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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

Interesting Cars with Interesting Histories – 5.

The car pictured above was purchased by Jack E Thomas, who was a remarkable man. He in 1943 joined the army aged 17, enrolling with the Life Guards, as his father had served time with this regiment. He then moved to officer training with the Commandos (badged The Welch Regiment but disbanded after WWII in 1946) and then to the 1st Paras. When promoted to Major rank in 1949 he was transferred to the Royal Military Police with which regiment he completed his service reaching that of Brigadier.  During the 40 years he spent with the military he was sent to Palestine, Korea and the Far East, East Africa, Germany, Wales, Ireland and rounded off his career with desk jobs in London.

Among his contemporaries he was noted for having survived a 30 metre fall while abseil training in Scotland, a parachute which failed to open during training jumps, and was the sole survivor of three when their jeep ran over a landmine in Palestine. In Africa a rhino charged his Jeep and on two occasions there were close up skirmishes with persistent lions.                                                                   

It was during 1951, while stationed in Hong Kong he purchased the 18hp Armstrong Siddeley Whitley saloon. The same year he met and shortly after married Dorothea.

For the next 49 years the car featured greatly in the life of the expanding family, till 1990 when it was laid up in the garage of their home in Aldershot. Some 24 years later it was transferred into the ownership of the Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club and subsequently passed into the hands of the present owner who has restored the car, yet with a twist which marks its military history.


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