Myanmar-Burma 2017

February 10, 2017

A side-trip to Myanmar from our base in Kuala Lumpur, via the cheap and excellent airline, Air Asia, gave me the long-awaited opportunity to photo the plates of that backward land.    Burma re-plated in October 2013, changing from all-Burmese script to all-western alphabet, though there are still vehicles running with the original script.    All military vehicles and every type of motorcycle continues with the incomprehensible Burmese only.

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The motorcycle series is unchanged in local script, which in this case reads 34 Ya 44226.

The police continue with Burmese script on motorbikes, but their bigger vehicles switched to the standard new plates, indistinguishable from civilian plates.       See NPW 6H-9883 below.

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Commercial vehicles have always displayed a copy of their registrations along the sides of the vehicle and this is an former-series supplementary reg. J 3280, in Burmese, carried on a lorry with westernised translation  front and rear plates J 3280 (below).    (The only one such seen with mixed script formats.)

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CD-4/6  —  I was surprised to find a CD still carrying previous-series plates –  on an old car.     The new CD type has been extended from only the CD and UN prefix by adding code IO for International Organisations.      No letter-prefix at all would identify non-diplomatic embassy staff – NDES.  (See YGN 1-1020 below.)

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YGN CD 5-5  —  CD code 5 above is from the embassy of Pakistan in Yangon.

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UN plates’ leading numbers indicate a branch of the organisation – see breakdown in RPWO.    UN 15-1 (1=Head of  yet-unidentified Mission 15) seen at Yangon Airport (which is brand new and very impressive to those who arrive expecting a tin hut surrounded by angry generals).

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YGN 1-1020  —  Embassy vehicles without Diplomatic Immunity are issued no-letter-prefix CD-type plates, seemingly starting from serial 1000, and uncoded.     Embassy 1 = USA, on a Toyota minibus.

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YGN IO-1047  —  The new International Organisation plates’ serials commence at 1000.     This vehicle 1047  is attached to a German cultural Institute, though no coding shows on the plate.       Not many of the 2013-srs. plates are made with the horizontal substrate reading RTAD, as this one is, but all plates seem to have the top left and right stamps (as below).

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The least-seen (1!) of the new types was the green ‘foreign gift’ vehicle which in this case was a gift from the Red Cross/Red Crescent, YGN 3J-1815.     Note that all the categories of user take their registration from the single, common pool, so that the next issue after this green plate (3J-1816) could be a red taxi plate, or a black private plate etc.etc.

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Only two of the yellow ReLiGious vehicles were seen, issued for the transport of the many Buddhist monks. Odd code system, to my mind, but a splendid plate YGB RLG-6894…….

 

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This is an unusual ex-Japan Hino bus in that it carries a translation plate YGN G-4617 from the 1950s-2013 series, properly pressed in the latest style.     It was the only one of this type seen.

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Taxi YGN HH-1104  —  Normal bus and taxi plates (PSV) are red and began in 2012-3 with pairs of letters preceding 1-9999.     For no known reason, when AA to HH had been issued, the pairing idea was discontinued and now the Public Service Vehicles are registered in the normal run 1A-1234.         The red background material is fading to dark brown on some of  the earlier plates, which are said to be Chinese-made, so unlikely to be using the 3M non-fade material.      The first of the AA plates were made without the regional code atop the plate (see AA 4160 below).

 

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Taxi AA-4160 — One of the first 2013 new-series PSV plates, pressed without a regional code.

 

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Tourist Taxi YGN 8H-6379  —  Smarter, newer bus and taxi plates coloured blue are for the use of foreign visitors and these may legally accept currency other than the Burmese Kyat (with which so few visitors travel!)     (The rate is about 1750:stg£1 and 1350:US$1 at month-end Jan 2017.)         At last there are street ATM’s in the country and it has become  easier to obtain currency at a fair rate and without showing passports or standing in long, hot queues.

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YGN 7I-6590  —  A foreign-tourist-authorised taxi, registered in the normal NL-NNNN system, but in blue.     Both I and Q are used in Myanmar registrations.

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The normal Private, Police and Government plates are white on black, all taken from the common system and uncoded:

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SHN 3M-9788 is from Shan District – Taunggyi.    Likely to be a government car.

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SGG 2F-3977, a Suzuki from Sagaing region, outside the legendary Strand Hotel on Strand Road in Rangoon/Yangon .

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MDY 4M-4552, from Mandalay, above.

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NPW 6H-9883 is a Napidaw-registered police lorry working in Rangoon, with a number taken from the normal register, and in white on black as for private vehicles.

 

A NEW DISCOVERY!

Heavy trailers have a white-on-red series of their own, previously unrecorded: 1 TLR 4594 at the docks.

burtlr_tlr-4594_2017rangoon-docksvb

burtlr_1tlr-4594_cu_2017rangoon-docksvbThe 6 seen all had painted plates.   For the small run required, it probably isn’t worth manufacturing them…….

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Some bicycles carry a plate at the front: can you translate?

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There are no non-government 2-wheeled vehicles in central Yangon.

We were told that the ban on motorcycles in central Rangoon was brought about by the  sudden recognition by the generals who ran the country (and still run it, but are now out of uniform and in to business suits) of the ease with which a Honda 50cc carrying two unhappy citizens could slide alongside their Landcruisers in the eternal traffic jam of the capital and with a single shot, bring them Early to the Pearly Gates.

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BELOW:    A quiz subject here.    A small m/c with a blue plate.   What is it??

