For this third part of my Modern Military Land Rovers story I have delved deep into my slide archives to find more pictures from CVD (Central Vehicle Depot) Ashchurch taken in April 1988, concentrating this time on the One-Ten variants.
Thirty years ago, back in the Thatcher era, and under the Major government which succeeded hers, it was much easier to gain access to Britain’s Armed Forces who it appeared were more valued than by later governments. Consequently, when I asked if it would be possible to visit Ashchurch to document the various Land Rover types in Army service I was not only welcomed with open arms but examples of each different model held at the depot were brought out for me to photograph.
Unfortunately, over the last thirty years a few of the colour slides I shot have gone AWOL, including the one of the One-Ten Station Wagon and the One-Ten SAS DPV (Desert Patrol Vehicle) but maybe one day I will rediscover them either misfiled in the wrong folder or in that seemingly bottomless shoebox of miscellaneous assorted old slides awaiting filing. Fortunately I have more early, though slightly later, photos of both models in my massive collection and in due course I plan bringing you brief features on these.
The lead image on this page is a very rare photo I took inside one of the vast storage sheds at Ashchurch and shows ten pristine KF plate (denoting ’85/6 Fiscal Year) One-Ten Soft Tops pretty much as they rolled off the production line at Solihull; at present Land Rover values I doubt one would see much change out of a million pounds if that bunch were to come up for sale in that condition today. Unfortunately the photo is a bit grainy, as the shot was taken a decade before I first got my hands on a digital camera, but I think it deserves to be seen.The second shot, of 14KJ42, was taken in 1990 at the Para 50 commemoration event on Salisbury Plain and shows one of the 1989 Fiscal Year procurement batch with petrol engine as used by 5 Airborne Brigade which had not yet converted to diesels. Close inspection of the plate above the radiator grille shows it reads 110 rather than the Land Rover 110 of the earlier main 1985-87 production batch as by now most company documentation showed the model as being a 110 rather than a One-Ten; the small green oval Land Rover badge on the grille was an initial indicator that a vehicle was petrol powered, but as these soon got lost and grilles got swapped it soon ceased to be a reliable means of externally checking (though a red rather than yellow filler cap was a good indicator).
The third shot, 33KG28, shows a standard ’87 Fiscal Year One-Ten Soft Top and the fourth, 10KF76 shows a typical ’85/86 One-Ten Hard Top; both were originally classified as Truck Utility Medium and this pair formed the bulk of the ’85/87 One-Ten and Ninety fleet. The fifth shot, 02KF78, is of the rarest of the four long wheelbase models (the other was the One-Ten Station Wagon) and shows what a pristine bronze green One-Ten Truck Cab looked like; these were closer to civilian than full military specification, were used mostly by training establishments as multi-purpose troop and cargo carriers, and had one-piece cab doors like the Station Wagons as they were not intended for tactical use.
The last two photos show One-Ten Hard Top FFR 45KF57 (in one shot alongside a very late pre-Wolf Defender 110) on duty during a live-fire pre-deployment exercise on Castlemartin Ranges in 2004. Built in either 1985 or 86, this vehicle had seen at least 18 years of service; a little later the best of this batch would receive a mid-life upgrade to Tithonous standard (more on this further down the line) to extend service life to around 30 years.