Click Here to go back to Taking a look at Winches by Dave Wintle
Pictures and notes about the Fordson "Sussex Winch Vehicle PHX 376" at RAF Museum Hendon
When balloons were flown they were always attached to a stout metal wire rope that had a specific breaking strain. The cable was attached to a form of winch that was designed to wind in at a controlled speed and to be wound out at a similarly controlled speed.
There were two types of winch setting: A static winch that was affixed to a firm concrete base and a mobile version that was borne on the back of a lorry specifically designed to carry the winch over rough terrain. These mobile version were extremely versatile in that the barrage could be moved overnight to protect targets. So if the enemy had knowledge of where a barrage might be found they might plan to avoid that area to prevent fouling the cables but with a mobile barrage it was always unknown by the enemy pilots as to where they may be found. Another idea was to mount the winch on a trailer so that it could be towed almost anywhere. After the war a number of winches found their way into a new life as a winches for gliding clubs, but have been superseded by newer, more powerful and faster winches, although one original vintage winch by Wild is to be found in use by 621 Volunteer Gliding Squadron at Hullavington.
I recently visited the RAF Museum at Hendon and was able to take some interesting pictures of the winch lorry they have on display there. This was a fantastic example of a ground up restoration project and it was complete in every detail. This particular one was renovated by one of our members Ken Kelly and Eddie Smith to whom all our members are eternally grateful, particularly for the standard to which the renovation was done and also for the financial backing to achieve this superb restoration. The cab on the original was too badly damaged to be used so a new one was found in the USA and was imported at no small cost. In addition numerous parts could not be found and so the vehicle was restored by making some of the parts from scratch with the assistance of M.B. Wild. The paint was chosen as pre-war Air Force Blue with black mudguards. In 1994 this vehicle was taken to Normandy by Eddie Smith for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day and won first prize for its authenticity. After this it was presented to the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon.
The one at Hendon is the most commonest produced. It is the Fordson ‘Sussex’ Type E917T, the E being for English, the 9 denotes the year of manufacture - 1939, the 221 cubic inch engine, 7 - 157 inch wheelbase and the T for truck, and is painted in peacetime Air Force Blue. If you are ever able to visit the RAF museum at Hendon then please do so, admission and parking is free, the staff are most helpful and the items on display are absolutely wonderful to see. It is a great day out for the family and there is a cafeteria there with superb food and drink on offer.
It looks superb! Thank you Ken Kelly and Eddie Smith and of course RAF Museum Hendon.
A side view of the Sussex Fordson Type E917T Winch Vehicle
A front view of the Sussex Fordson Type E917T Winch Vehicle note the sticking out wing mirrors
A side view of the Sussex Fordson Type E917T Winch Vehicle showing the bollard on the rear of the nearside
A side view of the Sussex Fordson Type E917T Winch Vehicle showing the cage designed to protect the operator
from injury if a cable were to snap.
A side view of the Sussex Fordson Type E917T Winch Vehicle showing the pedals and levers used to make the winch work.
A side view of the Sussex Fordson Type E917T Winch Vehicle rear drum and leading off gear
A side view of the Sussex Fordson Type E917T Winch Vehicle rear drum and leading off gear.
A side view of the Sussex Fordson Type E917T Winch Vehicle rear cover.
The two levers on the left of the cover were for possibly towing a trailer.
A rear view of the Sussex Fordson Type E917T Winch Vehicle cable ring it was to this ring that the balloon cable was anchored. This device was known as the "Crossover" and was made of Duraluminium. Note the nine bolt clamp holding the two wires together. There were two of these clamps on each cable one above the other but seperated by about 8 inches or 200 mm.
A side view of the Sussex Fordson Type E917T Winch Vehicle side cleats and ring which I presume is involved in the bollard action.The drum laying in a horizontal plane below the levers is in fact a spare wheel rim with no tyre.
A side view of the Sussex Fordson Type E917T Winch Vehicle bollard