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Post Info TOPIC: A Surviving Rolls Royce Armoured Car


Commander in Chief

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A Surviving Rolls Royce Armoured Car
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I don't remember reading anything about this car in this forum; apologies if I am mistaken.

HMAC Ajax at the RAF Regiment Museum

http://www.rafregiment.net/RAF_Regt_Museum.htm

It's not WW1 vintage, but it's close.

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Lieutenant-Colonel

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Hello,

I seem to recall having read that HMS Ajax is a replica, although it may be on an original chassis.


Now here's a (or should I say THE) surviving WWI Rolls Royce armoured car. It is located in Ahmedgnar India. Although modified with later NAP tires/wheels and various other changes found on cars that served in India, it has been confirmed to be a genuine 1914 Rolls Royce Admiralty Pattern. This car has seen a hard life, but imagine the stories it could tell.

(You might need to register to access the forum in the link above. If you are interested in vintage Rolls Royces, the photos in just this one thread makes it worth the effort, though. Most of the cars shown are civilian, but there are photos of the replica armoured car used in the film "Gandhi" as well as a couple of locally made cars that used old armoured car chassis and various parts.)

Enjoy!

MarkV

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Commander in Chief

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Thanks MarkV.

The Indian car is Wedding Bells. I believe it is the same car in all the photos on that thread. The armour was made by a locomotive builders in India and tried to copy the admiralty pattern. I think that Wedding Bells is famous, and has been discussed on this forum in the past, but I haven't seen such good quality pictures of her before.

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Anonymous

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Hello,

The car in Ahmednagar, India is not "Wedding Bells".  It is a 1914 Admiralty Pattern with later modifications for service in India and Afghanistan.  We have this from David Fletcher himself.  - See his article in "Classic Military Vehicles Magazine", Aug 2002. 

This is "Wedding Bells" here.  Note the differences in the turret and hull form when compared to a normal Admiralty Pattern car here.  (The turret on "Wedding Bells" is made up of flat plates, not curved as on 1914 Admiralty Pattern cars - it seems that making curved armoured plates was a technically difficult task that could not be accomplished in India at that time.  The hull between the turret and the bonnet/hood of "Wedding Bells" is also dramatically different from standard Admiralty Pattern cars.) 

Finally, take a look at page 84 in David Fletcher's book War Cars.  On that page you will see photos of both "Wedding Bells" and a 1914 Admiralty Pattern armoured car that has had the India/Afghanistan modifications.

MarkV



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Lieutenant-Colonel

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Hello,

I tried to post a response from my home computer a few days ago but it never appeared - so here goes again.

The car in Ahmedganar, India is not Wedding Bells. Here is a photo of Wedding Bells. For comparison here is a "standard" 1914 Admiralty Pattern Rolls Royce armoured car.  Note the turret made of flat plates on Wedding Bells and the differnt hull form between the turret and the hood/bonnet.

David Fletcher has confirmed that the Ahmedganar car is indeed a 1914 Pattern Rolls Royce armoured car with later modifications for service in India. It was even the subject of an article he wrote in Classic Military Vehicles Magazine (Aug 2002). It is truly an amazing survivor.

PS - If you look further in the Rolls Royce topic of the same Indian car forum you will also come across a photo of a locally-made armoured car that appears to incorporate an original 1914 Admiralty Pattern turret. - Reading in that forum it sounds as if former armoured cars (or at least their chassis) were not considered unusual in India as late as the 1950s and 60s.

MarkV

-- Edited by MarkV at 21:22, 2008-12-19

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Sergeant

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I ran across this photo of Rolls armoured cars incorrectly labelled as Lanchesters.
The fenders and headlamp mounts do look a lot like the Ahmedgnar Rolls.  Could it be one of these?

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Commander in Chief

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markV i have just re-read my reply above, and it sounds a bit rude! very sorry, that was not what i meant at all. sorry if i caused you any offence; there was none intended.

what i knew about Wedding Bells comes from either 'War Cars' by David Fletcher, or 'Early Armoured Cars' by Bartholomew. Both of those books are rather old now. But what i gathered from them was that Wedding Bells was converted into an armoured car in India. The armour plate and rivetting etc was done by a company that built trains/locomotives. The important thing is that it was done twice (at least); it was armoured and worked in one style, and then it was stripped and re-armoured in a different style. I think the first style was improvised (and so may account for the black and white photo with wedding bells written on the bonnet), and the second style was a very good copy of the admiralty pattern (and may account for the colour photos).

Now, i would take that all with a pinch of salt, because....

1. i read both books a long time ago, and have read a lot of other stuff since, so i may be confused. and...

2. both books are rather old now. (although both authors are or were the historian in the best tank museum in the world!). so they may have been working with scanty information.

i didnt read the entire thread you linked to; just looked at the great photos. but i think one of the contributors says that without chassis numbers, everything is guess work. i dont know. if there is another survivor, that is great news, and i hope it is so.

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Private

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HMAC Ajax - as I recall it's a 1923 RR which was striped of it's coachwork, sent back to RR to be rewired and an 'armoured car' was built from plywood and wood including the lewis and vickers machine guns in wood.

This was done in 1986 Feb-July for the Royal Tournament at Earl's Court. We built it at the station workshops at the then RAF Cardington, by two carpenters one of which was myself.

The last time I saw it it was at the RAF Museum.

Christopher Trounson N1944170.



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