005
Please can you send further information regarding the Volvo Mobile Incident Command Centre including an assessment of condition, and plate and test.
Ivan, The mobile command unit has now been sold. Thank you for your enquiry.

I was by now working for a different company, but remembered the locations.

Soon after turning off the A1 I arrived at the gates of Witham Specialist Vehicles Ltd. Into the offices and a short conversation with the sale team, and I was out in the yard looking at all the vehicles and equipment for sale by tender or direct sale.

I was there for quite a while. There was a lot to look at, as I did not  have any preconceived ideas of what I wanted to look at.  Helicopter cabs, to tanks, to trucks, to torches. The sky was blue and the sun was out to play. I was not in a rush.

 I had a history of interest in motorhomes, which may have influenced were I paused, whilst walking around the site. Perhaps you may wish to read my motorhome history and my dream motorhome that never was.

An example of the notices I would receive from Witham's and the range of goods for sale. This was picked at random and is fairly typical.

By order of the Ministry of Defence


Monday 16th October 2006

Viewing:  Wednesday 11th ,Thursday 12th ,Friday 13th June and  Saturday 14th   Oct 2006   8:30am to 5:30pm

Approx 750  LOTS to Include

Filightsim 7 seat Royal Navy Fairground Type Simulator Ride    Year of manufacture (2002)

Grove TMS 250 EB Hydraulic Crane 25 tonne 6 x 4 

  Motor Cycles:     Harley Davidson MT 350's (x10).

Cars && Vans :     Ford Focus Diesel, Citroen Piccasso`s, V W Passat, Izuzu Trooper etc.  Ford Transit Vans,  Transit Mini Buses, Ambulances, etc.

Landrovers :    90`s  110`s Diesel  127 cargo and ambulance, Td5  90 and station wagon accident damage etc.

HGV'S :   Bedford MJ && TM 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 Cargo's etc. ( x 25 ), Iveco, Seddon Tractor units, Leyland Daf, Scammell Heavy Recovery wiyh EKA underlift and winch. etc etc. 

Tankers && Bowsers: Foden  3000 Gall 6 x 4,  Foden 22,000 litre 8 x 4,   Bedford MJ 4 x 4 1000 gal refuellers,  Bedford TM 1600 gall refueller, Leyland Aircraft Refuellers,  4500 gall 2 axle refueller trailer ex reserve.

  Trailers :   Sankey 3 ton Wide Track x 30, Arrows 1.5 tonne, 4 wheel 2 tonne cargo and office etc, etc.

Plant and Forklifts : Grove 25 ton crane, Smiths 10 ton crane 4 x 4, Tractors, Cement Mixers, Dumpers, Fork Lifts, Snow Blades, JCB 410 `s, etc, etc,

Armoured Vehicles :    FV 432 Tracked APC MK 2 Diesel ( x 4 ),  CVRT Sabre Light Tank,   Hagglund BV 206 All Terrain Tracked Carrier, 4 wheel Buggy etc.

Aircraft Ground Equipment : Aircraft Steps, Hydraulic Packs, Starters, Aircraft Heaters, Generators, etc. etc.
Generators Various Diesel and multifuel generators 3 Kva – 40 Kva

Approx 250 lots of new Bedford and Green Goddess Spares , Tools, jacks, pumps, tyres, recovery equipment, etc, etc.

                                   Catalogue, pictures, terms and conditions available from our website:    by post, or on viewing day

Witham (Specialist Vehicles) Ltd

The UK Sales and Marketing Agent for all Ministry of Defence Vehicles and Mobile Plant

                                                   Honeypot Lane    Colsterworth    Grantham Lincs NG33 5LY

Telephone: 01476 861361  Fax:  01476 861441

Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Walking around Withams yard - the viewing

There were a few large trucks, but some good on one side, but crashed on the other. So more for a garage than a private individual. There were a large number of Bedford TMs, both 4x4 and 6x6. There were even a few howitzers available, probably the BL 5.5-inch medium gun. It would look good having a Bedford TM 6x6 towing a gun behind, but at a combined length of over 16m, it was too long for UK roads. Even with the shorter Bedford TM 4x4, it exceeded the length allowance by over 2m.

Renault 4x4 Lot 60

 A Renault 4x4 marked as Lot 60 took my interest for a while, with a number of photos from various angles. Too boring to show all here. This is similar to a Renault TRM 2000 and may be one, but the door label looks more like 3000. Was this a prototype?

It does look relatively new for something being disposed of by the MOD.

However, the guide price could have been quite high as the more useful it may be in civilian life the more interest it could have, pushing up the price. Newer, lighter, recovery, all added benefits.

