Re: [MV] "PASS" sign on British vehicles

James Burrill (
06 Dec 97 09:36:33 CST

I asked the same question last week of a friend of mine, Dave Page,
who works at the Australian embassy. Before he came to the States, he
was active in the MV scene there and restored several vehicles. He
owns a CMP 15 cwt and has answered a number of questions on "how the
British did things".

Your second theory is what he told me. The following maintenance
vehicles and repair specialists with a convoy or even those
"patrolling" a supply road for breakdowns would look for the sign. It
simply meant "Pass me by" or "Keep on going, We're OK and don't need

Dave told me when a vehicle is in convoy, they would have some kind of
square plate with a TAC sign that would fit in the holder over the
word PASS. When they stopped for a "WC" break, they slid the TAC sign
out, leaving the word PASS visible.

Hope this helps.
Jim Burrill
WWII Welsh Guards

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: [MV] "PASS" sign on British vehicles
Author: "Rod Diery" <> at INTERNET-USA
Date: 12/7/97 8:04 AM

Hello list,

In many old pics of British and Commonwealth military vehicles during WW2,
the word "PASS" is displayed on a sign on the front and / or rear of the
vehicle. I have heard two possible and plausible reasons for these signs
but have not been able to find any references to them.

The first is that they were to show the drivers of oncoming and overtaking
vehicles which side of the vehicle they were to pass on. Given that the
British and most of the Commonwealth forces (with the notable exception of
the Canadians) were used to driving on the left hand side of the road, this
may have been introduced to make life a little less confusing for convoys
operating in Europe.

The other reason given to me was that the sign is normally covered when the
vehicle is moving in convoy. This theory works on the basis that if a
vehicle breaks down then a recovery or repair vehicle following the convoy
will catch up with it and stop to render assistance. However, if the "PASS"
sign is displayed then the vehicle is either not moving in convoy or that
it has stopped for some administrative reason which does not require any
outside assistance.

Does any list member know of the real reason?

Thanks and cheers

Rod Diery
Kulin, Western Australia

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