Ferret Scout Car

Ferret 54-82518 UNEF_1222_1957-07
Ferret 54-82518 UNEF_1222_1957-07

The Ferret Scout Car Mark I was used by the Canadian Army from 1954 to 1981

This page is mainly about the 124 Ferret Mk. I Scout Cars that were owned and operated by the Canadian Army.  All 124 are listed here and my goal is to try to find every one, and where possible, to match up the history and identifiable in-service photos with the survivors.

LINKS to other Ferret pages on this web site: 

Cover of my book THE FERRET SCOUT CAR IN CANADIAN SERVICE
Cover of my book THE FERRET SCOUT CAR IN CANADIAN SERVICE

Book review by Peter Brown (from Perth Military Modelling Site, Australia )

“Ferret Scout Cars were widely used in many countries. Canada bought 124 from a batch manufactured in 1954, all of the original open-topped Mk 1 type. Initially they were used to equip the three reconnaissance regiments who relied on the car’s small size, speed and mobility to scout ahead before reporting back in person or by radio. Some were also issued in small numbers to armoured regiments.

They served in Canada for training and occasional security roles include protection during Royal visits and as part of the Infantry Brigade Group in Germany until withdrawn from service in the 1980s. Several were also used in United Nations service, first following the 1956 Suez operations monitoring in Gaza and Sinai until 1960 and then in Cyprus from 1964 to 1969 during which time one or two turreted Mk 2 cars were borrowed from British stocks.

The author of this book is a Ferret owner and as such is an enthusiast for the vehicle. His account of these cars in Canadian hands is well detailed, and includes good descriptions of the vehicle, serial number ranges, changes in armament from Bren to variations of Brownings, various detail changes in headlights and stowage, user-supplied commander’s windscreens, radio installations and colours and markings alongside firsthand accounts of them in use.

Various fittings for UN service including wire cutters and a short-lived anti-grenade cage are well shown, as is the one-off conversion to carry ENTAC anti-tank missiles. There are plenty of black and white photos of Ferrets at all stages of service in all areas including the different colour schemes, exercise umpire and UN markings and even cartoon figures. Five-view 1/35th scale plans in the centre pages show a typical vehicle.

All in all a very readable account covering a lot of ground, this book will be welcomed by all Ferret enthusiasts as well as those interested in Canadian armoured vehicles as well as modellers, and comes recommended for each group.”

 
Ferret MK I UNEF1598 DND photo ZK-1946-17
Ferret MK I UNEF1598 DND photo ZK-1946-17

 Ferret Mk. I of the Royal Canadian Dragoons patrolling the Egyptian-Israeli border with UNEF.  Lt. Dave Sproule and LCpl Ed Foster scan the Egypt-Israel frontier during a desert patrol in a Ferret scout car as part of the United Nationa Emergency Force (UNEF) mission. Vehicle is UNEF 1598. It is fitted with a Bren gun. CAR/CFR unknown. Circa 1958-1959. (DND)

 
WANTED! Photos from UNEF that show BOTH the CAR number and the UNEF number!
 
FERRET MK I USER HANDBOOK , Canadian printing. Cover.
FERRET MK I USER HANDBOOK , Canadian printing. Cover.

Ferret Mk. I Provisional User Handbook Canadian Army reprint (1966)  of 1953 May manual. (Colin Stevens’ Collection)

Ferret Scout Car kit layout in UNEF DND photo ME-979
Ferret Scout Car kit layout in UNEF DND photo ME-979

I am still learning so I would appreciate any corrections or additions.

Colin Stevens, Richmond, BC — seaforth72 (at) gmail.com 

HELP!

  1. What were the CAR (CFR) numbers of the Ferrets (and any other military vehicles) sent to UNEF and to Canada’s 4 Mechanized Brigade in Germany? Those that I have determined are below. There are still some mysteries.

  2. I also want to find out the CAR (CFR) related to each of the UNEF Ferrets that were renumbered in Sinai to UNEF numbers (as in photo above). So far only 2 have both numbers showing. This is to answer questions but also to match up surviving vehicles with photos and history. The United Nations Archives have been unable to help. 