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BELOW:

Here are some examples of vehicles which have not changed their plates to the 2013 format, but instead, have fitted ‘translation plates’ from their old Burmese-script plates.     They are all small-medium commercial vehicles, which may mean something……

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YGN O 7078 – a Land Rover clone.     O, P, Q, S, T & V serial letters were  seen.      The apparent  ‘minder’ of the government yard in which these old commercials was photographed, said that they were ‘Ministry’ vehicles and that he himself was the Minister of Publicity and Public Affairs.      It may have been the local English in which he explained this to me, but I was unconvinced.      I think they are simply old machines which their owners want to keep using, and to do that, the authorities tell them to translate their old plates in to western script, and add the new regional code letters.     All registrations were centrally issued from Rangoon before Burma’s 1948 independence from Britain, and reached RD (from R, RA, RB, and RC) using western script.     In the next years until about 1955, there was a mix of alphabets on plates.  Then the  ‘R’ prefix became lost and only the serial letter was given in that period.  When that alphabet set was exhausted, a serial prefix number was employed, (eg 1-Ya 1234), just as today.     Almost 60 years of Burmese squiggles-only then ensued, until the new, pressed, coloured-coded plates came about in 2012-3.       However, there are brand-new cars circulating in Rangoon, bearing untranslated pre-2012 plates and I can only assume that these are VIPs who can buck the system.     There are also quite a few very grand cars which have had their 2013 plates made up in differing western fonts, materials and sizes, to show themselves up.      As usual around the world, if one is well-connected here, the laws don’t apply…..

 

And from history-man Karel Stoel, a blast from the Burmese past……………

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Jungle stop to exchange info on road conditions, thought to be circa 1938.       Chevrolet LQ bus. RB 1824

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     Gha / 4?53 about 1953 on a Morris J2 half-ton van.

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RD 1802 with CD oval on a 1952 Packard Clipper.    No special format for diplomats then.       This former British-India series for Burma RA-RD  never reached RE in western script, but continued it in Burmese, and slowly dropped the initial ‘R’.     Later, as the single-letter Burmese-alphabet prefixes were used up, a leading serial number was added, and still is used, by motorcycles, which retain Burmese script.

 

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The swansong of Nuffield Group in Burma.    A new Morris Oxford MO gha 2140 and and a Wolseley (6/80?) gha 2235  pose  outside Rangoon’s Shwe Dagon pagoda.     It is probably about 1952 and already the switch to Burmese  ‘squiggles’ is evident.     Due to the ban on imports, 60-year-old cars like these were still running in Burma until about six years ago, but now the slow opening-up of the country is bringing thousands of cheap, used, right-hand-drive cars in from Japan.   Burma drove on the left until the 1970s, and though it now drives on the right of the road, all its vehicles remain right-hand-drive!     There are now some car dealers, but no trade plates were found.

These are the sort of historic pictures the Club has gained from the acquisition of the Stoel albums. Paid-up members who wish to see the progress-to-date made in the scanning and identifications can email me for the hyperlink – which will shortly be generally distributed in any event.

VWB Kuala Lumpur 10.02.17 (and successively amended).

 

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Bechuanaland original series?

July 9, 2015

On the link below, is found a photo which might illustrate a previously-unknown system used in the Bechuanaland Protectorate from the 1920s, possibly to 1935.    No previous reports/photos are known, but the single ‘B’ could well have coded the territory name for all the few registered vehicles.

Any ideas?

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B 141 could be the previously-unknown plate type for the Bechuanaland Protectorate (Botswana from 1966)     1920s Dodge car.

B 141 could be the previously-unknown plate type for the Bechuanaland Protectorate (Botswana from 1966).. 1920s Dodge car.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hannes_steyn/2210292102/in/set-72157603611718163/

 

The above B series was replaced by the BPx type, possibly in 1935, when the country was allocated BP as its International Identification code.

A  Vauxhall Cresta BPD 162, seen in GB during 1969, carries the BP-prefixed white-on-black plates which ran from (possibly)1937-1967, when black-on-yellow    was introduced.   This Hillman Avenger was phot'd in London  in 1969.    Brumby archive

A Vauxhall Cresta BPD 162, seen in GB during 1969, carries the BP-prefixed white-on-black plates which ran from (possibly) 1935-1966, when the ‘P’ was dropped from the registration.   (e.g BPD became BD).      Brumby archive

This Hillman Avenger was phot'd in London in 1976, using the new yellow plates, otherwise unchanged.     Brumby archive

BD 2198  ..  This Hillman Avenger was photo’d in London in 1976, using the new (from about 1974) yellow plates, otherwise system unchanged.   D=Gaberones, the capital.     (The oval changed from BP to RB (Republic of Botswana) in 1967, then to BW in 2003.)      Brumby archive

RB -1935-67

RB -1967-2003

BW - 2003 >

BW – 2003 >

*************************NAMIBIA

Whilst in Southern Africa, some January 2015 photos of the first-noted Namibian vanity plate, were taken at Eland’s Bay, Western Cape.

EXOTIC 1 NA, the first-noted Namibian vanity plate.

EXOTIC 1 NA, the first-noted Namibian vanity plate.    Brumby archive

EXOTICA 1 NA from Namibia 2015

EXOTICA 1 NA from Namibia 2015       Brumby archive

Namibian flag on plate

Namibian flag on vanity plate

Thought to be used between 1915 - 1990, when Namibia became independent of South Africa.

Used from 1990, when Namibia became independent of South Africa.

The South-West Africa international oval which applied until independence from South Africa in 1990 .  NAM thereafter.

The South-West Africa international oval which applied until independence from South Africa in 1990.    NAM thereafter.         Brumby archive

A period pic from Janko's Plateworld, given as 1950, with K from Keetmkanshoop - car 7!

A period pic from Janko’s Plateworld, given as 1950, with K from Keetmkanshoop – car 7!

 

*************************SWAZILAND SNIPPETS

 

Another historic picture from the Southern African zone, is SD 6018 from the 1922-79 Swaziland series.   This Mk1 Ford Cortina was photographed in  Britain in the 1960s. These plates were made for SD in ZA.

Another historic picture from the Southern African zone, is SD 6018 from the 1922-79 Swaziland series. This Mk1 Ford Cortina was photographed in Britain in the 1960s.
These plates were made for SD in ZA.      Brumby archive

Seen in Cape Town in June 2015, a new series of Swaziland Government plates, emulating the South African red digits for state vehicles.  Swazi plates have always been made for them bu South Africa.   SG is Swazi govt. and PO is for the Police.

Seen in Cape Town in June 2015, a new series of Swaziland Government plates, emulating the South African red digits for state vehicles. Swazi plates have always been made for them by South African manufacturers.    GSD is Swazi Govt. and PO is for the Police.    Taken by Lester Day

Another Swazi Government issue, coded PR for the Prisons Dept.     Lester Day photo 2015.

