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Manufacturer: Thornycroft Amazon

Model: Coles Crane Type 1102 — Mark VII Series 7

Year of Manufacture: 

UAS Location: Hangar 2


Coles Crane

Thorneycroft Amazon Coles Crane restoration has been finished off by hangar volunteers, Gary Millington (pictured) and Tommy Moore

When visiting the Ulster Aviation Society ('UAS'), you can explore an impressive piece of machinery with a rich history — the Thornycroft Amazon Coles Crane (Mark VII Series 7). This remarkable vehicle offers a fascinating glimpse into its past role within the Royal Air Force (RAF) and showcases the meticulous restoration it underwent at the UAS.

The Thornycroft Amazon Coles Cranes have a storied background. Developed by Thornycroft, a renowned British manufacturer, this crane played a vital role in RAF operations during the mid-20th century. Designed for heavy lifting and transportation tasks, it became an invaluable asset in various military operations.

During the 1930s, a military version of the Thornycroft Amazon 6-ton, 6x4 lorry was supplied to the RAF with an additional 5-ton Coles Mk VII, petrol-electric crane on the back, both for aircraft salvage and maintenance duties.


Within the RAF, the Thornycroft Amazon Coles Crane served as a versatile and robust workhorse. Its powerful hydraulic system and impressive lifting capacity made it instrumental in tasks such as aircraft maintenance, cargo handling, and construction projects. This crane's ability to efficiently manoeuvre heavy loads ensured smooth operations and enhanced the RAF's logistical capabilities.
Around 2000 were produced during the Second World War, of which the RAF owned 1800 examples (400 of which had diesel engines).

This long-wheel-based example of the iconic Thornycroft Amazon Coles Crane was restored by UAS Volunteers Gary Millington and Tommy Moore, and later painted in-house in authentic colour scheme by master painter, Ian Hendry.


Thornycroft Amazon Coles Crane Type 1102 – Mark VII Series 7 at the Ulster Aviation Society


The UAS took great pride in the restoration of the Thornycroft Amazon Coles Crane, returning it to its former glory. Meticulous efforts were made to ensure that the restoration adhered to the crane's original specifications, preserving its historical authenticity. Our volunteers dedicated countless hours to bring this remarkable piece of machinery back to life.

The fully-restored Thornycroft Amazon Coles Crane at the UAS is a sight to behold. Its imposing presence and attention to detail allow visitors to appreciate the engineering prowess and historical significance of this iconic vehicle.


As you explore this heritage vehicle exhibit, you'll witness first-hand the incredible craftsmanship that went into its restoration, highlighting the dedication and passion of those involved.

It exemplifies the UAS's commitment and dedication to preserving and showcasing historical artefacts from our aviation heritage and discover the remarkable legacy of the Thornycroft Amazon Coles Crane. 


Its presence offers a unique opportunity for visitors to learn about the integral role this crane played in RAF operations. It shows the resourcefulness and innovation of the men and women who worked tirelessly to ensure the success of military endeavours.

Visit the Ulster Aviation Society to see the impressive Amazon Coles Crane and delve into its fascinating history, marvel at its fully restored condition, and gain a deeper appreciation for the contributions made by this powerful piece of machinery.

Restoration pictures of the Amazon Coles Crane

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