 
IN MEMORY OF THOSE CANADIANS KILLED IN FERRETS WHILE ON DUTY
UNEF FATALITY IN FERRETS
Lieutenant C.C. Van Straubenzee, LdSH(RC) was killed when his Ferret rolled in soft sand
UNFICYP FATALITY
Trooper J. H. Campbell UNFICYP in Cyprus. His Ferret swerved to avoid an old woman and her flock of sheep on a narrow mountain road and went over a 12 foot embankment
 

UNITS KNOWN TO HAVE USED FERRETS IN THE CANADIAN ARMY AND CANADIAN ARMED FORCES

Not in order of precedence, and the list may not be complete. Corrections and additions are welcomed. Interestingly, in the opposite of the normal trend for military vehicles where they first go to the Regular Army and then when replaced go to the Reserves, the Ferret was first issued to Militia units (i.e. Reserve Army) and then were recalled and then issued to the Regular Army.

  1. 17th Duke of York’s Royal Canadian Hussars (in Quebec)   (7th Reconnaissance Regiment) (Militia, mid-1950s)
  2. British Columbia Dragoons (9th Reconnaissance Regiment) (Militia, mid-1950s)
  3. The Prince Edward Island Regiment (17th Reconnaissance Regiment) (Militia, mid-1950s)
  4. Lord Strathcona Horse (Royal Canadians)
  5. Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD)
  6. 8th Canadian Hussars (8CH)
  7. Fort Garry Horse (FGH)
  8. 12e Regiment Blindee Canadien (12e RBC)
  9. Armour School (Borden) Combat Arms School (Camp Borden then moved to CFB Gagetown)
  10. Nanaimo Camp (in BC – 1 Ferret for training – ref. Brigadier Herb Hamm 2007 April)

CANADIAN FERRETS IN SERVICE IN CANADA

 

 

 

 

Ferret 54-82587 with ENTAC
Ferret 54-82587 with ENTAC

Ferret 54-82587 fitted with four ENTAC anti-tank missiles. The CAR is painted above the starboard driver’s window. This vehicle was sold surplus out of Calgary in April 1981 and probably went to the USA (though likely the above launchers were removed years before this.) – Colin Stevens’ collection.

 

Ferret with Radiacmeter for Gamma Survey Nuclear Biological and Chemical Warfare (NBCW) (Canadian Army Journal April 1958 V XII No2 p13)
Ferret with Radiacmeter for Gamma Survey Nuclear Biological and Chemical Warfare (NBCW) (Canadian Army Journal April 1958 V XII No2 p13)
Ferret Scout Car Mark I and Centurion tank in illustration for Nuclear Warfare Gamma Radiation survey of a nuclear battlefield. Canadian Army Journal April 1958 Vol XII No 2 p13

Canada purchased 124 Ferret Mk. I Scout Cars in 1954. In 1981 May 22, the official Canadian Forces’ disposition of these was as follows:

DISPOSITION OF CANADIAN FERRETSQUANTITY
Hard Targets (i.e. Shot up on the target ranges)23
Museum 4
CADC 1 (declared) [i.e. sold surplus through Crown Assets Disposal Corporation – first batch)74
Funeral vehicle1
CADC (sold) [Second batch sold surplus]10
Monument10
Scrap (1975)1
Disposition N/K (see Note)1
TOTAL 124
NOTES: “CFR 54-82596 was listed in 1959 printout at RCD (Royal Canadian Dragoons) but not listed in Dec 65 printout.” (1981 report Officially 99 survived, with 23 shot up as targets, 1 scrapped and 1 burned. However apparently at least three were rescued from going to the target ranges at CFB Shilo.REFERENCE: Official Canadian Armed Forces document 1981-05-22

 

In reality the distribution varied from this plan. 9 of those “sold” went to the Ontario Regiment Museum. Museums receiving a Ferret included the Canadian War Museum, CFB Borden and Fort Knox. In reality some “Hard Target” designated Ferrets were saved and went to museums (e.g. CFB Gagetown has three, and the Historical Troop of the LdSH(RC) have 4, though some of those are ex-British Army. A number of Ferrets were saved from the target ranges or rusty oblivion as monuments by various means.

