Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Info sought on wartime flame throwing tanks tested in Scotland

Another pic with no real details I was asked if I could help with, or had any more details of the subject.

Although I’ve got quite a few books for referencing Scotland’s past, it’s now obvious from recent questions which I have been asked that these don’t wander into the area of wartime activities. I never really thought about it before, but they all refer to civilian life, or more general history and heritage subjects. Even thinking back to the time when I was picking these up, I don’t recall seeing any that covered any sort of World War II activity in Scotland anyway, or I’m sure I would have been picking them up as well.

According to the source, this pic shows tests of flame throwing equipment mounted on a vehicle known as a ‘Universal Carrier’, and was taken in Scotland in March 1942.

I had a quick look online for info on the vehicle, and it seems that the British Army’s Universal Carrier was the most produced armoured fighting vehicle in history, one of a family of light armoured tracked vehicles built by Vickers-Armstrong, with something like 113,000 being produced between 1934 and 1960, both in the UK, and abroad.

The Universal Carrier is also incorrectly often referred to as the Bren Gun Carrier, but this was just one of the many jobs it performed, as carriers were used for transporting personnel and equipment (mostly support weapons), or as machine gun platforms. And other tasks, going by the pic that raised the question.

Note the exposed fuel tanks for the flame thrower mounted at the rear of the carrier. Together with the lack of armour and open construction of the carrier, this suggest this variation of the carrier was something to be used in cleaning-up operations, rather than in any sort of battle.

Flame throwing vehicle

Flame throwing vehicle said to be under test somewhere in Scotland in March 1942


January 9, 2013 - Posted by | military, World War II | , ,


  1. I believe you might find the answer through the expertise at Bovington camp in Dorset, They should tell you everything about the flame throwers. I do believe there was one variant on a converted tank, not sure on that one though. What I am looking for>>> I am writing a book on the history of one of Edinburgh’s castles. Lauriston Castle, I don’t want any of the pre-1900 history of the place as this is easily found. I am specifically looking for any and all information , photos etc, for the period from 1923 to present date with a major emphasis on the second world war period. Together with any anecdotes ,ditties etc which might have been associated with Lauriston. We have some idea what it was used for but we need these corroborated . thank you Mike Hassett, writer/researcher



    Comment by mikehwriting | January 13, 2013

  2. Thanks for the note Mike.

    I’ll pass on the suggestion about Bovington.

    I don’t know much about Laurieston, have attended a Classic Car event some years ago as my first and last visit.

    Since the City of Edinburgh seems to have owned it since it’s donation to the nation in 1926, their resources would seem to be the place to target for modern history.

    I have one suggestion that the castle was occupied by the Home Guard during World War II, but with no reference, and found one reference to it in the BBC’s People’s War site:

    BBC – WW2 People’s War – A Gordon Highlander at War – Part 1: 1938 to Dunkirk

    See also:

    Edinburgh, Davidson’s Mains, Cramond Road South, Lauriston Castle | ScotlandsPlaces

    Best of luck with the book.


    Comment by Apollo | January 14, 2013

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