Of JP’s photo collection, few depict a plate (and international oval SP) as rare as his London sighting, circa 1955, of a Morris Oxford MO Traveller, on British Somaliland plates.
As the rear door sports an ADAC badge, we may assume that the car had previously run in Germany, probably on British Zone BZ plates, in which case, the owner was probably an RAF or Army officer many of whom travelled round their foreign postings with their cars…….(more info on this came along. See responses below from Mike Raine and now from Barry Scowen)
The pressed figure ‘8’ is of an unusual design…..
Of the 1941-1960 plate types (of which so few illustrations exists) two prefixes existed – S and SO. There is a suspicion arising that the Italian zone of the the Trusteeship of Somaliland issued SO, and the British zone a simple S. Mega-collector, author and international cymbalist Jim Fox has gathered one of each into his gallery of exotica, beating the sum of the Other Collectors of the World by a factor of two!
Victor Brumby saw SO 5671 in Britain about 1961 on an Austin A50 Cambridge, driven by an English man with a huge Somali lady passenger. Stopped for interview by our spotter on his Triumph bicycle, the business card of the driver gave ‘Mogadiscio’ as his home base – then the capital of Italian Somaliland. The International Circulation Permit (ICP), which temporary imports to GB had to carry in place of a licence disc in those times, read SOM in the ‘Country of Origin’ line. The 5671 plate was painted or stencilled and the car bore no international oval at the rear.
Note that S 815 wears a ‘Visitor To Britain’ window flag, another authorised international motor-visitor accessory for new arrivals to GB in those days. To help with parking wardens, doubtless!
Another photo of S 815 from Mike Raine, up in the Somali highlands.
ABOVE: Here is reader Barry Scowen as a boy in Somaliland with the Morris which is the subject of this Blog page. His father must have been the second or third owner of S 815. See Comments below.
Terra Incognita could describe this benighted ‘country’ from the perspective of collectors. Who knows more?
P.S. These ‘S’ plates of typical British design could just as easily have come from Seychelles, Cyprus, Fiji, Singapore, Mauritius, Southern Rhodesia, Guyana, Bermuda, Trinidad and Barbados! Absolutely identical. Fortunately in those day, car owners usually fitted the international ovals, which helped the perplexed spotter!
Below: Sometime after the Somalilands’ 1960 independence, this Italian-influenced Somalia system commenced:
When the country collapsed into anarchy, few vehicles bore any plates at all!