Another Swazi Government issue, coded PR for the Prisons Dept. Lester Day photo 2015.

A normal current Swazi plate type commencing 2010, in which Q 795 B is the registration, SD the country i/d and M codes Manzini district.            Brumby archive 2015

A normal current Swazi plate type from the series commencing 2010, in which Q 795 B is the registration, SD the country i/d and M codes Manzini district.           Expiry 2017 indicates that car tax covers more than a year,,,,       Brumby archive 2015

The eccentric Swazi King Mswati runs a fleet of grand cars  just as you would if you were left in charge of the nations' wallet.   Here is one of his vanity plates on his R-R Silver Spur.    anon

The eccentric Swazi King Mswati runs a fleet of grand cars just as you would if you were left in charge of the nations’ wallet.     Here is one of his vanity plates on his R-R Silver Spur.    The central Lion sometimes faces left, sometimes right, possibly according to the political set of his ever-changing aid donors.          anon

Windscreen-mounted tax discs are used in Swaziland by those who can afford them.     Brumby archive

Windscreen-mounted tax discs are used in Swaziland by those who can afford them.    The expression ‘Clearance Certificate’ is unusual.           HSD 305 AM                Brumby archive

 

 


African Oddities

November 22, 2013

African checkout

A recent run round southern, central and northern Africa unearthed a few unexpected plate sightings, which Bloggers may like to share.     A car-park in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga (formerly Northern Transvaal) presented the remarkable photo opportunity to compare the latest Mozambique plate with the current MP local plate.     The background colours of the MOC Maputo Province help to identify them from the mainly black on white South African MP series – but remembering that the two places share a national border, it does seem odd that such similar formats were adopted.

Mpumulanga at left and Mozambique (Maputo Province to the right.

MP and MP  –  Mpumulanga at left and Mozambique (Maputo Province) to the right.

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The ZANZIBAR Post from this trip  is already up on the Blog and the ETHIOPIAN page will come shortly.

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BELOW:  Non. 2013.    Just leaving Zanzibar for Ethiopia, I glimpsed a new Range Rover parked off-road  in a secure compound, carrying a quite new plate type,     T 312 CCI  .    Unusually, the guards on the gate  didn’t display the usual paranoia and let me slip in to get a shot.    Later, The Venerable Neil found a Google reference to CCI  under  http://www.homeless-international.org, which seems to pin this hundred-thousand-dollar car to a homeless persons’ charity in Tanzania.     Nice design, anyway.

T 312 CCI  -  Identified by Neil Parker and Google, as an NGO in Tanganyika.

T 312 CCI – Identified by Neil Parker and Google, as an NGO in Tanganyika.

ETHIOPIA

One of the first oddities seen in Addis Ababa – and not surrounded by spooks – was this military vehicle with a good condition plate.

Ethiopian Defence Force 2013

Ethiopian Defence Force 2013

At the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie, now the University Ethnological museum in Addis, was a photo of his 1940s Ford V-8 convertible, on Harar plates.    A rotten shot of an old photo, but a rare image of an Abyssinian plate of the period – and from a jurisdiction other than  the capital.

HA 14ll - The characteristic font of early Ethiopian plates.....

HA 1411 – The characteristic font of early Ethiopian plates…..

(ETH 36-41)_HA 1411_cu_VBmuseum2013

BELOW:    This was a costly shot.     A plate seen up a side-street,  from the corner of my eye, through the vibrating window of my 17th.-century LADA taxi,  I commanded my driver to stop for a photo-opportunity, believing it to be a Saudi plate in Addis Ababa.    Up-close, the delight at identifying my first current-system Sudani was unbounded!

However, a bod in a dish-dash thought there might be a security issue with a western pensioner flashing his camera at a parked car, and with many a warning in Amharic (which is not a strong card in my pack of languages) and much waving of his night-stick, he did all he could to obstruct my photo-capture.       Within a few minutes, the local police force was upon me, sporting their side arms and arresting both myself and my poor cab-driver, who had come over to try to spring me.

Frog-marched a kilometre or so across some open waste ground  we reached the police station, a few ramshackle tents with an open fire for the ubiquitous Ethiopian coffee pot.   Officers of ever-increasing rank were brought to judge me and my ridiculous story and none were convinced of the innocence of our noble pursuit, although they couldn’t quite see what we might be up to.   Eventually, in a fit of diplomatic legerdemain, I presented them with an opportunity to release us without loss of face – or  paying the usual dash which overcomes all in most places.    I can’t remember how.

Here, then, for your amusement, is the result of that hour’s investment in time and fear.    (Noting that the ‘4’ is the 100,000’s prefix to the serial no. 22477, making this Khartoum car 422477, isn’t it unbelievable that this poorest of all countries should have registered so many cars in the four years this series has been extant?  Over a hundred-thousand a year!!!!)

(SUD 2009~)_4 KH 22477_cu_VB2013

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Meanwhile, other snippets from recent times and varied sources:

(AFG 74-04)(ndes)_M 673_f_weeTG

Mowqati’ 673KBL  –  (temporary/foreigner) in Afghanistan between 1974 and 2004.   Among the users of this plate type, were non-diplomatic embassy staff.       Note this Merc 180, seen in UK, sports an overseas AA badge, once a frequent sighting on used imports to GB.        Terry Gray archive.

Here is a typical overseas British Automobile Association radiator badge of the type created for all or most of the Commonwealth countries.

Here is a typical overseas British Automobile Association radiator badge of the type created for all or most of the Commonwealth countries.   These make a good collector’s subject.     Brumby archive

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The new dip. through the windscreen in Belgium during September 2013.      Brumby archive

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Mike Oldham saw this Tamil Nadu in Cyprus during October 2013!!!

Someone important in Malaya.

United Nations in Afghanistan, but identical to other theatres of operation, too.

UN 00438  –  United Nations in Afghanistan, but identical to other theatres of UN operation, too……..     Brumby archive

here's a pretty similar UN in Sudan...