RAF Nimrod MR2 Trailer Lot 1 2456Moving on, not ignoring the Nimrod looking thing. Nimrod was described as a sea reconnaissance aircraft. RAF Nimrod MR2 Trailer as Lot 1 here, and for sale again in 2020 at Oudenburg, Belgium. Stated there as having been built in 1968.

Inside the trailer was also interesting. I assume there was a cockpit as well. Did this do the rounds as a RAF recruitment prop?

Now I wonder, if this was parked in a large caravan site full of white caravans looking vaguely similar, would you be able to find your way home after an evening in the pub?

RAF Nimrod MR2 Trailer inside Lot 1 2458


 The next interesting one was parked all on its own, an Alvis Tactica APC 4x4. An Armoured Personnel Carrier with permanent 4×4 wheel drive, incorporating selectable ratios and three lockable differentials, for use in military or civilian environments.

Alvis Tactica APC 4x4


 A neat looking vehicle with some potential as a motorhome until you think of the 10 Tonne weight unladen and how long it might take to cut window holes.

Also somewhat small for my ambitions.

However, given the political situation in a lot of places you might like to go overlanding, it could be beneficial to have the armour!

Interesting vehicle and you can read more about it here, at Joint and here.

  The vlog to the left is by somebody who has taken on the challenge of doing something with an Alvis Tactica. Not the same one, as this one used to have rifle holes. His progress may be slow as this is in 2020, during the Covid 19 pandemic. The next episode, EP3. In EP4 it appears that the blisters I thought covered the rifle holes, were in fact dummies. Episode EP5 shows some more prep work. That is many episodes as I will be adding here, as I am up to date at time of writing.

 Military 2 Axle Drawbar Cargo Trailer Lot 107

Back to my walk around Witham's yard. Next up the humble trailer. I don't know the make, perhaps somebody can tell me.

Would a trailer be a useful addition to a truck for off road use? The experience of dragging a two wheel trailer through the wilderness of Africa with Encounter Overland, especially with a narrower wheel track, does leave me with some concerns. The construction of this trailer does not appear to have a particular rough terrain suspension or tyres. It is advantageous if all wheels are the same size, across the truck and trailer. The two wheels trailer did not fit it the tracks of the main, or towing vehicle, which on the road was not a problem. Nor on hard off road surfaces. However, in soft mud or sand, deep trench like tracks could form. The trailer could be lurching from being dragged in one track and then the other, or perhaps forming another set of tracks. At least this trailer looks as if it has a similar track, so would sit it the same ruts as the truck made, apart from when going around corners.

Those problems aside, what could be done with a cargo trailer? Would it be better to go directly to one of the box or command trailers, or even better a workshop trailer? A rough terrain workshop trailer would be interesting. None there at this time though, just ordinary road or hard service ones.

In the background of Lot 107 are a number of Bedford TMs. Just some of the dozens that were there that day. Some 4x4 and others 6x6. Numerous just cargo, flatbeds, others with dropsides, and a few with a canvas cover. There were even some that had hiab and recovery equipment. All in various conditions, but generally looking as if they had been neglected for a while. I can't imagine what would have happened if they turned up for parade it that state. Compare it to the Tactica which was not showing its age in anything like the same way.

I was interested in one that had a full canvas cover and a PTO winch. The ones with a winch had pulleys to pull cable front or rear, very useful for self recovery. However, there  were none available that had both. All the command vehicles were on a smaller chassis. So covered it was.

Leyland DAF 8x8 DROPS hook loader incl cab


 Another alternative is the Leyland DAF 8x8 DROPS hook loader or the equivalent Foden. There are lots of advantages to using the DROPS system. What is DROPS?

Answer from one site selling them.

(Demountable Rack Off Pickup System) is a logistical support vehicle designed for the flexible delivery of a range of cargoes in arduous conditions.

The vehicle features the Multi Lift Mk4 Load Handling system, which is capable of uplifting 15,000 kg of cargo on purpose built flat racks and able to switch between, lift, tip and slide configuration with 3rd service connections for additional hydraulic powered equipment.

Using the appropriate Flat Rack, these vehicles are able to lift, transport and deploy a 20ft ISO container, there are also DROPs bodied containers which can be directly mounted to the vehicle without the use of a Flat Rack.

In our case this translates to being able to create different modules for loading onto the truck, perhaps one as living quarters and another for a workshop. Also, if you intend to stay at a location for a while, you can unload the living quarters rack onto the ground, level it up, and you have an easy access home from home, and a truck to go shopping or fixed base touring with.

Obviously you have to stack and secure everything very well before loading or unloading or you will have a collection of broken junk at one end.

Another downside is that they have caught on in civilian use, and therefore even ex-army ones are expensive. Well, not so much the one in the photo. Roll the mouse over it for a different view. That heap was still expected to sell, for much more that I think it was worth. It did not look so bad from the other side.

