Between fen and mountains

By Tickytocky

Ice Cold in Alex

This ambulance appeared in town today as part of the Armed Forces day. I think it is the Austin K2/Y, a British heavy military ambulance used by all services during World War II, built by the Austin Motor Company. The rear body was developed by the Royal Army Medical Corps and built by coachbuilder Mann Egerton. It could take ten casualties sitting or four stretcher cases. The interior dimensions were approximately 2.6 meters long, 2.0 meters wide and 1.7 meters high. At the rear of the vehicle there were two large doors. From the driver's cab the wounded could also be accessed through a small door with a seat. One veteran stated he carried 27 wounded at one point in the North African Campaign; this involved seating passengers on the wings, bonnet, and rear steps and even using rifles to suspend extra stretchers across the walkway in the back; he was mentioned in dispatches for this feat. This type of ambulance was the "star" of the film Ice Cold in Alex (1958) featuring John Mills, Sylvia Syms, Anthony Quayle and Harry Andrews.
A lot of attention was given to the recent D Day commemorations. It made me think of the great work done by this vehicle and those that manned it. My late father-in-law, a great raconteur, often talked of his wartime experiences but it was only after his death that we learnt of his post D Day experiences behind enemy lines walking through France to make his own way back. He never spoke of this. It must have been very traumatic.

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