Chris's Rolls-Royce project - late to the party .....

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Chris Hall
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Chris's Rolls-Royce project - late to the party .....

Post by Chris Hall » Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:25 pm

When Armortek first brought the Rolls-Royce out I was entranced by it. But I just didn't have the funds, and had too many projects on the go already, so I just admired it from afar ....... until last December, when Steve Ford put his part-built one on the 'For Sale' section. What's a man to do, especially when his wife says "you can have that one" ? So a deal was done, including shipping from the Wild North to Wiltshire, and it's now next on my to-do list (after the Quad et al, but regretfully pushing the Burma Lee and Flaming Fire II back down again :oops:).

Steve has done a fine job so far:

Steve Ford - body small.jpg
Steve Ford - chassis (small).jpg

so it's a shame he decided not to finish it. I think the spoked wheels got to him - a challenge to us all ! I shall, of course, be standing on the shoulders of the Giants on this part of the Forum :).

When the Rolls-Royce was first released, I would have been minded to paint it in Battleship Grey, as part of the 'Southwold Squadron' under the Duke of Westminster in late 1914. But that's proved to be a very popular option, so I needed a new subject. Trawling through my book collection I came across something that caught my attention ......

After the fall of German West Africa (now Namibia), four Rolls-Royce Armoured Cars were transferred to German East Africa (now Tanzania) with two officers and 40 men under the command of Lieutenant Commander Nalder, forming themselves as 10 (Royal Navy) Armoured Motor Battery, or 10(RN)AMB for short. They must have been a bunch of mavericks, as they were the last Armoured Car unit to obey the War Office instruction to transfer from the Navy to the Army ! (which was generally unpopular as it led to reduction in both rank and pay, as well as pride). They provided useful support to Allied forces (mainly South Africans and Native Africans) despite appalling road conditions. Their most notable action was the Battle of Salaita Hill (near modern-day Nairobi) on 12 February 1916, when two of the cars under the command of Sub-Lieutenant Marshall managed to get between the German trench lines, providing a suitable distraction for the South Africans to extricate themselves from a clever German trap. Incidentally, the Native Africans (on both sides) were terrified of the Rolls-Royce Armoured Cars, never having seen anything like them before ! They called them Kibaru, which means Rhinoceros - quite apt, really. So that's my subject - a Desert Sand one.

There's also a very personal aspect to this build. My Father-in-law, John, died in June 2019. He was a World-renowned expert on horse-drawn carriages, which carried on into motor vehicles. In the past he owned a 1931 Rolls-Royce 20/25hp, which he still had when I first met Helen (and when I first learnt, very forcibly, that a Rolls-Royce is never, ever called a 'Roller' :shock:). I have now inherited all his books about the Rolls-Royce (unfortunately there's relatively little about the 1914-pattern Armoured Cars, but it's all fascinating stuff):

John's books (small).jpg

which enhances my more meagre collection:

My books (Small).jpg

He also left Helen an original Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 'Spirit of Ecstasy' which we're going to get re-silvered and mounted on a plinth. Monique very kindly supplied me with the Armortek version, so here's a picture of them both:

Spirits of Ecstasy (small).jpg

I hope he'll appreciate what I'm doing. It's the best tribute I can offer - apart from looking after his daughter, of course !

So that's the story so far. Thanks for bearing with me - those of you who know me know that I never do anything simplistically !

All the best,

Chris
Mark IV (Liesel, Abteilung 14, France 1918)
Morris Quad, 25-pdr & 2 x limbers (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)
Rolls-Royce Armoured Car (10(RN)AMB, German E. Africa 1916)

Vince Cutajar
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Re: Chris's Rolls-Royce project - late to the party .....

Post by Vince Cutajar » Sat Jan 25, 2020 3:53 pm

That's great. Another build to follow. Pulling up a chair and some popcorn.

Vince

Robert Reid
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Re: Chris's Rolls-Royce project - late to the party .....

Post by Robert Reid » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:02 pm

That's going to be a great build and congratulations!

If you want to learn more about the RR Armoured Cars in Namibia, I highly-recommend my friend JIm's book "The Horns of the Beast" (Casemate Publishing) about WW1 in Namibia. Jim was stationed there and visited all the key battlefields and was later on Neil Faulkner's expedition to the Hejaz. There are some good pictures of the RR Armoured cars in Namibia in his book. And if you want to PM me, I am sure he has more... I'll introduce you guys via e-mail.

Great book collection! I also highly-recommend Col. Barrass's book on the Armoured cars that was published by the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation.

Looking forward to following your build!

Cheers,

RPR

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Re: Chris's Rolls-Royce project - late to the party .....

Post by Chris Hall » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:52 pm

Robert -

The four cars that went to East Africa were part of the West Africa contingent, so any pictures would give me an idea of markings and equipment. The only ones I've seen are those of the Rolls-Royces being unloaded at Walvis Bay, via slings from the transport ship. I've found your friends book via Helion (cheaper than Amazon !) so I'll add it to my list. Thanks for the heads-up ! And, if your friend has any other pictures, please contact me via PM and we can move to email.

I got Barrass's book late last week. The reason it wasn't in my photo is because it's on my 'being read' pile !

Another good read about WW1 in Africa is "With Botha and Smuts in Africa" by Lieutenant Commander N. Whittall RN, published in 1917. Whittall commanded the Armoured Car Division. The book can be read online at https://archive.org/details/withbothasm ... 3/mode/2up. Be aware, though, that it's written in the English of its time, and uses some words that are deemed offensive in today's politically-correct world :roll:.

Thanks,

Chris
Mark IV (Liesel, Abteilung 14, France 1918)
Morris Quad, 25-pdr & 2 x limbers (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)
Rolls-Royce Armoured Car (10(RN)AMB, German E. Africa 1916)

Robert Reid
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Re: Chris's Rolls-Royce project - late to the party .....

Post by Robert Reid » Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:03 pm

Thanks, Chris.... I think I've heard most of those words. And political correctness... well, I failed that course rather badly!

I will drop you a note for an e-mail and set you up with Jim.

Another interesting book is Kermit Roosevelt's book War in the Garden of Eden. Not many know of the Iraq campaigns or that Kermit Roosevelt, Teddy's son, was attached to it. Fascinating read about a sideshow of a sideshow of a sideshow!

I am finishing my 25 PDR and on to the Armoured car next, so we'll likely be doing some stuff in parallel. I have a lot of mechanical background in these beasts (www.vintagegaragevt.com) and can help you out if you want to go all-out with details. I plan to! I went a little extra overboard with the engine (see other thread). But nothing exceeds like excess!

I have a ton of info on armoured cars of all bents. Including the only known Rolls-Royce Parts Book for armoured cars. Lots of detail pictures. Glad to share!

Cheers,

RPR

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