Workshop Wednesday – Research

When working with vehicles and equipment from the past, it’s always interesting to try and find out information on where they have been, what they were used for, and other details in their history.

At the weekend, Ian from the Matador Survivors Database paid us a visit. Ian is compiling a pictorial list of the surviving AEC Matador lorries in the world, and was kind enough to forward us information about the ones in the Shopland Collection that we didn’t have! We now have the build dates and original numbers for nearly all the AECs in the collection, as well as the original intended purpose.

Here’s an example of one of the orders for new Matadors, placed in 1940. This order includes the Artillery Tractor, a regular at the show.  (Courtesy of Stuart Wheeler, Chief Archivist at The Tank Museum, with thanks.)

T9569 - includes artillery tractor

The Matador Artillery Tractor
The Matador Artillery Tractor

In the meantime, we’ve also been doing some delving online.

Here’s a photo (found on Miliblog) of one of the former artillery tractors, in use by Murphy’s of Rochdale. Quite a lot of AECs were converted in this way, with the addition of a Harvey Frost Crane.


As of 2015 this vehicle is in a rather sorry state, having been robbed of many parts and abandoned. At some point a tree has grown through it. Hopefully it will once again turn a wheel in anger some day.

Another of the rather forlorn looking trucks in storage is this Scammell Tank Transporter (currently for sale). These were in use by the British Army until superseded by the Diamond T 980/981.


After the war, this truck was sold into the roadmaking industry, working for Glossop. I believe the trailer shown in the image below (found on CCMV, with thanks to HMVF user madrat) was a grading machine. The slow speed and high traction of the Scammell made it ideal for this role.


This only just scratches the surface of the vehicles that appear at the show, but hopefully gives an insight into what can be found!


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