UN 334  –  ……..here’s a pretty similar UN in Sudan…

Historic corner

This Austin A35 circa 1960, hails from Northern Rhodesia.   L and 3 numbers in the GB style could just as easily come from Aden or Cyprus, or Fiji or Labuan.....

L 219  –  This Austin A30 circa 1958, hails from Livingstone, then Northern Rhodesia and now Zambia.      In the 1950s,  L and 3 numbers in this GB style could just as easily have come from Aden or Cyprus, or Fiji or Labuan!

For example:

Another Austin, an A40 model, retired to an outdoor museum in Kota Kinabual, Sabah, but sporting 1960s plates from Labuan Island.

Another Austin, an A40 model, retired to an outdoor museum in Kota Kinabulu, Sabah, but sporting 1960s plates from Labuan Island.

Four numbers this time, but three were issued in Aden Colony in the 1960s.

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A Keith Marvin Aden  image from his 1960 book, 'License (sic) Plates of the World' - possibly the first volume dedicated to xeno-autonumerology!

A Keith Marvin Aden image from his 1963 *book, ‘License (sic) Plates of the World’ – possibly the first volume dedicated to xeno-autonumerology!

Ah – AND Turkish Northern Cyprus (still current)

(CYN2)(83-97)_L 312_weeVB

Keith Marvin's rare book, which brought mant worldwide collectors to each others notice, and helped to form associations.

 *Keith Marvin’s rare book, which brought many worldwide collectors to each other’s notice, which in turn,  helped to form long-standing associations.   A famed and very prolific writer on automobilia in the US, he died only about 2011, aged over 90.

AUF WIEDERSEHEN……….


Spotting notes from 1956/58 (No.2)

June 13, 2013

The second and third tranches of John Pemberton’s plate records cover the years 1956 Aug. to 1958 Aug.    Many extra details have been added to John’s basic entries of these selected from about 5,000 total entries for those years – but if  any reader can add details which are not yet showing, or correct errors, that will help to improve the science!     Even plate colours would be of interest in some cases.    Please just  ‘Comment’  below.

The selections were made from the thousands noted,  based on rarity at the time, interesting numbers, or unusual vehicles, but are otherwise arbitrary.      As European plates were predominant in John’s sightings, only odd examples and unusual series have been selected for these sheets.       We hope you will enjoy delving into these pages of history!

Copy these links in to your browser to view.    (Printable)

 

In this 1956-58 batch of  plates, two of the records which JP notes were also seen by EU38  and captured on film – quite a coincidence, you may agree.    Here are those common sightings:

Buick Eight in London during 1958, also noted by member Pemberton.   Brumby archive

55559 – Lebanese Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight in London during June 1958, was also noted by member Pemberton in July 1958.                    Brumby archive

When I saw this, I had to visit the library to find out where 'Aruba' was to be found on an atlas!.    Some weeks after seeing the Ford 100E Anglia at Hyde Park Corner, I saw VXD 44 parked in Fulham from the top of my RT double-decker.     Swiftly dismounting, I hunted the owner, in the sure belief it was the Aruban, recently re-registered in Britain.   It was, and the amused owner handed me one of his plates, which I still value among the most unusual plates in my collection.

When I saw A-6147  passing me, I was flummoxed.     I had to visit the library to find out where ‘Aruba’ was to be found on an atlas!   Some weeks after seeing it on the grey Ford 100E Anglia at Hyde Park Corner, I saw, from the top deck of my passing double-decker, an identical car bearing shiny, brand-new VXD 44 British plates, parked in Fulham.    Swiftly dismounting, I hunted the owner within nearby houses, in the sure belief it was the Aruban car, recently re-registered in Britain.   It  WAS – the previous week – and the amused owner handed me one of his Netherlands Antilles plates, which I still value among the most unusual plates in my collection.     Sadly, no picture ‘on the car’.       Brumby archive.

SUDAN
On the same day A-6147 was first sighted, I made another ‘country-catch’ on Ford Consul Mk.1 A 4167, which carried a cast-alloy black ET oval with ‘Anglo-Egyptian Sudan‘  printed round the perimeter.   (How bizarre that the registration was an anagram of the Aruban Ford! )    John Pemberton also saw this vehicle on another day visiting London, but neither of us got photos, unfortunately – particularly as the ‘A’ registration format did not match what I know of Sudan plates of the period.   Any thoughts?

There were to be several more joint sightings as the years progressed, which we will share with you as the Pages proceed…….


Terry Gray’s old slides found!

June 12, 2013

UPDATE 21-12-14

Terry Gray has located the pictures he took on colour transparency film from the 1960s/70s!     They were thought to have been lost in a house move, 30 years ago….

Your Blogmeister rushed them to                          www.corriejeffrey.com

in Southampton, who speedily transmogrified them into digital pictures which now we can all see – providing we have access to a computer….       This is another wonderful event for Europlate and platesmen worldwide, as a few more rare images of extinct series appear unexpectedly before us, on the Europlate Blog!

What with the recently-released photo gallery of John Pemberton, and now his notated spottings from 1954 (more to come) and the slow release(!) of Bernt Larsson’s early shots, the Gray archive becomes our latest link with the past days of xeno-autonumerology.      Many thanks to T.G. – early member (number 9)  for clearing the attic!

A taste of the period Terry covered, without editor’s notes:    (Later – a request has been received for picture notes to be added, so keep visiting the Page and you should see it happen progressively, starting now.)

(RUS)(SU)_05-10 ABT_TG_resize

David Powell explains:
I am fairly sure that the USSR plates with an ABT suffix were manufacturers’ plates for an organization called Autoexport who managed the export of Moskvich cars and vans.

Cedric Sabine adds:  The 1959 Soviet ABT series was for any vehicle travelling out of country and was issued by Moscow city. So, the export Moskvich cars would indeed have got them but other vehicles did too.

VB:  That would explain why Terry Gray pictured the Moskvich team in London, preparing for the start of the London-Mexico Rally in 1970.