Of the 75 Ferrets released for sale to the public (74 + 10 = 84 above less 9 that went direct to the Ontario Regiment’s “Ferret Club” which is now a museum in Oshawa, Ontario), probably three-quarters or more of them were sold to American buyers e.g.

1. 71 were bought by Rex Tex.

2. Mark Sonday, near Kenosha, Wisconsin ended up with about 20 Ferrets, presumably ex-Rex Tex (“Mine is like Johns also,, (ex Canadian) in the same sad shape,, No sign of  the welded tag or the plate,, like it never was there,, the only ID is the Hull number stamped near the drivers hatch. Mine and another one close by came from a Mark Sonday near Kenosha, Wisconsin some years ago he acquired 20 something of them from Canada. ” – Russ Cihlar, USA 2007-04-25) Kenosha is just North of Chicago, IL so these may be the ex-Crown Surplus LdSH Ferrets out of Calgary.

3. SECO – South-Eastern Parts Equipment Company, in Southern USA. They apparently had quite a few Ferrets probably also ex-Rex-Tex.

4. RAPCO in Texas, USA had three Ferrets they they sold in Texas. Hull numbers 310, 332 and 347.  Likely ex-Rex Tex.

As a result, it is very rare to find ex-Canadian Army Ferrets available for private purchase in Canada. I have only found four (4) ex-Canadian Ferrets in private ownership in Canada! Mine in Mission, BC, Grant McAvoy’s in Abbotsford, one in Toronto area and one in Nova Scotia!

If you are bringing a Ferret back to Canada here is the US and Canadian and Provincial government’s attitudes as described to me by a friend who imports many ex-military vehicles and militaria into Canada: “The US has no interest in the fact that it’s an armoured vehicle because it is not of American manufacture. If it is registered as a road going vehicle it must be declared to US Customs outbound at least 72 hours before the vehicle arrives at the border for inspection. No drama with Canada Customs; only regarded as an overage vehicle but it would have to pass Provincial safety before being registered and licensed here.”  Colin adds: Canada Customs would also collect tax on the sale amount.

The following list is based upon a document provided by Rob Love of Shilo, Manitoba. This 1981 official document listed all 124 Canadian Ferrets by CAR/CFR number and their disposition. It listed the CAR/CFR, the Base it was released from or went to (e.g. Ont Reg’t or Cdn War Museum), its planned fate, Disposal or transfer order # and Date 

Link to: Canadian Ferrets –  all 124 listed by CAR / CFR 

CANADIAN FERRETS WITH UNKNOWN CAR/CFR NUMBERS

OWNER

LOCATION

INFO

RCD //    // 2005 FGH Reunion photo via Digger MacDougall//At CFB Petawawa in hanger, Dec 2007 Photo by CMS  CFB Petawawa Hull # 283.B.2.4  No CFR found on vehicle. Could not scrape for it as vehicle has been restored and has made up markings “54 011” over the driver’s hatch.This is a VERY early hull number and there is a possibility that this is 54-82500.
//  // // //

Photos courtesy of James McNeely, NC, USA

Tennessee, USA Hull # 314.B.3.4 Now sitting derelict. NOT for sale.
? Texas Hull # 332.B.4.4  One of three sold via Rapco in Texas. Believed to still be in Texas. (310, 332 & 347)
? Texas Hull # 347.B.4.4 One of three sold via Rapco in Texas. Believed to still be in Texas. (310, 332 & 347)
R. C. Sturgeon Bay, WI, USA Hull # 355.B.4.4 He bought it from Mark Sonday near Kenosha, Wisconsin. It was Mark’s last one.
Karl Florida Hull # 359.B.4.4 For sale in Florida August 2007. CAR number not known yet.
Ontario Regimenthttp://www.ontrmuseum.org/ Ontario Hull # 365.B.5.4 Now fitted with a turret as a Mk. 2/3.
Ontario Regimenthttp://www.ontrmuseum.org/ Ontario Hull # 417.B.5.4 Now painted UN white with wrong markings and incorrectly fitted with a Browning .30 Cal. (should have a Bren) if painted UNEF white.

ONT R Ferrets:
 
CAR/CFR NUMBERS
(one only has to find the LAST THREE DIGITS as first four are always 54-82)
  1. 54-82504
  2. 54-82506
  3. 54-82513
  4. 54-82519
  5. 54-82535
  6. 54-82563
  7. 54-82564
  8. 54-82582
  9. 54-82590
Two of the hull numbers are:
bullet 365.B.5.4
bullet 417.B.5.4 Now painted UN white but what is its CAR/CFR?
Ferret Mark II, with machine gun turret on top. Photo courtesy of Dr. Dennis P. NolanDr. Dennis P. Nolan California, USA Hull 446.B.7.4  http://www.olive-drab.com/idphoto/id_photos_ferret.phpPurchased from Southeast Equipment Company in August 1983 for $6,500 (the going price at the time with Southeast and REXTEX.) Picked up from storage at Crown Surplus Stores in Calgary, Alberta.Tactical sign 32C was on the vehicle. Vehicle was built as a Mark I (no turret) and the turret was added later by the owner thus converting it to Mk. II specifications.Note the Canadian added M-series lights. Vehicle had disruptive camouflage paint job when bought.
CFB Shilo, Manitoba

WHAT IS ITS REAL IDENTITY (CFR)?

 

//  //

CFB Shilo, Manitoba Hull # 448.B.7.4 When the CFB Chilliwack base was closed by the Liberal Government, the CME Museum was moved to CFB Gagetown and the vehicles were sent to various locations. This Ferret is ex-LdSH(RC) and was legally bought surplus by Crown Surplus in Calgary. Ian Newby bought it from Crown Surplus for $6,500.00. The Canadian Forces later erroneously seized it thinking it had been improperly removed from the target holding area at CFB Shilo. In 1989 was displayed on a portable bridge at CFB Chilliwack. It was painted in 2 colour camouflage and had an odd CFR number in small white numbers on the side. This number 52-03311 does not match any of the known Canadian Ferrets so this number is likely a  fake.  Its true identity is not known at this time.Ian Newby bought this vehicle surplus from Gord Cumming’s Crown Surplus back in the early 1980s. The Armed Forces, incorrectly thinking it was one of the 2 Ferrets from the ranges at Shilo, even though permission was received to remove those, seized it and the ex-Shilo one that was then held by Robert Rostecki in Winnipeg.Colin Stevens’ photos 1989 4949 -10 & 4949-11.

 
“at least three were salvaged from the Shilo hard targets; there were two removed by Ian Newby in the early 80s, and as well there was the one I got which is now with John Huddleston. In the case of the one I had, it was a stripped hull which had been laying in a gully untouched by any direct fire. I got to remove it by replacing it with a British hull.
The last target one is still laying in the Round Plain area of the training area here, and has suffered some fair blast damage.
As an aside, I am presently restoring ferret 82511. This one is listed as disposal, but must have found it’s way back into the CF museum system. Valcartier sent it to Shilo about 5 years back.” – Message of 2005-05-24 from Rob Love. 
 
One of the Ian Newby Ferrets (448.B.7.4) ended up going to the CME Museum in CFB Chilliwack. When that museum was closed, the vehicles were moved. Ferret MAY have gone to CFB Shilo or Gagetown.  – C. M. Stevens

 

//

CFB Gagetown c.1984-5

 

// CFB Gagetown c. 2002

CFB Gagetown CFR and Hull # not known at this time. A CFR was painted on the hull but is not legible in the photo.Mike McKinley photo taken c. 1984-5.Believed to be the Ferret loaned by the Museum at Gagetown about 1997 to a collector for restoration.Note that it has the British late (1969) tower style turn-signals.It is now under a tarp near Gagetown, and owned by the Gagetown Museum. Held for museum in trust by MWO (Retired) Bill Mulholland?
//   // CFB Gagetown 2007 CFB Gagetown Painted as a UNEF Ferret. CFR not known at this time. Photos from Jason Meade in CFB  Gagetown.
//

