GPO Vehicles

Make Morris
Model Z Type
Type Minor Van, Type 1 and 2 (Morris)
Body Builder  
Use External Maintenance
Registration Number GGH 636 (Type 1) and JLD 637 (Type 2)
Fleet Number  
Date of pictures 1940

Around 12,870 were produced from 1940 until 1953.


The three pictures above show a vehicle in War Time livery.  The same vehicle also appears in the text below.



B 3600
Issue 2, 25.11.56

Minor Van, Type 1

1. General
This Instruction describes the Minor Van, Type 1.  The types of duties for which it is intended are given in B 3550.

2. Description
General views of the vehicle are shown above. Overall dimensions are length 11 ft. 4 in., width 4 ft. 11 in., and height 5 ft. 8 in.  The body of the vehicle is of welded pressed-sheet-metal construction bolted to a Morris chassis (Type Z).  Cab and body are separated by a wire-mesh partition - as shown in Figs. 3 and 4 - to enable the body to be locked (see par. 12) without restricting access to the cab.  Accommodation is provided externally for an extension ladder and internally for a step ladder, pruning rods, tools, stores, E.I.s, etc.  A fire extinguisher is mounted on the near-side wing.

3. Ladder carrier
A horizontal type of ladder carrier is provided on the roof for a “Ladder, Extension, No. 4 or No. 5 “.  At the rear end of the carrier a roller is fitted to facilitate the placing and removal of the ladder.  The roller should be oiled periodically to ensure smooth and easy rotation. The ladder should be secured at the front and rear by the straps provided for the purpose.  Only one extension ladder of the specified type may be carried on the ladder carrier and, except for the special provision mentioned in par. 10, nothing else may be carried on the roof or on the ladder carrier.

4. Cab
Seats in the cab provide for an occasional passenger in addition to the driver, the driver’s seat being adjustable (see Fig. 3).  The spare wheel is mounted behind the seats, being positioned behind the driver’s seat on earlier issues of the vehicle, and in a central position on later issues.  It is easily taken out or replaced in either circumstance, when the driver’s seat has been moved forward.  [When a wheel is changed, the wheel removed from service should be wiped reasonably clean before it is replaced on the spare wheel carrier.]  A two-compartment wire-mesh container - for E.I.s, log sheets, diagram folders, works and other papers is provided at the rear of the passenger’s seat (see Fig. 3) where it is readily accessible to the driver’s left hand.  When the spare wheel is mounted centrally, two single wire mesh containers are used in lieu of the two-compartment unit, one container being positioned behind each seat. A hat and coat hook is provided in a convenient position behind the seats.

Fig 3 Fig 4

5. Step ladder accommodation
“Steps, Folding, 5 tread” (see par. 6) may be carried in an inverted well formed in the roof (see Fig. 6), where they are secured in position by a webbing strap at the forward end.  When the folded steps are being inserted, the top should be placed on the lower edge of the aperture, then raised as near to the horizontal as possible and pushed forward and upward until they can be finally pulled backward into the rear support.  As the webbing strap is tightened to secure the steps in position, a hinged strip (attached to the lower edge of the aperture) is also raised and this action lifts the top end of the steps into the inverted well.  This procedure should be reversed when removing the steps, and particular care must be taken to keep them as nearly horizontal as possible.  The hinged strip must be turned down before any attempt is made to remove the steps.  Other methods may damage the roof and should not be employed.

