On the 24th of February at Brooklands Museum around noon we are celebrating Milly's 65th Birthday. All are welcome, so come and join us.
About these pages.
Welcome to the home of Miss Milly Tant a famous resident of the Brooklands Museum. That's me and her above when we were both a little younger! Milly started life in 1954 with the British military, was then acquired by London Transport (where the crane was added) and then in 1983 I purchased her on behalf of The National Rescue Group.
At the time I was MD of NRG and used Milly on some very specialised and difficult recoveries on the A3 and the at the time just opened 'London Orbital Car Park' the M25.
We also used her on occasion at the Brooklands Museum for moving aircraft etc. in conjunction with the legendary Brooklands Recovery Engineering and Salvage Team
During those seven years I became very attached to the unique vehicle and in 1990 when the time came to retire Milly, I purchased her and put her on more or less permanent loan to the Museum, where she is now a key member of the team along with her replacement at NRG but also now retired, the Brooklands Belle
These pages are here to help people find out more about this unique AEC Militant Recovery Vehicle and her long and interesting career. We are very happy to publish any pictures you have of her in action, during that time. We are also interested in hearing from people, that knew her during her working life.
Andy Lambert FIVR.
Milly's Early Life
Milly was constructed by AEC between 14 December 1953 and 24th February 1954 (Job Number 0860039), as a Six Wheel Drive Militant Chassis Cab for the British Army and first used as a general cargo truck with the Army Registration Number 36BM73. Spending most of her life in storage compounds, she had done very few miles when she was purchased by London Transport in October 1966, along with a second Army 4X6 Militant Number 36BM12 (built between 19th and 27th March 1953 Job Number 0859078).
Both vehicles were sent to Boughtons of Amersham to be bodied as Master Breakdown Tenders. The Cranes fitted were full power slewing models PLS/A/10 rated at a 10 tons lift! Milly now numbered 1456MR, spent the next fourteen years working for London Transport. Based at Camberwell Garage neither she, nor her sister 1457MR based at Cricklewood were used a great deal for bus recovery, because of their lack of speed. In September 1980 Milly was withdrawn from service due to a fractured chassis and sold to a collector in the Woolwich area May in 1981, being joined at the same collector by her sister in April 1983.
Power is provided by an AEC A223 11.3 litre 6cyl diesel engine revving to 1900 with a maximum BHP. of 160. The gearbox has ten forward speeds and two reverse, the steering being, (and needing), power assistance and the under-body fore and aft winch is conservatively rated at 30 tons. Four hydraulic stiff legs hold the chassis steady for craning which is through 360 degrees.
National Rescue and Beyond
Late in 1983 Milly was introduced to Andy Lambert the founder of (and at that time MD of) The National Rescue Group, by his friend Mike Hebard (of Bells and Two-Tones fame). He decided to purchase her, to operate from their newly opened Brooklands Depot at Weybridge. After a coat of paint she was put straight to work on the already notorious A3 Kingston By-pass and the soon to become notorious M25, attending and dealing with, some of the worst accidents of the time.
Again her speed let her down badly and in 1988 her replacement, a huge DAF known as the Brooklands Belle arrived. National Rescue then sold the vehicle to Andy Lambert, to become part of his private collection. Andy decided to loan Milly to the Brooklands Museum where she has stayed, apart from a four month spell at Southend Airport dismantling the Viscount Aircraft - Stephen Piercey.
Her duties at the Museum are varied and consist of amongst other things, working on the Museum's collection of aircraft, winching huge pieces of concrete left over from the war out of the ground, carrying Bombs around the site and tree surgery.
During the early nineties Milly's sister also returned to work with an Essex bus company called Blue Triangle. As of today (mid 2016), it is believed she is active working at a Railway enthusiast collection.