Loyd Carrier
Loyd CarrierTHE LOYD CARRIER owed much to the 15cwt 4x2 Fordson (Ford UK) truck from which it borrowed the engine, radiator, gear box transmission tube and differential. The radiator was at the rear with the drive taken to the front sprockets, requiring the axle to be inverted and thereby reversing the direction of the drive. The rear idlers and front sprockets both were fitted with brake drums, steering being achieved by levers locking up one side or another - nothing as sophisticated as track-warping here! The suspension uses the same slow-motion, double-forked types as used on other contemporary Bren, Scout and MG carriers, two units per side, the rear being reversed.

The prototype vehicle was tested by the Army in late 1939, with an initial order for 200 being placed shortly thereafter. The original role was intended to be that of personnel carrier, and the carrier was designated (in typical British style) "Carrier, Tracked, Personnel Carrying". As with all carriers it wasn't long before they were being adapted for other roles (more on this later).

During the production run the carrier's external appearance changed only slightly with the addition of one or two brackets from the hull to the bogies for extra rigidity. Originally the brakes were Bendix, but later Girling Brakes were introduced and this change seems to define the MkI and MkII designation. The original carriers had British Ford 85bhp V-8 engines, but later American 90bhp V-8s and Canadian 85bhp V-8s were introduced.

Originally produced by Vivian Loyd's own company, larger firms soon took over production. The mass producers were the Ford Motor Company and Wolseley Motors, who between them manufactured more than 13,000. Other manufacturers were Dennis Bros. Ltd., Aveling & Barford and the Sentinel Waggon Works. Total production is thought to have been approximately 26,000.

The Loyd was of course widely used in infantry battalions for hauling 6-pdr antitank guns around as well as a 4.2in mortars. There was also a variant, "Tractor Anti-tank, MkI", which towed the 2-pdr and carried the gun crew and ammo as well (also a spare wheel for the gun). The side shields of the 2-pdr were attached to the sides of the drivers compartment as an added measure of protection. A similar Anti-tank tractor was used with the 6-pdr in both British and Canadian service (although the latter heavily favoured the Universal Mk.II*, T-16 or Windsor for that function).

One of the first variants conceived was a slave battery carrier, or in Military speak, "Carrier, Tracked, Starting and Charging" (don't you just love those designations?). These were attached to armoured regiments to act as mobile charging vehicles for tank units. This required a power take-off located by the gearbox driving through universal couplings a 30-volt dynamo and a 12-volt dynamo. The slave battery unit was a 30-volt, 300 amp/hr unit and was positioned against the hull plates on both sides.

Another variant was the "Carrier, Tracked, Cable Layer Mechanical", used by Royal Signals units.

As regards experimental versions, there were the usual smattering of AA guns (one with quadruple brens) and self-propelled 2-pdrs etc. There was even a self-propelled 25-pdr howitzer version.

- primary source: British Tanks and Fighting Vehicles 1914-1945 by B.T. White, 1970, pub. by Ian Allen; text by Chris Shillito of ARMOUR IN FOCUS

This magnificent example is owned and operated by Dutch collector Dirk Leegwater, who found and recovered an original wreck in 1996. This Loyd was manufactured by Ford of England on 13/3/43, to Contract No. M6619. The W/D number T240838 is the original assignment.

(Please click on any pic to enlarge...)

Loyd Carrier
This rear view without canvas shows the spartan layout of the interior, with the powerplant unit dominating the rear and the driver's seat front and centre. It's difficult to imagine the entire crew of the 6pdr gun, complete with kit and basic ammunition load, jammed inside 'for the duration'! Loyd, Rear
A closer view from the left rear shows details of the towing attachment and running gear, the latter borrowed from the 'Universal' series of carriers. Note the two dual bogie assemblies on each side; this arrangement provided much more stability in the carrier's towing function than the Universal Carrier's single/double design. Loyd, Rear
This photo shows Dirk's restored Loyd on the road in Normandy, June 1999. The vulnerability of the exposed differential is readily apparent, but then again, any direct enemy action likely to destroy it would also be heavy enough to penetrate the carrier's minimal plate. Note the spare tyre mounting for the 6pdr AT gun and one of the various iterations of the multi-faceted canvas tonneau cover (in this case, the summer 'Touring' mode...) Loyd on the Road
The Loyd at speed through the centre of Courseulles, June 1999. It's not hard to imagine that this, and other like vehicles, may well have travelled these roads once before... note that since the Loyd uses the same basic 'dead track' as the Universal Carrier, care must be taken in the course of normal driving. On tarmac, this steel track is extremely slippery, and certain conditions encountered in off-road driving can shed track with little warning. Loyd at Speed
The Loyd passes a vintage BSA military motorcycle somewhere in France, 1999. Visibility from the carrier is very good, but note that there is no provision for vision blocks; this vehicle was not designed for advancing over fire-swept ground, but rather as a gun-tower and utility vehicle. Mr. Loyd, meet Mr. BSA...
Somewhere in northern France, Dirk's Loyd traverses a typical country road, the likes of which it has no doubt seen before, in far more trying times. As with its Universal cousins, this carrier provides a remarkably smooth ride on almost any surface. Loyd in its natural environs
Finally, at rest outside a country cottage, in much the same venue as it must have seen some 55 years ago, with its tired crew looking for a warm, dry place to relax for a few precious hours. Flanking the Loyd is a motorcycle and bicycle, and on the left, Dirk's fine Heavy Utility Personnel. Home, Sweet Home...

Dirk Leegwater is one of Europe's premiere collectors of Canadian WW2 memorabilia, who has demonstrated time and time again his dedication to preserving - with excellence - the artifacts of this critical period in world history. MAPLE LEAF UP is proud to be able claim Dirk as a friend, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank him publicly for his unmatched and tireless efforts. As an example of the incredible effort it sometimes takes to retrieve, restore and present some of these rare vehicles, we invite you to click HERE for a glimpse at the process Dirk had to follow with this unique carrier. - gwb

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Copyright © Geoff Winnington-Ball , 1999-2000  All Rights Reserved
Photographs supplied by Dirk Leegwater