6. Requisitions for “Steps, Folding, 5 Tread” for use on these vans should be endorsed “Folding tread type required “.

7. Rack units
Accommodation for stores and tools is provided by rack units which can be fitted on each side of the interior of the body and which are illustrated in Fig. 5.  When the van is supplied, rack units A only are fitted (see Fig. 4).  For certain duties for which less rack accommodation will be required, one or both of the A units may be removed (see also par. 9).  B and C units are available as optional fitments, being mounted on top of the A units and secured by brackets. Fig. 6 shows the appearance of the interior when both B and C units are fitted, and illustrates a layout of a typical maintenance officer’s load.  Owing to the many variations in the circumstances under which Minor Vans may be employed, it is not practicable to lay down any specific layouts.  Much must be left to the initiative and good sense of each officer in making the best use of the facilities available.  The principle of keeping heavy items on the lowest level possible should always be observed.  Telephone instruments, spare parts, cords, small stores, etc., should be carried in suitable cartons to prevent chafing and rattling and every effort made to utilize the special containers available for certain items, e.g. gloves I.R. and dials.  Articles should not be thrust between the vehicle sides and the racks.

Fig 5

8. Supply of additional rack units
When additional units are required, requisitions (A 1063) for “Minor Van Fitting Unit A, B or C” should be forwarded to the Supplies Dept.  On receipt of the additional items an appropriate entry should be made on the vehicle tool list (A 1112).

Fig 6

9. Recovery of rack units
Units surplus to requirements should be returned (direct) to the Supplies Dept., and the items deleted from the vehicle tool list. A-unit stays not required should be disposed of locally.  The special nuts (Simmonds Elastic Stop Nuts) provided for the set screws securing the component units together should not be used for other purposes but should be secured to their relevant units and returned together with the brackets to the Supplies Dept.

10. Pruning rods
When pruning rods are carried, they may be placed on the floor of the vehicle, their front ends being passed through the aperture provided for this purpose in the dividing partition (see Fig. 6).  The rear of the set of pruning rods can be secured to an anchorage set in the floor beside the rear support of the off-side A unit.  Alternatively, they may be carried on the ladder carrier by means of brackets bolted to the near-side of the ladder carrier (see M 0048).

11. Maximum permissible load
The maximum load that a Minor Van, Type 1, may carry without any fittings is 484 lb. (apart from the weight of the driver which has been taken at 168 lb.).  Hence, if a passenger is carried when a pair of A units (each weighing 34 lb.) is fitted, then the total weight of tools, stores, etc., must not exceed 248 lb.  The B and C units each weigh 26 lb. and the load carried must be reduced accordingly when these units are fitted.  A periodical examination should be made by the driver to ensure that surplus items are not carried and that the maximum permissible load is not exceeded.  A simple check can be made by weighing the van in its moving condition, i.e. with driver, passenger (if carried), stores, tools racks, petrol, oil, etc.  The total moving weight must not exceed 21 cwt.  Any weigh-bridge charges involved should be passed to “Freight & Cartage”

12. Locking arrangements
A budget lock is provided on the rear doors, to enable the contents to be adequately safeguarded when the van is left unattended for short periods.  In addition, a hasp, staple and 1.25 in. padlock have been provided for use during extended absences.  A spring clip prevents chafing by the padlock. [NOTE: ”Padlocks 1.25 in.” are sometimes of the spring self-locking type; to prevent the accidental locking of keys inside the van body, it is recommended that the padlock keys should not all be carried together.]  A similar padlock is provided on the vehicle tool box located under the bonnet. Later issues of the vehicles are equipped with budget locks on the cab doors.

13. The padlocks provided are of the same suite and care should be exercised to maintain this condition when replacement locks are requisitioned.

14. Re-enamelling and retouching
The outside of the van has a synthetic enamel finish. Attempts to retouch any scratched or damaged parts should not be made by the staff using the vehicle; work of this nature will be undertaken by the Mech. I/C. when necessary and during periodic overhauls.

15. Towing
Minor Vans, Type 1, are not suitable for towing any type of trailer nor for use as a power unit to assist working operations, and officers are forbidden to use, or attempt to use, the vehicle for these purposes.

16. Lifting rings
Two lifting rings are provided beneath cover-plates in the floor at the rear of the body. These rings are for lifting the vehicle for major repair work only, and should not be used for other purposes.

17. Signwriting
Standard inscriptions for signwriting are given in C 0015.

18. The speed limit for this vehicle is 30 m.p.h.

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Last revised: February 05, 2021