On Wednesday 21st May 1952 a GPO mail van carrying HVP High Value Packets was intercepted by raiders. The 3 Post Office employee’s were violently attacked and their van stolen with a loss of £200k.
They were carrying old bank notes that were destined to be burned.
From then on these HVP vans had an alarm fitted and were followed by other GPO vans as the police were unable to provide an escort for each van.
No such HVP J type van has survived until now. (If the van turn out as good as the photographs suggest this will indeed be an interesting vehicle).
No trace of the alarm system seems to have survived but the different partition fitted (no sliding door) is a big clue to its former use.
Further details shortly.
Did you know? In 1950 the GPO ordered 3000 gents Universal bicycles and then a further 3000 in 1952.
In the 1952 Engineers-in-chief report, states the following problems with the new Morris J vans.
They were having operation and maintenance problems.
1, Jumping out of 2nd gear.
2, Main wiring loom and starter cables had both given trouble owing to chafing at various points needing many additional clips to be fitted.
3, The starting handle brackets failed when used.
4, The battery box lids hinges needed improving to improve access to the battery master switch.
5, Many complaints about poor heating and ventilation.
From then on existing vans (whose drivers had complained) were converted to opening windscreens at a cost of £4-12s-6d each, from November 1952 all GPO produced J vans where fitted with opening windscreens on the production line.
The first of these to be registered was MYE 100 in spring 1953.
6, Many GPO drivers complained that the driver seat were to high, a problem I’ve found, you almost have to duck your head to see through the top of the windscreen.
The GPO solution, where necessary the wooden seat base was made 2 ½ inches lower. That cured that problem.
Further interesting gems are yet to be uncovered.