Austin Auxiliary Towing vehicle.
At the start of World War 2 Britains fire services were made up of the miriad of Local Authority Fire Brigades, supplemented by the part-time volunteers of the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS). An assortment of cars, taxis and small commercial vehicles were pressed into service to tow the 20,000 or so trailer pumps needed. It all proved to be inadequate as reliability of these vehicles was very poor.
In February 1941 the Austin 2 ton chassis was chosen as the basis for a purpose-designed towing vehicle. It was to have a simple box-body with a strengthened roof to protect the five-man crew needed to operate the large trailer pump towed behind.
Some 5000 were produced and served with the National Fire Service (NFS) throughout and with various fire brigades for many years after the war. Some also served with the R.A.F.