 

 

(TN)(56-70s)(for)(UN)_FT 1142_TG_resize

FT was the first prefix used in Tunisia after independence from France,in 1956, at which it had to establish a series for foreign residents, including diplomats in the new embassies in Tunis.    In this case, a member of the UN (ONU) had been accorded diplomatic status, to receive this plate.     FT abbreviated ‘Franchise Temporaire’ (Temporary Licence); such vehicles were allowed to enter Tunisia free of local duties, because they were to be re-exported at the end of the owners’ tours of duty. FT is thought to have run from 1956 to sometime in the 1970s.     Blogman knows only of FT 3 and FT 1142 which have been photographed in service.    Anyone else got a picture??  Terry Gray archive

June 25th.2013  Member Cedric Sabine writes that he has more pictures of this rare Tunisian FT plate series; we have asked if we might have his pictures to further illustrate this item……

21-2014       THANKS, CEDRIC!   What a batch!!

(TN 56-65)(for.res-cc)_FT 743_r_  longMV4-KM book 1963 (TN 56-65)(for.res-cd-GB)_FT 3_cu_VB (ex GB ambassador 1956) (TN 56-65)(for.res-cd)_FT 149_cur_ long pressedYL1 (TN 56-65)(for.res-cd)_FT 728-CS (TN 56-65)(for.res-cd)_FT 1940  CS1968) (TN 56-65)(for.res)_149_cuf_YL2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA (TN 56-65)(for.res)_FT 718  longMV1 (red-white maybe) (photo 1968) (TN 56-65)(for.res)_FT 1938 HSexJF

 

 

(StH)_669_TG

This Triumph Toledo(?) has been to Saint Helena and back(!), and was photographed in Northamptonshire on its Helenan 669 plates.    St. Helena has also been seen with an SH prefix.         The owners were British government officers involved in the administration of the Territory, and their cars were returned at the conclusion of their duty there..

 

 

(SYR)(psv)_2480_TH_resize

SYR 2480.    Between the 1950s and the 1970s, red plates in Syria were issued to public service vehicles including buses, which is what TG photographed in London in the early 1970s. Serials 2001-12000 were issued to Damascus. Long trip!

 

 

(SOM)_16564_ c_TG_resize

16564. One of very few 1960-1970s Somalian plates seen was photographed – also in Northamptonshire -on a Mk 3 Ford Cortina, circa 1974. These were oddly well-made plates for such a backward territory; perhaps they were made for them by an international aid process – possibly Italian, as the former colonial power?      In recent decades, the few Somalian vehicles seen in news broadcasts have generally run without bearing plates, as no registration system exists.     Breakaway Puntland (1998), Galmudug (2006) and Somaliland (1996) have established their own systems (see RPWO).

 

 

Somalia mini front plate, a la Italiano.

Somalia mini front plate, a la Italiano.

 

 

(SD)_SD 8016_TG_resize

SD 8016 is from the original Swaziland series running from the 1920s to 1979. This Mk. 1 Ford Cortina was seen near Brackley, England, during the 1960s.

 

 

(S)(trans)_M 4221_TG_resize

From 1937 to ?, these white on red Swedish plates were issued to vehicles temporarily imported.          Terry Gray saw this Fiat in Europe in the 1970s, carrying a normal Swedish plate of the period underneath.

 

 

The unusual sighting of this old Swedish tourist import plate was at a Morris Minor rally in Oxfordshire in June 2013!      (Brumby archive)

The unusual sighting of this old Swedish tourist import plate was at a Morris Minor rally in Oxfordshire in June 2013!                  (Brumby archive)

 

 

(RSM)(pol)_RSM 0013_c_TG_resize

San Marino issued special plates to the city police in different sizes for cars and motorbikes.     A poor shot, unfortunately, but it must be kept for posterity, as so few were issued and ever fewer were photographed….. (Gray archive)

 

 

(RCL)_T.9895_TG_resize

From 1958, while still the Belgian Congo, this Belgium-manufactured (Howoco?) series was introduced.     It continued from 1960 independence under the re-named ‘Rep. of Congo (Leopoldville)’ (oval RCL).      If this were a  Congo Belge (CB)-issue, the T would mean it came from Kasai province, but after 1960, the regional codes became simple serial letters.     Later two letters with three numbers LL-NNN superseded these L-NNNN plates. The provenance of this picture is presently unknown. (Gray archive)

 

 

(RA)_B 131859_TG_resize

From the 1960s to 1995, Argentina’s first countrywide series was issued, with a letter for the State and a up to 6 numerals.      B 131859 is from Buenos Aires (county).      Somewhat dull, in white on black, but a rare sight outside Argentina.      This Peugeot 404 in an odd colour is probably a car manufactured under licence in (RA), where a different colour range was available.                        (Gray archive 1970 London)

Yves Laussecq Comments below:

Regarding the 404 PEUGEOT picture, I’m quite sure it was the vehicle of Gaston Perkins during the 1970 LONDON-MEXICO rally

 

 

(R)(cd)_CD 442_r_TG_resize

Member pseudonym’d  ‘BlackVolga’  identifies the smart oval plate in red and black on white, CD 442 as for Roumania Diplomatic Corps from 1968 to  1992.      On a BMW 2000 ‘Touring’, a fine-looking car in its day.                (Gray archive)

These and hundreds of others were taken in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s and captured by Terry as slide transparencies, which are difficult to view except by old projectors, but  give a very clear and well-coloured image, when converted to computer  files (.jpg).

Any readers who have slides, might consider their conversion thus; the lady Corrie who did these being highly recommended AND economical!

More to follow in later Posts.    Updated 15062013


Singapore 2013 checkover

April 19, 2013

SINGAPORE

April 2013.

Singapore’s plates continue as shown in RPWO and a wide variety of colours and codes are enough to keep a keen spotter occupied for some long time.     Two of the outer islands have been allocated their own plates – Sentosa and Ubin – and these cannot be used on the ‘mainland’ of Singapore.      If they must go over there, for repairs etc., they will carry SGP trade plates for the journey.

Sentosa’s colourful plates have been known to us since about 1998.

(SGP3)(Sentosa)(mc)_RU 1115Y_VB_resize

This Vespa RU 1115 Y is one of few two-wheelers registered on Sentosa.     Brumby archive 1987.

RU 2424 Z is the Restricted Use plate for Sentosa Island, a hundred metres off Singapore's coast.

