Detective Work

The quest to find out about The Duke’s history makes for an interesting alternative to going outside when it’s below freezing. I got the log book through a few days ago, but it wasn’t ’til today that I actually thought to look who the previous keeper was.

QinetiQ Ltd,
MOD Boscombe Down
Amesbury
Salisbury
SP4 0JF

On April Fool’s Day, 1997, they registered him on a Q plate because the date of first registration was unknown. Very interesting! Didn’t take long to find a map of Boscombe Down and work out some possible usages for a helicopter servicing platform: The Rotary Wing Test Squadron and the Empire Test Pilot School are both based at Boscombe Down and both fly Lynx helicopters.

Hopefully the EMLRA will be able to provide information about what The Duke was up to between his manufacture and Q registration in 1997.

Interestingly, QinetiQ didn’t exist on the date which the V5 claims they registered The Duke; they were incorporated in 2001 when the Defense Evaluation and Research Agency was split up by the government. I guess the company name was changed at the DVLA at some point.

Registration on a Q plate because the manufacture date is unknown is all fine and dandy, but why was the manufacture date not known? Normally, the military registration (52 AJ 79) is enough to trace this. Also, the chassis number can be sent to Land Rover or the Heritage Motor Centre to find out. I guess some sloppy employee needed to get it on the road but couldn’t be bothered to work it out.

Finally, Witham didn’t mention that it wasn’t a direct sale from the MOD. Obviously they didn’t say it was an MOD vehicle either, but given that their website is entitled “MOD Sales” there’s a strong implication! Nothing massive to complain about I suppose, but slightly annoying.

So, I have one of the world’s largest defence research establishments to thank for letting my Land Rover get rusty!

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