Thursday, 10 January 2013

Guinness Lorries WW1 and Tan War

The first use of motor vehicles by Guinness lasted from 1899 to 1903. Motors then came back into use in 1909 with the purchase of a number of Straker Squires. 1 driver (a Mr Crouch) transferred to Guinness with the purchase of the lorrries. As at 27/1/1914, 7 Milnes Daimler drivers were working for Guinness (starting 8/11/1913). Henry Ledwidge transferred from the Engineering Dept at Guinness in June 1909 as the first Guinness driver on probation. Ledwidge, Foreman Driver, died in 1917 and there is a note re a patent of his re "Improvements in couplings for road vehicles"

From the Guinness archives :
On the 6th March 1915, Captain A E Beattie, ASC, inspected 2 Leyland cars and the Commer car and took them over on behalf of the War Office.

The 'cars' were :

Leyland 5 ton lorry. Chassis no 1069(or W69)/1352. Manufactured Nov 1913; purchased from Leyland Nov 1913 for £884-0-0. Guinnessdepreciation value £645-4-9; price offered by Capt Beattie £602

Leyland 4 ton lorry. Chassis no X373/1353. Manufactured Nov 1913; purchased from Leyland Nov 1913 for £809-0-0
Guinness depreciation value £590-11-2; price offered by Capt Beattie £560. Described as lorry, no sides.

Com(m)er 5 1/2 (6?) ton lorry. Chassis no KC519. Manufactured Oct 1913; purchased Oct 1913 from Messrs Thompson Motor Co, Dublin. for £792. Guinness depreciation value £578-0-2; price offered by Capt Beattie £560. Described as lorry, no sides.

3 lorries had earlier been taken from the Liverpool depot but no details available other than cars numbered 11, 12 and 18.

An inventory taken at the date, showed 27 cars in Dublin :

14 Straker Squires 4 ton cars
4 Milnes Daimler 4 ton cars
3 Milnes Daimler 5 ton cars
2 Milnes Daimler 6 ton cars
1 Leyland 4 ton car
1 Leyland 5 ton car
1 Steam Leyland 6 ton car
1 Commer 6 ton car

with a note that cars on order which may be commandeered in factory - 2 Foden Steam Cars expected in middle of April and 6 Foden Steam Cars expected sometime in July. A 9th May 1917 inventory of the steam wagons lists 1 Leyland steam wagon and 6 Foden Steam Wagons plus 11 Straker Squires and 13 Milnes Daimlers. The Straker Squires were offered to the military as the Guinness petrol allowance wasn't enough for the business (2244 gallons per month) and they didn't want to hand over the steam wagons.

There had been communications between the ASC and Guinness since the early days of the war. Guinness provided the list of their drivers and their sizes so that uniforms could be made and kept on hand should they need to be taken into the army. Arrangements were made in conjunction with Colonel Collard in Dec 1914/Jan 1915 re "providing motor lorries day or night in the event of a national emergency".

14 petrol lorries and 3 Foden steam wagons from Guinness were taken by the military on the first day of the Easter Rising (24th April 1916). All but 2 lorries were returned on the 15th May - the 2 kept behind with their drivers (Joseph Armstrong and Daniel Prior) were working for the Royal Army Medical Corps unit stationed at Portobello Barracks. Total mileage of 3800 is recorded for the vehicles; 104 gallons of petrol and 65 bags of coal were handed to the military. 33 Guinness drivers received a letter from General Maxwell and a £15 bonus each fromGuinness. Armstrong and Prior also received a note of thanks from Major Balch, RAMC. 

A note from the Wednesday of the Rising, states that Major Deasy rang on that day (26th April 1916) enquiring about what would be the terms under which motor cars could be converted into armoured cars. Consent was given by A E Guinness on the condition that the cars were returned in a fit state and this was telephoned to Major Deasy in the afternoon. 

Some of the Straker Squire and Milnes Daimler lorries were commandered by 615 MT Company ASC from 17th April 1918 to 12th June 1918 and there are details of the wear and tear, missing items and repairs undertaken on their return to Guinness

There was an attempt to use Guinness lorries in the construction of Baldonnel aerodrome for the Royal Flying Corps in 1917 due to shortages of vehicles but this was resisted. The Irish Automobile Club had been looking to use a Guinness lorry from June 1915 as part of an effort to train/test motor drivers for the army.

Also in the Guinness archive is a pamphlet labelled "War Department Scheme for Motor Lorries" which appears to be pre WW1. Drawings are also stored. The Guinness lorries of 1914 didn't meet the specifications of the scheme.

So far, the only registrations I've found in any of the Guinness documents are RI 2585, RI 2588 and RI 2589 which were 3 of the lorries taken in April 1918.

No comments:

Post a comment