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WW2 Loyd Carrier Used For Starting Aircraft

Conceived by Vivian Loyd as an unarmed and lightly protected general- purpose vehicle, the design was tested in early 1939 by the British Army, who immediately placed an order for 200 units. Eventually, a total of 26,000 were built by the Cardin Loyd Company, the Ford Motor Company and Wolseley Motors.

The Loyd is well equipped (with a canvas cover) to transport personnel in all sorts of weather, but without the cover the Loyd is often confused with the Bren/Universal carriers also used during WW2.  Photo: © Historical Aviation Film Unit

The National Army Museum believes that their Loyd (seen here), which was one of 21 operated in New Zealand, arrived for the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1939 where it was used to start aircraft with the large generator mounted in the rear compartment. A light tracked vehicle was ideal for this use as in wet conditions the tracks would not create ruts on the surface of the grass airstrips to the same degree that wheeled vehicles would.The carriers were also used to carry flight crews out onto the aircraft flight line.

In Commonwealth service throughout the Second World War, in addition to the starting and charging configuration Loyd carriers were also used as personnel carriers, a tractor for towing 2-pdr and 6-pdr guns, a light tank recovery/support vehicle, a mortar carrier, a mechanical cable layer, and after the war the Belgian army fitted a 90mm gun to several Loyds to create a self-propelled gun.

The driving compartment of the carrier showing the two levers used for steering, and the relative lack of other instrumentation and controls. The carrier has a gearbox with four forward and one reverse gear.  

In 1942 the RNZAF’s carriers were transferred to the New Zealand Army, and a number of these (including the Museum’s vehicle) were sent to the Pacific Theatre with the New Zealand 3rd Division.There they proved to be a great asset for moving small numbers of troops, and as a mechanical support for the Division’s Valentine tank units.

Unlike the Bren and Universal carriers which are driven by use of a steering wheel, the Loyd carriers are steered by two levers which activate the two brake drums—these in turn slow or stop the tracks as required.

There were four main roles that the Loyd was used for (info courtesy Wikipedia)

* Tracked Personnel Carrier (TPC)

Equipped with a front bench seat and seating for troops on the track guards. Frontal and full side armour fitted.

* Tracked Towing (TT) - Initially known as 'Tractor Anti-tank, MkI'

Equipped with four single seats and ammunition stowage on the track guards. Used for towing the 4.2 inch mortar and hauling the QF 2 pounder and QF 6 pounder anti-tank guns and carrying its crew. Frontal and front quarter armour fitted. The main variant by number manufactured.

* Tracked Cable Layer Mechanical (TCLM)

A vehicle for Royal Corps of Signals work. No armour fitted.

* Tracked Starting and Charging (TS&C)

Equipped with a front bench seat, 30 volt and 12 volt DC generators driven from the gearbox layshaft and battery sets to support armoured regiment tanks. No armour fitted.

This example of the Loyd which is owned by the National Army Museum of New Zealand, is described by (then) Assistant Curator of Technology, George Pycraft.

Powered by an 85hp Ford V8 Side Valve petrol engine the Loyd has a top speed of 48km/h and an operational range of around 220 km. The steel plate armour is only around 7mm thick, and the carrier has a payload of 7-8 men or the equivalent weight.

The carrier shown here was restored and then donated to the (New Zealand) National Army Museum by Mr Murray Clark of Ashburton.

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