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Post war serial numbers

When did the two number, two letter, two number system take over from the wartime tank number?
My "last contract" Royal Navy Ariel WNG was transferred to the Ministry of Works in July 1946 becoming civilian registered but the number 38MC29 appears handwritten beside the civilian one in the original brown registration book indicating it was allocated by then. I think I've seen 1949 quoted before so this seems a bit early. Was it a gradual change over a period of years?

Re: Post war serial numbers

David, the change to the ERM numbers went gradually from 1949 to 1952, but I have not seen your combination of numbers before, I will have to check it though, interesting.

Cheers, Lex

email (option): welbike@welbi😜😜.net

Re: Post war serial numbers

There was a two tier system with the new registration numbers, new vehicles started at xxAAxx, older vehicles destined to become obsolete started at the other end of the alphabet xxZAaa, all the wartime BSA Norton and Matchless machines still up to standard fell into this category, but ironically it appears that BSA M20s were still in the system in the 1970s long after the Triumph TRW had finished production.

Your alleged registration falls in the middle so if it existed it would date from many years after the war?


email (option): robmiller11(a)

Re: Post war serial numbers

Morning gents,
we have to be a little careful here. Although the letters were largely used in order, there were large blocks reserved for other uses.....
A series (AA to AZ) I'm fairly sure was reserved for RAF, RN for Royal Navy being two obvious ones, but I am sure I remember reading that MH series was reserved for fork lifts ('Materials Handling' maybe?) as just one example.
I think the new-into-service vehicles started at B series, not A.
Agreed regarding the Z series being for older vehicles being transferred onto the new system.

Re: Post war serial numbers

The number 38MC29 is written in red ink beside the civilian number in the original RF60 document. "Ex R.N. M.O.S." is also hand written. It seems that it was exempt from road tax while with the Ministry of Works. The first civilian owner is recorded in May 1950.
I wonder if it had a "dual identity" while still a government vehicle, or maybe was on loan to MoW, and the post war military serial number was allocated later than 1946 but before final disposal in 1950?
I've also just discovered that the last batch of 300 WNGs had RN tank numbers allocated at random at the Ariel Works and fortunately these are shown in the Works records.

Re: Post war serial numbers

I can't find anything with MC, except civillian, that was Manchester erea, the excellent book "Warpaint" vol. 1 gives a whole list, MH Material Handling is also in there with a note of 1980, so much later.



email (option): welbike@welb**

Re: Post war serial numbers

Thanks Lex, interesting to know. I'll try to get a hold of that book.
My WNG possibly never saw military service as it was despatched in August '45, transferred to Ministry of Works and civilian registered in July '46 and privately owned by 1950.
However I do know its wartime allocated RN tank number and the slightly mysterious later allocation. it now carriesits original 1950 civilian number.
That's a fairly comprehensive history.
Thankyou for your help, and thanks also Rob and Mark for your replies.

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