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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bedford RL
Bedford RLgreenred.jpg
ManufacturerBedford (General Motors)
Production1953–early 1970s
Body and chassis
ClassCommercial vehicle, military vehicle
Body stylechassis cab, flatbed, troop carrier, fire engine, recovery vehicle
LayoutLongitudinal front engine,
rear-wheel drive (4x2), or
four-wheel drive (4x4)
RelatedBedford RLHZ Self Propelled Pump, aka Green Goddess
Engine4.9 L 110 bhp I6 petrol
Transmission4-speed manual
Wheelbase3.962 metres
Length6.36 metres
Width2.39 metres
Height2.602 metres (at cap)
Kerb weight4.4 tons (empty)

The Bedford RL was the British military's main medium lorry (truck), built by Bedford, from the mid-1950s until the late 1960s. They superseded the Bedford QL.


The Bedford RL was based on the Bedford SCL, a civilian 7-ton truck. The military version had all wheel drive and bigger wheels to increase ground clearance. Originally conservatively rated at 3 tons, all RL GS (general service) trucks in British Military service were, at a late stage in their service lives, re-rated at 4 tons without any mechanical modifications; the weight referring to its rated cross country payload weight. The last RL rolled off the production line in the early 1970s, a total of 74,000 being produced.[1]


The RL was powered by a 4.9 litres (299.0 cu in) petrol engine producing 110 brake horsepower (82 kW; 112 PS), although some were fitted with diesel engines.


Bedford 4WD chassis cab with a chassis mounted drilling rig by Ruston-Bucyrus
Bedford 4WD chassis cab with a chassis mounted drilling rig by Ruston-Bucyrus

Many specialist variants were also built; including recovery vehicles, mobile workshops, radio vans and cable layers. The Green Goddess fire engine was also based on the RL.

The RL and variants continued to serve alongside the later Bedford MK and Bedford TM trucks until well into the 1990s.

The Home Office also purchased a large number of these vehicles, kept in reserve for any national emergency. All have now since been disposed of, many having less than 2,000 miles (3,220 km) on the clock.

In Australia, R series Bedfords were used during the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s by Victoria's Country Fire Authority (CFA). They were built as 800 gallon water capacity, 4 wheel drive bushfire tankers and designated "State Spare Tankers". Considerably larger and with greater water capacity than CFA's standard Bedford, Leyland, BMC, Austin and International brand rural fire attack tankers, they were spread thinly throughout the state to bolster their smaller workmates. Most were painted in CFA's standard "Carnation (dark) Red". They were fitted with rear-mounted, British-built Godiva pumps rated at approximately 2,250 litres per minute output.



Singapore, Singapore Armed Forces - mid-1960s to late-1970s. Primarily used to transport troops, and logistics such as food. One circa 1970s infantry platoon including the platoon 60mm mortar team could fit into one lorry. There are two rows of wooden bench seating along the entire length of the bed, lining along the right and left bed edge. Seat faces inside and each other. Seating compartment provided with rain/sun cover supported by steel-tube frame. Drivers' cab could seat two (including the driver). These lorries were likely handed-down from the British military that were still present in Singapore after Singapore gained independence in 1965; withdrawing completely by 1971. These lorries were slowly phased out by a slightly larger Mercedes lorry during the 1970s. The handed-down Bedford and the replacement Mercedes were referred to as the "3-tonner" by Singapore Armed Forces personnel. Lu Sing Ping, SGT, Singapore Armed Forces, 1978.

New Zealand

The Bedford RL was the New Zealand military's main medium truck from 1958 to 1989. Built under licence in New Zealand, the RL served the New Zealand Military in New Zealand and South East Asia.[2] The RL was replaced by the Mercedes Benz UNIMOG Family of Vehicles. The New Zealand Army used the RL GS, Tipper, Recovery and Mobile workshops versions.[3]


  1. ^ JANE's Military Vehicles and Ground Support Equipment, 1985, page 436 and 437
  2. ^ Army Sustainier Magazine. RNZALR. August 2010. p. 41, Issue 2.
  3. ^ "Repairs to the Heavy Workshop RL Bedford". Retrieved 6 October 2016.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 October 2019, at 02:34
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