The Registry Of Ex-Military Land-Rovers Au, NZ, etc
Leyland Moke in Australian Army Service

Acknowledgements

Firstly I need to acknowledge a number of people that have provided information both directly, and in articles in print, for their help and contributions towards the information contained on this page. Craig Watson's article "Called Up, Australia's Army Mokes" from the Mini Experience Magazine was a clear and concise source of information for me when I started looking into these little vehicles. I would also like to thank him for permission to reproduce his article here. Mark Paget has been sharing information for this page as well as the ARN entries with me. Brad Wooding whose website contains information and photos of many Military Mokes. Terry Pollard who contributed information included in the ARN Listings as well as this page.

Richard - REMLR Webmaster

Moke History

In 1959 the designer of the Mini had created a prototype called "The Buckboard" utilising the same mechanical components of the Mini. It was intended for use by the military as a parachute drop able vehicle, however it seemed only the Royal Navy showed interest as a carrier deck vehicle. By 1964 the vehicle, now named the Mini Moke, was launched aimed squarely at the civilian market after failing to garner military interest. By 1966 the Moke had also begun production in Australia, becoming somewhat of a cult icon. However when production of the Moke ceased in England in 1968, their production in Australia continued into the early 1980's.

It is thought that the Australian Army was demonstrated a mini moke possibly as early as 1963 or 1964, prior to australian production even beginning, however there was no interest until much later that decade. The Army believed these early Mokes were lacking in ground clearance due to the small wheels, and lacking in power.

In 1969 the Australian Army procured eight BMC Mokes with four matching trailers as a trial to gain direct experience in their employment. Two vehicles and a trailer went to the Tropical Trials Establishment (TTE) for 12 months, whilst the remainder were sent to PNG Command. The PNG vehicles were eventually sold off in PNG, and the other 2 in Australia it is presumed, however to date (2021), none have surfaced. These later Mokes were notably different from the earlier offered units by way of larger 14 inch wheels being fitted, thus increasing the clearance. The larger 1100 motor was also fitted to these vehicles as well, thus alleviating the concerns the army had with the earlier unsuitable, but interesting, vehicles. The trials conclusion is probably most telling of how the trials went, it states: "The results of the trial show that the vehicle, with some modifications, is suitable for use in the Australian Army as a self-drive run-about with a limited cross-country performance." Also of interest the trailer was recommended be completely rejected due to a lack of robustness. That said, the trailer that was used in the trials differed somewhat from the eventual production trailer in appearing to have a shorter draw bar, shorter length and shallower tub.

The Australian Army's first order consisted of some 111 mokes which were delivered in April 1973. In all the Army bought 316 Mokes, the last of which was delivered in 1981. Of interest there seems to be small variations in each batch of mokes, as well as differences from their civilian counterparts. These changes include:

  • Military versions had a heavy duty canvas roof and side curtains with tropical specification thread
  • Olive Drab paint including wheels
  • Nato 12 pin trailer socket
  • 50mm tow ball
  • Strengthened tow bar
  • fire extinguisher
  • 2 speed windscreen wipers
  • electric windscreen washers
  • drop in full width cushion for rear passengers
  • improved seat cushions with tropical strength thread and green material
  • reversing light
  • passenger side mirror
  • logbook pocket
  • 2x unit and formation plate holders front, and 2x unit and formation plate holders rear
  • trailer indicator telltale
  • laminated windscreens
  • The first batch of mokes appear to not have had a volt meter on the dashboard
  • The first batch of mokes appear to not have a logbook pocket at all.
  • The first batch of mokes appears to not have reverse lights at all
  • The 2nd batch of mokes have a fused reverse light beside the unit and formation plate holder on the rear drivers side
  • The 2nd batch of mokes seem to have the logbook pocket on the firewall (such as the example at Bandiana)
  • The 3rd batch of mokes seem to have the logbook holder on the side of the bodywork behind the drivers seat
  • Post 1979 mokes have the reverse light incorporated into the tail lights.

There is also a number of photographs of Mokes in RAAF service, with RAAF plates, but it is not known if these were a separate order, or drawn from the army orders. Certainly one that was believed to have been a RAAF unit with a sticker showing Control Tower signals shows up in the lists as an army purchased vehicle. Most appear to have been in Olive Drab, but unconfirmed reports say some were yellow for use on airport tarmac areas. Similarly I have heard first hand accounts of Blue Mokes in RAN service, however this far the RAN denies that they every used any, and no photographs or documents have appeared as yet.

As for registration numbers, REMLR has had these available for some time on our ARN pages, however there is a number which fall within the missing pages of one of the ARN Ledgers. However recent information recorded before they were lost may allow us to fill those gaps. More details here on the Moke ARN Page.

Moke Trailers

 

These diminutive trailers, along with the one designed for the Haflinger, are likely to be the smallest trailer every used my the Australian Army. With a tiny payload of 250kg, these 1/4 ton trailers were not large in number, and certainly not in size. Whilst difficult to distinguish from the Haflinger trailer, the Moke trailer has Square guards, whereas the Haflinger trailer has Diagonal panels on the sides. In all 90 were made as well as the 2 different trailers for trial.

 

 

 

 

Documents, Websites and Articles

A number of excellent articles, documents, photographs and websites exist with information about ADF Mokes. Some of these are available directly below.

 

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The 8 Trials mokes lined up at BMC Zetland.
Copyright: BLMC Australia
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The 8 Trials mokes lined up at BMC Zetland.
Copyright: BLMC Australia
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Moke 26-722 at Army Museum Bandiana. This is from the 2nd batch of mokes ordered.
Copyright: Richard Green
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Moke 26-722 at Army Museum Bandiana.
Copyright: Richard Green
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Moke 26-722 at Army Museum Bandiana.
Copyright: Richard Green
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Moke 26-722 at Army Museum Bandiana.
Copyright: Richard Green
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Moke 26-722 at Army Museum Bandiana.
Copyright: Richard Green
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Moke 26-722 at Army Museum Bandiana.
Copyright: Richard Green
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Moke 26-722 at Army Museum Bandiana.
Copyright: Richard Green
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Moke 26-722 at Army Museum Bandiana.
Copyright: Richard Green
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Moke trailer 25-856 at Army Museum Bandiana.
Copyright: Richard Green
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Moke 25-722
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Moke 25-722
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Moke 26-756 at Corowa
Copyright: Richard Geren
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Moke 26-756 at Corowa
Copyright: Richard Geren
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Moke 26-756 at Corowa
Copyright: Richard Geren
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Moke 25-764
Copyright: Richard Geren
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Moke 25-764
Copyright: Richard Geren

 

 

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