Welcome to the home of the 1/6th scale model Bailey bridge.
For the time being this page is a simple place holder whilst we design a more complete website which will, in time, become a dedicated resource to all things Bailey, in particular the 1/6th scale model Bailey Bridge manufactured by Messrs Bassett-Lowke of Northampton, under contract to the British Ministry of Supply. These model sets, which were designed as an exact replica of the WWII British Army’s Divisional Bailey Bridge equipment, were made for use by the Schools of Military Engineering and the various training battalions of the Royal Engineers. The idea behind these training aids was to reduce the time needed to train Officers and NCO's in the principles of Bailey Bridge construction before letting them loose on the 'big stuff'. Prior to the introduction of these models the only way to familiarise the men with the new bridging equipment was in Bridge training camps which were both difficult and costly to organise, and additionally absorbed a lot of manpower that was urgently needed elsewhere.
These model bridges are mostly constructed from a semi-hardwood with brass fittings at various stress points and various other brassware accessories. The first 70 sets of the Basic Bailey Bridge Type A Set were ordered towards the end of 1943 but the models were not actually delivered to the RE until sometimein 1945. The Directorate of Engineers Equipment continued to order more, as the need arose, between 1944 and, we presume, sometime in the mid 1950's when the Royal Engineers began to replace Bailey Bridging equipment with Heavy Girder Bridge, and thereafter Medium Girder Bridge.
Following on from the Basic BB Type A set, which was designed to replicate the 80 ft Divisional Bailey Bridging equipment, Bassett-Lowke were then tasked, in 1947, with manufacturing a SWBB (Standard Widened Bailey Bridge) Conversion Set (Type B); a Pontoon Set (Type C) and a Crib Set (Type D). In total there were seven different sets made and these ranged from the initial Bailey Bridge Sets, labelled Type A- D, which were then followed, in 1951, with the EWBB (Extra Wide Bailey Bridge) Conversion sets labelled Type E - G. These later sets were: Type 'E', the basic EWBB Conversion set; Type 'F', the EWBB Pontoon Set and Type 'G', the EWBB Crib Set.In addition, it now seems apparent that initially, Bassett-Lowke, in the, prolonged, absence of any official guidance from the Ministry of Supply, had formulated their own 'unofficial' sets of EWBB models based on, what they considered to be, the most likely specifications. The existence of these sets has only recently become known to us and we are still trying to track down a full schedule of contents for them. However, what is apparent is that the existence of these sets was short-lived, possibly from 1952 - 1957. Confusingly these sets share a somewhat similar designation to the official sets in that they are labelled Sets G & H (Bassett-Lowke skipped E & F, possibly because they suspected the MoS might bring out some additional sets). The Unofficial 'G' Set from Bassett-Lowke was designed as a standard EWBB Conversion set (and was actually based on some ad hoc model EWBB parts the Ministry of Supply had previously ordered) whilst the 'H' Set was designed as an EWBB Crib set, (and made to Bassett-Lowke's own specification. B-L claimed in official correspondence that the Ministry of Supply had actually informed them that there would be no specification of a EWBB Crib Set to go with the rest of the models.
When, circa 1955, the Ministry of Supply finally published an official schedules of contents for the EWBB model sets they were unaware of Bassett-Lowke's own unofficial sets and, following on from the original Type A - D sets, they designated three new EWBB sets as Types E - G, with the M.o.S. Type 'G' set being the official EWBB Crib Set. For a while Bassett-Lowke remained unaware of the newly specified schedules and continued to offer their own unoffical EWBB sets, labelled G & H, and advertising these sets in their own catalogues. This caused quite a bit of confusion when Bassett-Lowke's unofficial sets failed to tally (both in nomenclature and contents) with the official schedules that had been published in ACI's and in the relevant R.E.V.S. (Royal Engineer Vocabulary of Stores). Eventually this problem was sorted out and Bassett-Lowke withdrew their own unofficial sets and sold only those sets officially sanctioned by the Ministry of Supply.
We would very much like to track down the relevant documentation for these various 'unofficial' EWBB sets and we are especialy keen to have sight of a specific Bassett-Lowke publication called:
"The Bailey Bridge Model Set Catalogue". This catalogue was in circulation circa 1955, and supplied to various customers such the Royal Australian Engineers and the Royal New Zealand Engineers. At present we have not yet turned up a copy of this catalogue but the search continues. Obviously, if you have a copy of this catalogue we would very much like to have sight of its contents.
We are also keen to obtain sight of the relevant VAOS, which will hopefully provide a full schedule of all the official sets. There are two, possibly three, VAOS that we would like to to see, the first is: "Vocabulary of Army Ordnance Stores, Section E2 : Bridging Equipment, 1945" which includes "amendment no. 1 dated 1947, no. 2 dated 1949, no. 3 dated 1949 and no. 4 dated 1950".
Sometime after 1950 the VAOS was replaced with the "Royal Engineers Vocabulary of Stores". This was split into seven significant parts and "R.E.V.S., Group 4, Section 5, Sub-Section 4: Bridging" would seem to be the section that contains the information we require, and is the second of the VAOS that we would like to have sight of. This sub-section was almost certainly published between 1951 - 1955, and carried the War Office Registry code WO 6386 . Alternatively, it is possible that a third VAOS, "Section V: Special Warlike Stores" may be the publication that contains some information on the models. If you have copies of any of these particular VAOS/REVS sections then we would dearly like to have sight of any relevant information from them.
Like all British Army equipment during this period these model sets came with their own CES (Complete Equipment Schedule) booklets. Again, we would very much like to see any and all copies of CES documentation related to these Bailey Bridge Models, or the HGB models that followed them.
Over the years we have acquired an extensive collection of these model Bailey Bridge sets and we are always interested to obtain more, or simply to know of the existence and location of other sets, and to make contact with other collectors of these training aids. So, if you have one of these model sets, or just a few parts of one of these model sets, then please do let us know via the email address at the bottom of this page. At present we are engaged in ongoing research, into the manufacture and supply of these models, with a view to producing a book which will describe the model in detail. It is also our intention to showcase these wonderful models, utilizing our own collection, by adding a section to the book that will clearly demonstrate how a Bailey Bridge is constructed and perhaps to also use the model to re-construct some of the major bridges, and other structures, built by Allied forces throughout the Second World War.
If you have any information that you feel will enhance our research and understanding of these great British engineering models, or simply know where any of these models are located, then please do contact us as we are always keen to hear from anyone who can increase our knowledge of these wonderful models and all useful contributions will be acknowledged, with thanks, in the forthcoming book.
Finally, at one stage we did have vague plans to manufacture modern sets of these 1/6th scale Bailey bridge models, however this has been in abeyance whilst we awaited the recovery of the world economy. In the meantime a UK company, involved in the the 1/6th scale RC model tank business, has recently offered for sale a Bailey Bridge 'model engineering kit' and this can be obtained direct from them. It is not as detailed as the original Bassett-Lowke model, nor as extensive as the Bassett-Lowke sets, but it is 'fairly' representative of the Standard Widened Bailey Bridge. Armortek can be contacted through their website: http:\\www.armortek.co.uk
Questions and information for the Model Bailey Bridge team can be sent to: