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 The "Indian pattern" FAT > Australian wooden bodies
Mike Kelly pointed out that the rear body on the Indian pattern FAT is not unlike (though not identical with) some wooden GS type bodies. One example is the body as fitted to the International K 1-ton 4x2 GS Van, produced by International Harvester company of Australia Pty Ltd. More trucks with similar wooden bodies are shown below.

Note: the images below are not copied but linked directly from the AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL PHOTOGRAPH DATABASE. They are provided for research purposes only and may not be reproduced or published.


AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL PHOTOGRAPH

A 15-cwt 4x4 GS truck, very likely assembled and bodied in Australia by General Motors-Holden's Ltd. Its wooden rear body is the GS body number 1, Australian.

Photo source: AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL PHOTOGRAPH DATABASE
"This image is provided for research purposes only and may not be reproduced or published." Negative Number: 054739. Caption: BULLDOG ROAD, NEW GUINEA. 1943-07-09. TRACTOR OF THE COMMAND ROYAL ENGINEERS HITCHED TO BOGGED TRUCK AT THE 1 1/2 MILE POINT. Photographer: Warrant Officer Irving. 


AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL PHOTOGRAPH
Another 15-cwt GS truck with the wooden GS body number 1, Australian. It was assembled and bodied in Australia by General Motors-Holden's Ltd.

Photo source: AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL PHOTOGRAPH DATABASE
"This image is provided for research purposes only and may not be reproduced or published." Negative Number: 127822. Caption: AUSTRALIA. TRUCKS, 15-CWT. G.S. (AUSTRALIAN), 1. THREE-QUARTER FRONT VIEW, LEFT SIDE.


AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL PHOTOGRAPH
A 15-cwt Fire Tender truck with wooden body - again, assembled and bodied in Australia by General Motors-Holden's Ltd.
(For a surviving Fire Tender truck see Keith Webb's page on the Len Watkins collection - third row on the right.)

Photo source: AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL PHOTOGRAPH DATABASE
"This image is provided for research purposes only and may not be reproduced or published." Negative Number: 127816. Caption: AUSTRALIA. TRUCKS, 15-CWT. FIRE TENDER (AUSTRALIAN), WITH TRAILERS, 2-WH. FIRE PUMP 500 GALL/MM. THREE-QUARTER REAR VIEW, RIGHT SIDE.


AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL PHOTOGRAPH
Mike reasoned that vehicles like this "Indian Army Type" Ambulance, which was actually built in Australia, suggest that there is a possibility the Indian pattern FATs were not built in India but in Australia.

Photo source: AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL PHOTOGRAPH DATABASE
"This image is provided for research purposes only and may not be reproduced or published." Negative Number: 127834. Caption: AUSTRALIA. TRUCKS, AMBULANCE, INDIAN ARMY TYPE, (AUSTRALIAN). THREE-QUARTER FRONT VIEW, RIGHT SIDE. 



On the subject of wooden GS bodies, Mike Cecil (of Australian Military Equipment Profiles and Assistant Curator Military Technology at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra) commented:
"The wooden bodies on the Australian vehicles are all standard Australian pattern GS bodies, based on the British wooden bodies, but using Australian techniques and materials. The wood bodies were built at GM-H at Woodville, South Australia, GM-H at Fishermans Bend in Victoria, the Ford Special Body plant at Geelong in Victoria, and other specialist body manufacturers. The same 15 cwt wood body crops up on International and other truck manufacturers vehicles as well. The MCP 4x2 and 4x4 15 cwts are both GS  types. The 15 cwt "No." body in Australian service was a demountable steel body. In the case of the Ford Fire Tender, this was a purpose built wood/steel body built to a Directorate of Mechanical Vehicles specification. I suspect that the only similarity between the Indian and Australian wood bodies is the material and some superficial external resemblance, and the fact that they are both broadly based upon British doctrine and British designs, but the method of construction and details of the metal fittings will reflect the local manufacturing techniques and capabilities.
I don't have an actual design for these bodies, but the same metal fittings can be found on many pre-war commercial lorry bodies and on the larger 3 ton wood bodies."
"I strongly suspect that what are described officially as "Indian Pattern" Ambulances was a pre-war British ambulance design that they described as "Indian Pattern" since it was originally built in India for Indian conditions. The Australian Army simply used the basic design and manufactured a similar body here in Australia, and described it in the same terms, i.e. "Indian Pattern", but beyond the origins of the basic design, there is no other connection to my knowledge. 
I seriously doubt that the Indian Pattern FATs were built in Australia when India had the manufacturing capacity to undertake the task internally, and Australia was already manufacturing the all-steel, fully enclosed no.'s 8 & 9 Arty tractor bodies. Certainly, in all the production information I have for both Ford, Chev, and other specialist body manufacturers, together with the Eastern Group Supply Council information for that period, I have no reference to Australia producing bodies of any sort for India."


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Created 07 Jan 2000
Updated 16 May 2001

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