RU 2424 Z is the Restricted Use plate for Sentosa Island, a hundred metres off Singapore’s coast.    Brumby archive 1987

The Sentosa Development Corporation, whatever that is, has a few buses, which are allowed on and off the islet, and have a special SDC code issued!

SDC 26 M is one of the island buses, registered on the 'mainland'     Brumby archive

SDC 26 M is one of the island buses, registered on the ‘mainland’ .              Brumby archive 1987

 

UBIN

But we have only recently become aware of the special plate colour given to the few vehicles on Pulau Ubin (Ubin Island), which is a mile off the North-East coast of Singapore, by Changi airport.     The island is lightly populated by fishermen and kampong farmers and has completely escaped the rapid advance to the six-star first-world status now enjoyed by the Republic of SGP.     There are about ten mopeds on Ubin, of which half still work and about 15 minibuses, which carry the islanders and some of the weekend visitors along the narrow island roads to various camping sites and hiking/cycling trails, for which Ubin has become a popular, rat-race getaway.

(SGP3)(Ubin)_PU 4 P_VB2013_resize

The fourth motor vehicle registered on Ubin Island is a Honda moped, still in running order, PU 4 P.                                             Brumby archive 2013

(SGP3)(Ubin)_PU 104 J_cuf_VB2013

One travels to Ubin by bum-boat, for 3 ringgit ($1US) which takes fifteen people at a time on old vessels which you would not expect to be still in service, but which are the pride and joy of their rough-looking but friendly owners.     Since registrations started on Ubin, perhaps in 2000, and originally only for a few small motorbikes which had previously run plateless, about 135 total registrations have been made, of which perhaps 15 to 20 remain in use.    The system is that of the Singapore mainland, using the PU area code, a serial number (current highest 137) , and a check digit, all in white on a pea-green background.

One of the island minibuses, PU 102 P.     Brumby archive

One of the Ubin island minibuses, PU 102 P.                       Brumby archive 2013

PU 130 H is just seven off the highest number on Pulau Ubin, the. latest minibus being PU 137.      Note that all the plates are properly made, even though this island is quite primitive.... Brumby archive

PU 130 H is just six off the highest number on Pulau Ubin, the latest minibus seen, being PU 137.       Note that all the plates are properly made, even though this island is quite primitive….
Brumby archive 2013

There are a few special purpose vehicles on Ubin, such as Police Land-Rovers and a couple of biggish lorries for construction jobs, and as these are there temporarily, they retain their normal Singaporean plates.

QX 5045 K is a standard Singapore police plate, coded by the QX.    This is one of two allocated to the island - surely an easy posting for the island coppers!      Brumby archive

QX 5045 K is a standard Singapore police plate, coded by the special code QX. This is one of two allocated to Ubin island – surely an easy posting for the island coppers!                               Brumby archive 2013

 

Singapore Specials

The SGP government is sponsoring experimentation in clean/non-emission vehicles and has allocated a dedicated ‘Research and Development’ numberplate to the handful of cars being tested on the island.

A Renault experimental electric car RD 3073 K, one of two seen at the Renault distributor in SGP.  Brumby archive

A Renault experimental electric car RD 3073 K, one of two seen at the Renault distributor in SGP.   April 2013.                                    Brumby archive 2013

RD 6096 A is carried on a Mitsubishi minicar and has a 100km range, recharging 80%  in 20 minutes.   It says here.     Brumby archive.

RD 6096 A is carried on a Mitsubishi minicar and has a 100km range, recharging 80% in 20 minutes.   It says here.         Brumby archive 2013.

There may be up to 50 vehicles on test, each of which is connected by wifi signal to a central office, in which its location, performance, battery-condition, range etc is transmitted every 5 seconds for analysis.

This category uses such high numbers that they must be split in some way, perhaps the first two or three numerals indicating a code for the few participating bodies in the experimentation.    Certainly there are not more than a hundred of  these low-emission category vehicles in the whole country, so 6096 seems optimistic….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is of mild interest to note that Singapore vehicle owners can choose for themselves whether they plate their vehicles with the original silver/white on black plates, fore and aft, or Euro-style black on white (front) and yellow (rear).     About 20% favour white on black, I estimate.

Light goods vehcle codes seen here with both plate colour options.     Brumby archive

Light goods vehicle code G seen here with both plate colour options.         Brumby archive 2013

TR – Singapore trailers are now up to TRE, having exhausted TR and  TRA to TRD.

Another unusual SGP variant is the recently-adopted orange background to distinguish lorries wh.ich carry hazardous cargo, such as fuel and chemicals.     These cannot enter tunnels and need to advise police and fire when they need to access certain zones of the island.   The Y starter letter tells us that the truck exceeds 3 tonnes unladen; the M is serial.      Brumby archive.

YM 942 S – Another unusual SGP variant is the recently-adopted orange background to distinguish lorries which carry hazardous cargo, such as fuel and chemicals. These cannot enter tunnels and need to advise police and fire when they plan to access certain zones of the island.    The Y starter letter tells us that the truck exceeds 3 tonnes unladen; the M is serial.        Brumby archive 2007.

SH – Taxis have progressed to SHA, SHB and now to SHC.

SHA 5376 H is the Singapore Hire code with suffix serial A, on a typically smart, clean, new car, a credit to the taxi fleets.    Brumby archive.

SHA 5376 H is the Singapore Hire code with suffix serial A, on a typically smart, clean, new car, a credit to the taxi fleets.         Brumby archive 2013.

New private cars are up to SKJ, having jumped SH (kept for psv’s) and SI (‘I’ never used) and having presumably used up SJA-Z (though not seen).

 

Odd Chauffeur-drive/Private Hire possiblity.

