Tug Tractors

Gerry van Tonder examines the RAF’s tireless tug tractors in World War Two and the company that produced them, David Brown Ltd

The David Brown VIG aircraft tractor in RAF-blue livery

During World War Two, David Brown built many tractors for the Royal Air Force that were used as aircraft tugs (VIG) and for pulling the bomb trolleys for aircraft re-arming. These vehicles, suitable for both concrete and grass airfields, were very distinctive, with truck-like tyres and wrap-around bodywork. Various models were developed as the company led the field in mechanical innovation. Many of their aircraft-towing tractors went on to see service at RAF air stations way into the Cold War era.

Meltham Mills, headquarters of David Brown Tractors Ltd, was approximately five miles southwest of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. The name Meltham Mills derives from a small corn mill built in 1760 by Nathaniel Dyson.

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