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About five minutes after I posted about history last night I decided to put The Duke’s military reg into Google. I’m sure I’d tried this before, but maybe without the quotes or something. Anyway, this time I found something…

Pictures of my beloved Land Rover!

Bit of a shocker really, and not what I’d expected to find. Turns out that Boscombe Down is also home to the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection (BDAC), who restore and maintain aircraft which have been let-go by the flight testing centre.

The bloke who took the pictures helped out there and took some time to investigate a Land Rover 109 HSV – now known as The Duke! Pictures of the identification plates in the cab, complete with military reg and chassis number, confirm this.

Clearly someone cared about it for a while. Text from the web page is very positive!

This Land Rover has spent all it’s working life at Boscombe Down. She now has a Q plate but the Army REG NO was 52 AJ 79. Her first job on the air base was to aid the prototype Lynx helicopter and then the air ship which spent a while under trials at Boscombe. For her age she is in very good condition apart from a burnt out clutch which is currently being sorted out. As long everything goes to plan she should be up and running very soon and attending some local shows.

Excellent quality photos of the inside and outside of the vehicle show things in much better order than they are today. Military lenses and NATO tow hitch are present, so is the dashboard. The text says that there are no problems except a burned out clutch, so I guess that the distributor and carb were still in place! There’s also a very cool looking field telephone and some other bits and bobs which have now gone.

So how did the BDAC get hold of it? Why were they never registered as the owners? Why did they start fixing it up then change their minds, rip off anything of any value and ditch it? Have they still got the bits? Can I have them please?

I emailed the bloke who took the pictures (tracked him down on the EMLRA forum, asking questions about clutches and 109 HSVs!) and he replied within the hour. Seems he’s no longer helping out at BDAC and last time he saw The Duke it was in good condition. I emailed BDAC too, but am still waiting for a response.

If the plot gets any thicker you’ll be able to stand a spoon in it, but one thing’s for sure: I need to add a new clutch to the shopping list!

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