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Bedford QL Fuel Bowser

Bedford QL Bowser diorama simulating refuelling our Jet Provost T3A. Image: Mark J. Cairns


Bedford QL Bowser diorama simulating refuelling our Jet Provost T3A. Image: Mark J. Cairns


Rear view with the fuel pumps inside the Bedford QL Bowser Image: Mark J. Cairns


Front view of the Bedford QL Bowser Image: Mark J. Cairns


Among our heritage vehicle exhibits is the Bedford QL Fuel Bowser, type 16A/700. This iconic vehicle represents an important piece of military history and provides a fascinating glimpse into its various roles during its operational life.

They were produced by Bedford Vehicles in the 1940s, and served as a versatile transport vehicle, widely utilised by the British military during the Second World War and beyond.

The Bedford QL Fuel Bowsers played a crucial role during wartime with their robust design and exceptional off-road capabilities. 


They were used for a multitude of purposes, including troop transport, artillery tractor, and, in the case of our exhibit, as a fuel bowser, providing a vital resource for RAF aircraft' operations at the time.


The QL's robust construction and impressive carrying capacity made it an invaluable asset for the military, enabling them to refuel aircraft in remote and challenging locations.

The restoration of this Bedford QL Fuel Bowser at the UAS was a total labour of love, undertaken by our dedicated team of vehicle restoration volunteers, Gary Millington and Tommy Moore.


They meticulously researched and sourced authentic parts, ensuring the vehicle's historical accuracy and integrity. Countless hours were spent repairing and refurbishing the bowser, bringing it back to its former glory.

In addition to the restoration, great attention was given to its period painting by our RAF painter, Ian Hendry (See YouTube video below) to accurately represent the vehicle's appearance during its active service with the RAF.


The authentic markings and colours chosen for the Bedford QL Fuel Bowser provide a captivating visual representation of its historical significance.

If you book a tour with our volunteer tour guides, we encourage you to take advantage of their wealth of knowledge. They will be delighted to share captivating stories about the Bedford QL Fuel Bowser and its role in military operations.


Additionally, you can learn more about the diverse collection of heritage aircraft and artefacts that showcase the evolution of aviation throughout history.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, a military buff, or simply curious about the past, a visit to the Ulster Aviation Society is an opportunity to engage with the legacy of the Bedford QL Fuel Bowser and the countless other heritage artefacts that tell the story of our aviation history.


Come and discover this remarkable piece of machinery and the stories it holds, allowing yourself to be transported back to a time when Britain's war effort relied on these resilient vehicles to keep the wheels of war turning.

A familiar sight on most Second World War British Air fields, the distinctive blue and yellow paint scheme, there were nine different types including:

Type 1306 = Mobile operations room

Type 1307 = 950~1000 Gallons fuel tanker

Type 1308 = 2000 Gallons fuel tanker

Type 1329 = 500 Gallons fuel tanker

Type 2400 = 850 Gallons fuel, plus 100 Gallons Oil tanker (dispensed through hand pump mounted on the nearside) aka 16A/699

The fuel booms were introduced on the Bedfords post-War, especially on the 16A/700, which had 3 booms, with fuel and Oil pumped through engine-driven pumps. Left and Right outer booms were for Fuel, Middle one for Oil.

As you explore the UAS hangars, take the time to learn about the important role the Bedford QL Fuel Bowser played in the logistics of war. From delivering fuel to the front lines to supporting the operations of aircraft, this vehicle was an indispensable asset.


Marvel at its robust construction, admire its period-accurate restoration and gain a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices made by those who served. 


As you walk around and admire the vehicle, you will gain a deeper appreciation for the meticulous craftsmanship and dedication involved in preserving our military heritage.

Manufacturer: Bedford

Model: QL Fuel Bowser

Registration: RAF 206180 
(Reg. 53 GPP)

Type: 16A/700

UAS Location: Hangar 2
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