The letter in the November issue by John R. Millburn was very interesting to me a 74-year-old. At first glance of the picture of the old Model-T Ford I thought it was one of ours which we had with the 7th Light Armoured Car Battery (7th LAMB) in Mesopotamia in 1917. We went to German East Africa in 1917 with four Rolls-Royce Armoured Cars, thirteen Model-T Ford trucks and some Triumph motorcycles. The Fords were left-hand drive and one collided with a tram in Exeter on the journey from Bulford to Devonport. A rear wheel collapsed in German East Africa owing to the shrinkage of the wooden spokes, after which incident we wrapped strips of blankets around the spokes near the hubs and kept these moist as and when we could spare the water. When the German troops went over the Portuguese East African border we were sent to Mesopotamia. Our four Rolls-Royce armoured cars were taken from us and given to another battery to make eight car batteries and we were given nine double-turret armoured Austins. We still retained the Model-T Ford trucks and left them in Mesopotamia in 1919. During the rainy season we fitted Parsons skid chains to the rear wheels in order to get a better grip and in loose sand we often had to be pushed by colleagues when the rear wheels churned their way into the sand. The ASC (Army Service Corps) had many Model-Ts in the Baghdad area.
Thank you Mr. Milburn for your interesting letter and the editor of Motor Sport for publishing it.
C. A. Booty.
I was interested in reading about the Army Desert Runabouts in the November and December issues, as my brother purchased about two years ago a Dodge Pickup or Runabout. It was an Army vehicle originally and subsequent removal of paint proved the correctness of this fact, told verbally to us. Its registration number is of the year approximately 1922. The makers say from its dimensions it was made round about 1916 so it was in army hands for a period of five to six years.
It was on an island on Loch Lomond and was in regular use up until about sixteen years ago, being utilised for the carriage of goods from the pier to the dwelling house.
On inspection we found the plug leads perished to nothing but fortunately the engine was free, thanks to holiday-makers etc. cranking the fixed starting handle from time to time. New plugs, new leads and the carburetter filled with petrol; three cranks at the handle and we had a runner!
Complete renovation is now well under way and should he completed by this time next year. It has wooden spoke wheels all round with peculiar rear rims presumably fitted for extra grip on soft ground.
We hope that the fact of at least one ex-army Runabout? still surviving, will please some other enthusiasts.