This is the first WW2 Jeep Duncan Harris has owned, but not just any Jeep this is a Long wheelbase Jeep. He purchased it from Barry Ring of Whitedell Engineering, who managed to find this Jeep which had languished in a barn for many years. Considering the amount of time it had stood, it was in a reasonable condition. Barry using his extensive engineering skills had the Jeep running and driving around his yard in no time. It was quickly spotted by Duncan’s father Chris and after a bit of negotiation it was purchased from Barry. As soon as Duncan had bought the Jeep he and his father Chris decided that they would take it to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D Day, together with Chris’s Willys Jeep. In a very optimistic move Chris booked both Jeeps on the ferry well before Christmas. During the negotiations, Barry had agreed to replace the floor and carry out other repairs including the paint work. Duncan’s father had retired, but Duncan had other ideas and Chris was soon hard at work restoring the Jeep with Duncan, luckily the engine and drive train were in good shape and only needed cleaning and painting. Once the body was removed it was handed over to Barry. As well as being a first rate engineer, Barry is also an accomplished sheet metal worker and was soon working his magic on the body. In the meantime Chris had started on the chassis and engine but had also been looking into the history of the Long wheelbase Jeep.The chassis of the Jeep is a Willys MB the body is a script Ford GPW, this most probably happened in the Army workshops during a refit. Chris manage to track down one the owners of the Jeep from the 60’s in the Portsmouth area, Apparently the Jeep was sold off from the British Army in 1946. Chris and Duncan’s research is ongoing and we will add an update if any new information comes to light.These Long wheelbase Jeep were sometimes known as Flightline Jeeps because they were modified on airfields during the war to transport flight crews to their aircraft, they were also modified by the Army for other purposes. Duncan will be in Normandy from the 3rd of June, staying near Stainte-Mere-Eglise.
Duncan with help from his Dad managed to get the Long wheelbase Jeep to the Overlord show for the Monday. Duncan’s Mother was enlisted to help, repairing the canvas top also making the seat cushions. Still not finished but ready enough for Normandy.
Duncan’s father explains the story behind the markings.
Not knowing its military history, Duncan decided upon a desert theme, as his grandfather and great grandfather had military service in Egypt and Palestine. The tri-colour unit sign on the passenger side is REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers). These units provided 1st Line support, typically to Armour and Infantry units, we added the ’99’ denoting an armoured brigade workshop. The white shield and cross is the divisional sign of British 8th Army, and the roundel on the bonnet (hood) is for aircraft recognition, used in North Africa from 1942. The hood number is my dad’s army number! The Arabic number plate is similar to those used in Egypt during the war, it says HARRIS 8282, this being our family name of course, with Duncan’s date of birth! Coincidentally, the Arabic script is not phonetic, it is an actual word HARRIS meaning GUARD or GUARDIAN!