We have believed that the special series for hire cars, SZ and SZA, had been long abandoned.   But now e find SZA 8 R, from the  current series on a chauffeur-driven/livery Mercedes, outside the Copthorne Waterfront hotel.   When questioned the driver claimed it was just a standard plate issued alphabetically in the normal series, but we know that Singapore is nowhere near 'S' inits alpha issue.   So perhaps there are a few (note this is only car 8) special-category registrations continuing to use the SZ prefix.     This was the only example seen.     (Brumby archive 2013)

We have believed that the special series for hire cars, SZ and SZA, had been long abandoned. But now we find SZA 8 R, from the current series, on a chauffeur-driven/livery Mercedes, outside the Copthorne Waterfront hotel. When questioned, the driver claimed it was just a standard plate issued alphabetically in the normal series, but we know that Singapore is nowhere near ‘SZ‘ in its alpha issue.      So perhaps there are a few (note this is only car 8) special-category registrations continuing to use a version of the old SZ hire/rental prefix.   (This was the only example seen.)    Brumby archive 2013

Here is SZ (Singapore Rental-Hire) carried on a new Toyota in 1968, seen at Singapore docks.     Brumby archive 1968

Here is SZ (Singapore Rental-Hire) carried on a new Toyota in 1968, seen at Singapore docks.                       Brumby archive 1968

680224 3 _4532TT25 at docks_resize

The only other SGP hirecar plate I ever saw was on this Vauxhall Victor, SZ 1779, also at the docks in 1968, alongside the Peugeot 4532 TT 25 which we drove back to Britain over four months.         Brumby archive 1968

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A very rare sight in Singapore is the semi-diplomatic plate allocated to foreign technical aid personnel.    TE is the suffix code for these ‘Technical Expert’ vehicles and this BMW 525 example is coded 36 for the Philippines.

S 3682 TE is a semi-diplomatic plate for foreign technical aid personnel.   Brumby archive

S 3682 TE is a semi-diplomatic plate for foreign Technical Experts personnel.   36 is used by the Philippine embassy.         Brumby archive 2012

The Consular Corps variant is also hardly-seen, but Taiwan had code 66 in this category (photographed there in 1993, so possibly not current).

Taiwan's mission code 66 seen on a Volvo given Consular, rather than diplomatic recognition, presumably due to pressure from PRC to sideline the territory they hope to recover some day.     Brumby archive.

Taiwan’s foreign-mission code 66 seen on a Volvo 240, given Consular, rather than Diplomatic recognition, presumably due to pressure from PRC to sideline the Formosa territory they vainly hope to recover some day.        Brumby archive 1993.

Motorcycles exhausted their two-letter FA-FZ prefix codes some time ago and current registrations, for every size of  2-wheeled bike, has re-started from FAA…..     Note that, against the trend, SGP still requires a front plate to be displayed, either double-sided along the front mudguard or a forward-facing plate adhering to the faring.

Examples of motorbike front plate mounting positions.    Brumby archive

Examples of motorbike front plate mounting positions.     Brumby archive 2013

The current motorcycle format now uses two serial letters, the leading F, designating 2-wheelers.    Brumby archive

The current motorcycle format now uses two serial letters, the leading F, designating 2-wheelers.                          Brumby archive 2013

There is an auxiliary police orce,it seems, but they use normal private m/c plates.  FBA 6232 B.     Brumby archive.

There is an auxiliary police force,it seems, but they use normal private m/c plates, as FBE 5246 A.                              Brumby archive 2013.

The author’s first visit to Singapore was in 1966, when the vast majority of the vehicles were made in Britain, from motorcycles to double-deckers.     I still enjoy finding the leftovers from that period and recognise that many owners are very proud of their cars, which are now collectors’ items!

A well-restored MG TC sporting the special, low-tax plates of the approved vintage and veteran cars and bikes in Singapore.    SCL 69 D is a normal registration issue, and it is the plate colour which gives the privileged status.    Brumby archive.

A well-restored MG TC(?) sporting the special, low-tax plates of the approved vintage and veteran cars and bikes in Singapore.    SCL 69 D is a normal registration issue, and it is the plate colouring which gives the privileged status.                                Brumby archive 2008.

 

Singapore Historic

 

About 1960, many British Army, Navy and Air Force personnel served in Singapore and it was a period of very heavy registrations, as most  purchased a car there or duty-free at home, to take out.    This Austin A40 Farina belonged to a Wing-Commander, whose daughter June, modelling here, now dwells in Ottery St, Mary and makes jam for the W.I.     Brumby archive.

SS 9806.   A plate from the former series.       About 1960, many British Army, Navy and Air Force personnel served in Singapore and it was a period of very many new registrations, as most of them purchased a car there – (or duty-free at home, to take out and register there).    This Austin A40 Farina belonged to a Wing-Commander, whose daughter June, modelling here, now dwells in Ottery St, Mary and makes jam for the Womens’ Institute.                Brumby archive-June Harvey.

Finally, a photo which has materialised recently is certainly worth display.     Here is Singapore’s eighth car looking as  if it had just come off the ship from the Britton* motor factory in England.    Unusually for a British territory, Singapore used a dash or dot separator from inception to the mid-1930s; S-8 favours the dash.      The driver was known in those times, out east, as a syce – an archaic term for a horse-carriage driver/groom, which carried on into the age of the car.

*I can find no reference to the Britton marque after a quick search……..

S-8, among the very first automobiles to reach the Straits Settlement of Singapore, in 1911.    anon.

S-8, a Britton, among the very first automobiles to reach the Straits Settlement of Singapore, in 1911.     (No details seems to survive of this marque.)                   anon.

...and to conclude, another elegant car from another of the Straits Settlements, Penang no. 64n, the car of the Chief of Police there in the early 1900s.     June Bennett

…and to conclude, another elegant car from another of the Straits Settlements, Penang no. 64n, the car of the Chief of Police there in the early 1910s.     It may be a Stutz Bearcat.                       June Bennett

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Djibouti

April 8, 2013

Non-member collector André Mas has been hoarding odd items most of his life and amongst other things, has accumulated a prodigious collection of rare numberplates which the writer photographed in France 06 a few years ago.    André  had found a rare Citroen DS21 Déesse Décapotable rotting in a yard in Djibouti whilst he worked there and he determined to repatriate it for restoration in UK.

It continued to sport it’s Djibouti État registration E 43.    He found that it had been brought to the French territory as a conveyance for President de Gaulle’s official visit and had been fitted with a sturdy balance rail across the rear passenger well, to stabilise the tall general, should a rebel chase ensue around the backstreets of Djibouti Town.      It was André who obtained/had made the international oval DJI – perhaps the only one in existence?    Ever?