 Just a few at the same location a few years later.

  For the most part, in a better condition than the one in my photo.

 The Leyland is a Medium Mobility Load Carrier (MMLC) whereas the Foden is an Improved Medium Mobility Load Carrier (IMMLC)

  Foden 8x6 IMMLC DROPS with FV432

 Mark 12AAgain, back to my walk around the yard.

This was the next interesting stop. A collection of three different Carmichael ex-MOD fire engines. The one at the back had a ladder and access platform. That could be useful!

 What else is there on here that could usefully be striped off. A fair few interesting bits which all could go into a new motorhome. Extreme Motorhome. 

Roll over the photo below for a different image. 

 Carmichael x 2 2466

 Umm, rear engined, that would make the driving experience quieter and altogether more pleasurable.

A crew cab as well. Space for more people up front. 

Integration between cab and top, could be made into cab and inside. Yes, but inside would only be the size of the water tank. That does not work.

Just bits then.

No real decisions made, still mulling things over.

Still more of the yard to look at.

Including a helicopter and the Armoured section, but as those do not realy form part of this story so to see the photos follow the link to SmugMug.

Extra vehicles in the SmugMug gallery include; Puma HC Helicopter body, Alvis Fv107 Scimitar Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked), CVR(T), FV4018 Centurion Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle (BARV), and GKN Sankey FV432 Armoured Personnel Carrier.




Photo galleries powered by SmugMug

To see the photos of this article so far, in HD, together with some extras, follow this link to my photo gallery site. Click here.


The journey home 

 I now had a two and a half hour, probably more like 3 hours making allowance for the M25, to contemplate my visit.

What was of interest and what would I do.

I thought I would go for a Bedford TM 6x6 with dropsides and canvas. In addition the Carmichael with the ladder and access platform for spare parts. Just the tyres new would be £6000, so at half price £3000.

More deliberation and a plan did emerge. Go directly to three into one regarding the future of the Carmichael Mark 12A and Bedford TM 6x6.

All that time spent commuting thinking about what to do with the Library Van and now merge it to the thoughts of the other two vehicles.

If I only got the Carmichael I could still see a way of making that into a motorhome, with the benefit of rear engine, and if only the TM, well that was a good foundation truck.

However, all this was still pie in the sky, little more than daydreaming or mind exercise. It was unlikely that I would get either, but no harm in dreaming, as long as I was concentrating sufficiently on the driving.

 Home and back to normal routines.


The tender

 I was on the computer and it was late in the day. I think the tender was due to close at noon Monday. I logged on to Witham Specialist Vehicles Ltd website and found the two lots, Lot 111 and Lot 215. I think the guide price for each of them was £15,000.

Following previous tenders Witham would, if memory serves, publish the sale prices achieved, and they normally exceeded the guide prices. I don't know if this was a transparency thing with MOD sales or just information to help the customers, the buyers. Talking to people at War and Peace Show about prices for TM 6x6 suggested a range of £18-25k. On a previous visit to L Jackson and Co I had asked about a similar airport fire engine that they had for sale, not by tender but direct. They told me that one was £37,000. It would probably go abroad as a working airport fire engine. Probably Africa, to a small airport, were it could serve for a good number of years. Apparently a significant reason that some airport fire engines had come out of service was a change in the required specifications. I don't know exactly, but something to do with the ability to accelerate 0-50 in under 10sec. Which for a cross country truck weighing in at nearly 30 tons is actually impressive.

I decided to put bids in for both of them, Lot 111 and Lot 215, but not winning bids. Toe in water type bids. Take the guide price, divide it by two. Then add a little to move it away from the round numbers. Still keeping in whole pounds though. I used the same value for each.

Which, to my surprise, and credit to Witham, led to Witham phoning to make sure that was my intention and neither were a mistake.


The surprise

 Well, I really did not expect what happened next. After all the numbers had been crunched, I had another call from Witham. I had secured Lot 215, the Carmichael outright as it was not an MOD sale. However, whilst I had offered the best price for Lot 111, it was below reserve. The sale would have to be referred back to MOD for approval. That approval was forthcoming a few days later. It just so happened that the market crashed the same time as I put in bids. The prices just plummeted across the board apparently. Whilst it was a shock to get both at such a knock down price, I was so glad that I did not price the bids to win, something over the guide price! Very ouch!

Of course, there are still the add ons, including VAT to get to the final sale price.


The arrival

 Once the details of the purchases and the little matter of paying for them was dealt with, there was transport to arrange. Witham offered that as an additional service, through a local opperator, I think.

Despite both vehicles being ex MOD, both were in fairly poor condition in different ways, and the Carmichael could not self start.

Witham arranged transport by low loader to Dunsfold where I already had my Bedford Library Van stored. Even on a low loader it still managed to meet with a bridge on the journey and lost the amber airport light as a result

All the loose fire equipment had been removed prior to sale and the blue lights removed or smashed. They missed one though. The white lettering had also been removed, presumably before it left service. Unfortunately, whoever had been instructed to remove the ‘Royal Air Force Fire and Rescue’ got carried away and scraped away at the operating signs as well including tyre pressure and locker labels. They also started removing the front Carmichael sign but were stopped after two letters.

Some of the letter scrapping had damaged the paint and in places gone down to bare metal. Fortunately the metal was in this instance aluminum, so it had not rusted. However, the paint work generally was very faded and requires a significant amount of work to avoid a complete re-spray.

The vehicles were dropped of at Dunsfold and the staff there told them where they were going to live.

David and I went to visit them as soon as we could. Basically a weekend, as  I was still working at the time.

We crawled all over them and took photos of our new toys. A Project for David and I to get stuck into together. He was still at school so this would be hand skills to got with the head skills he was learning at school.

Rather than put a small selection of those many photos here, please see the Carmichael Mark 12A and the Bedford TM 6x6 galleries below, either by watching the slideshows or following the links. 


Photo galleries powered by SmugMug

To see the photos of post delivery inspection of the Carmichael Mark 12A in HD follow this link to my photo gallery site. Click here.



Photo galleries powered by SmugMug

To see the photos of post delivery inspection of the Bedford TM 6x6 general load carrier in HD follow this link to my photo gallery site. Click here.


 What happened next

 Well I think what happened next is a new story, well two different but interlaced stories, one for each vehicle.

Some background information before proceeding, including History of 'Marks', the Carmichael Manufacturer's History, together with separate articles for vehicle specification and service record

Place marker for background TM articles

Also you may wish to read my motorhome history and my dream motorhome that never was.

For the first part of the ongoing story Carmichael Mark 12 A - Part 1



Something extra


Just for information with no particular relevance, below is another Sale Notice. Still significant, as it is today.

By order of the UK Ministry of Defence
Monday 24th June 2013
Viewing: Wednesday 19th  Thursday 20th  Friday 21st and  Saturday 22nd June  8:30am to 4:30pm
Approx 900 LOTS to Include

DIRECT FIRE SERVICE VEHICLES  Large Selection to include Mercedes, Scania, Carmichael, Man Etc.

LANDROVERS  110, 90, Wolf  TUL  and 88 inch  Lightweight Diesel LHD.  Etc.

CARS, Vans, Ambulances, Mitsubishi 4 x 4 Shogun Sport, Minibuses,  Motorcycles, Bombardier Lynx Skidoos with trailers, Electric Vehicles Etc.

LEYLAND DAF and Bedford 4 x 4 Trucks, HGV`s,  Leyland Daf 8 x 6 Drops Loaders,  RB 44 Trucks Utility 4 x 4 some with winches,  Refuellers,  Etc,

FODEN 6 x 6 Heavy Recovery Vehicles with EKA Underlift, Crane and Winches Etc.

PLANT Grove RT 528 Rough Terrain Crane, Coles 10 ton Crane   JCB Fastrack, JCB 410 Wheel loaders, Water Pumps, Compressors, Sweepers, Snow Ploughs, Tractors Hydraulic Hoist, Various Diesel Forklifts, Mowers, Hedge cutters Etc. Etc.

ARMOURED VEHICLES to include  CHIEFTAIN  MBT with 120 mm Gun (ex reserve), CVRT Vehicles to include Sabre, Samson, Spartan, Striker, Sultan, Stormer, Shielder, Etc. CET Engineer Tractor, Springer Diesel ATV Buggy ( Ex Reserve ), Roush Diesel  ATV  6 x 6 Buggy ( Ex Reserve )  Etc. Etc.

MISC. EQUIPMENT inc. Boat Trailers insulated cabins, offices, workshops, Generators, Lube Units, Tools, CES and Recovery Equipment, Diesel Engines, Pressure Washers Clansman Radio Equipment, Test Equipment,  Antenna Masts, Cable, Scrap Metal, New and Used Tyres, Etc. Etc. Etc.

APPROX 400 Lots of Vehicle Spares To Include  Engines, Transmissions, Axles, Bearings, Electrical Parts, Landrover, Bedford, Leyland,  Daf, Foden, Man, Renault, JCB, Caterpillar  Etc. Etc.

Catalogue, pictures, terms and conditions available from our website by post or on view days.

Witham (Specialist Vehicles) Ltd
The UK Sales and Marketing Agent for all Ministry of Defence Vehicles and Plant
Address : Honeypot Lane, Colsterworth, Grantham, Lincs. NG33 5LY
Telephone: 01476 861361






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