The restored Citroen, registered in Belgium; with the unique DJI oval.   Brumby archive

The restored Citroen E 43, by then registered in Belgium; with the unique DJI oval. Brumby archive

This Djibouti Page begs some questions:

Has any member, or known source, a picture of the French Somaliland colonial plates which preceded independence in 1967?

And pictures from the 1967-77 period when it was titled the Territoire Francaise des Affars et Issas?

And why were so many Djibouti plates manufactured in a style faithful to the British design as witness the following

plates André brought back from his tour there?:

(DJI) DSC_0167

From 1960 to about 1970, the final numeral (the ‘9‘ in 849 D ‘9‘ below) was a year-of-issue marker – thus this plate is thought to be a 1969 issue.     From 1970 the latter 2 numerals (possibly starting with 11 rather than 10) were simply thousand counters as normally given in prefix (11 123).    (Why not just print 11123??)     Morocco also used this dating scheme with its TT plates during the 50-70s, but it gave rise to duplication (1955/65/75).

Thus the multiples above were post-1970,  whereas 849 D 9, below, is pre-1970 (1969).

(DJI2)('69)_849D9_cu_VBpl

VB’s own 1969 plate 849 D 9

(DJI2)(exp)_729TT_cu_MasplVB

The Mas collection includes the rare Djibouti temporary/duty-free import 729 TT (undated, but from the 1960s/70s).                           (Mas)

The only Djibouti ever seen by the writer was this little NSU Prinz coupe, in London in the early 1960s, the '4' in its registration probably indicating 1964 validity.

The only Djibouti ever seen by the writer was this little NSU Prinz coupe, in London in the early 1960s, the ‘4’ in its 271 D 4 registration indicating 1964 validity.     Brumby archive

But member Ivan 'Nip' Thornley saw an Austin 1800 in Northamptonshire in the 1970s, carrying  handsome, British-made, Djibouti, CD plates, 15 CMD 1 !      Nowadays embassy 15 is China, and I doubt whether GB has any diplomatic link with Djibouti.     I would seem from this photo that once, 15 had been for GB.     Thornley archive

But member Ivan ‘Nip’ Thornley saw an Austin 1800 in Northamptonshire (GB) in the late 1970s, carrying handsome, British-made, Djibouti, CD plates,             15 CMD 1 !      Nowadays embassy 15 is China, and I doubt whether GB has any diplomatic link with Djibouti.    It would seem from the car model and location of sighting, that once, 15 had been for the GB embassy.      The country became independent of France in 1977, so the Djibouti CD series would not have appeared until after that.        Thornley archive

 

LABOUR OF LOVE

Djibouti was the subject of my most costly contribution to my hobby.     Deciding to go somewhere really unusual for a week or so in the 1980s, and knowing an exec. in a hotel group, I picked the former French Somaliland, where he ran a grand pension in which he granted me a room.     It may have been the only building in Djibouti with more than one floor.      Travelling via the French third-world aerodrome of Le Bourget, from London, my flight touched down at midnight in the North Sahara, and I was one of four westerners on a flight carrying about 20 people.      The locals melted away into the hot night, with no visible checks through customs or immigration but we Euros were challenged for our visas.     I had established that no visa was required, before leaving London.     The other three Brits were old hands.    They worked for British Telecom, which maintained the Djibouti phone system, and were frequent visitors to fix equipment which was eternally being fiddled with by unknown hands.    Something untoward happened every time they tried to enter or leave and they were inured to procrastination.

In the francophone exchange which ensued, it transpired that foreigner visa requirements had changed in the previous weeks/months, but the team of  former cameleers eventually admitted that since the change of rules, they had not yet been able to afford to advise The World At Large of the changes.    Naturally, The Rule still applied, however – the prophet be praised.    Our techmen demanded to speak to their special mate, the Minister of Telecomms, who would spring them from that dusty, hot  tent – along with me, whom they had now kindly decided to adopted as their bag-carrier/general factotem.   I would be borne through under their general laissez-passer.

The Minister was run to ground under some ladies in the Tin Palm Nite Club at 2 a.m. and BT hailed him familiarly as ‘Jacko’ as he sportingly took the telephone call with his free hand.     Having heard their problem described, he told them to pass their phone to his mate, the chief of customs and immigration, the official with the least grubby blanket swathing him from head to dusty foot.    A noisy one-way tirade took place at the ear-piece, after which an embarrassed ‘Welcome to Djibouti’ was profferred to the technicians by the assembled group of customs and immigration bods, who, on reflection, did rather look to be out of it on Qat, their sharia-cleared drug of choice..

They were not convinced that I had the credentials to climb telegraph poles, however, and despite the protests of the might of  BT,  I was held back for private interview.      Failing to recognise the encouraging signals emitted by third-world power-brokers, I was eventually formally refused entry at 0300 and told to go back out on the returning morning flight, and come again with a visa some time.

Predictably, I never went back, and I never got even one photograph of a Djibouti plate, though I did see a red TT plate with arabic on the tarmac tanker, when we were taxi-ing.      The French aircrew had all stayed a refreshing night at the same grand hotel to which I had been bound, and were amused at my plight.     I think I was the only departing passenger on UTA from the Horn that dawn.

It was in the pub that night, back in Buckinghamshire, recalling my wasted couple of days, that everybody asked “Why didn’t you just give them baksheesh??” and I had to lamely reply that it simply hadn’t crossed my mind!     I haven’t lived in the corrupt zones of the world, and am not really fit to travel in them, I now realise.    OF COURSE, a ‘dash’ would have let me in – and now I divine the hidden meanings of their strange and oblique questions as they fruitlessly tried to  lead me to the fulchrum point of the moral see-saw in that hadean aerodrome tent.

A waste of a thousand pounds, as I recall!       Though I did get some new mosquito types for my collection and I wasn’t bundled in to the Foreign Legion, so there was much to be thankful for.

B*** number-plates……

(Tanganyika was another costly brush with the ‘law’ – a word without meaning in the Dark Continent.)