“Dictator”

LdSH(RC) at CFB Nameo “DICTATOR” One of 4. History of this one is not yet known.
// USA http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/your_garage/cars/5449.shtml A fellow bought an ex-Canadian Ferret Mk. I. Identity not known as yet. He posted a photo on “Jay Leno’s Garage” web site.
//  //  // // Charlottetown, PEI Photos by Gord Falk Spring-Summer 2006.Identity of this Ferret not yet known.It has the Canadian M Series lights.  Tail panel shows holes for mounting two Jerricans.One of two Ferrets there. Second one is a runner apparently and under restoration.I would like to know the CAR/CFR numbers for each of these Ferrets.
//
Photo by Patrick Keenan – Aurora, Illinois USA
Russell, Ill. Mark Sonday. is the owner. Formerly called the “Kenosha Military Museum” MOVED IN 2007 to Russell, Ill.Ferret has the welded on loops on top of rear panel, suggesting that it likely went tot he Middle East with Canadian United Nations Peacekeepers (Cyprus and or/ Egypt.http://www.warwheels.net/ferret1_1Kenosha.htmlhttp://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=487315Hull number and Canadian Army Registration number not yet known.
//

Photo by seller in Flower Mound, TX, USA

Flower Mound, TX, USA. Going to Finland. Ferret sold on eBay in early March 2008  out of Texas, USA.  There is apparently a US M-series light in the parts pile. It  MAY be ex-Canadian. Missing rear panel, engine cover, most fenders and bins. May be ex-Canadian as it is an early Mk. I

 

 

Main data reference is Annex A to: 12320-126-18 (DPSL 3-5) UNCLASSIFIED as relates to obsolete vehicles no longer in Canadian Forces inventory. Dated: 22 May 81 (Colin Stevens Collection)What happened to the surplus Canadian Ferrets? Many were sold surplus to the USA. Gord Cumming, of Crown Surplus Store in Calgary sold a large batch of them to US buyers, reportedly for about $10,000 US each. At the time I recall that most Canadian buyers did not want to pay so much money.Why are there so many Ferrets in Canada that were not used by the Canadian Army? The British Army was the main user of Ferrets and they used many of them at BATUS (British Army Training Unit, Suffield)  at CFB Suffield, Alberta. Many of these were shipped back to the UK, but some were released in Canada to Canadian regiments, museums and some collectors. The BC Regiment has one ex-BATUS which they restored and then named “DUKE”.  The Ashton Armoury Museum in Victoria, BC also has one obtained from Grant Hopkins in a trade. This one is also probably ex-BATUS. Many Ferrets have been imported into the USA from Canada and the UK.
 
Why do I sometimes see Ferrets with turrets? These are slightly different models, used by Britain and other countries, but not by Canada, except for some British units based in Cyprus appear to have  rented by Canadians. Photos of Ferrets with turrets in Cyprus with Canadians.

// Two Ferrets patrolling a village in Nicosia area of Cyprus pre-1968. Note that left hand one has a turret – normally seem on British Ferrets, not Canadian so it is likely a vehicle left for UNFICYP use by the Brits. There is a decal on right side of upper hull. It probably says UNITED NATIONS in yellow lettering 

ABBREVIATIONS:

bullet 1 CBG = 1 Combat Brigade Group?
bullet 8 CH = 8th Canadian Hussars
bullet 12 RBC = 12th Canadian Armoured Regiment (in French)
bullet BCD = British Columbia Dragoons
bullet CADC = Crown Assets Disposal Corporation
bullet CAR = Canadian Army Registration Number (before unification)
bullet Cdn = Canadian
bullet CFR = Canadian Forces Registration Number (after unification)
bullet CTC = Combat Training Centre (?) at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.
bullet Det Wain = Detachment Wainwright (a training camp in Alberta)
bullet HQ = Headquarters
bullet LDSH = Lord Strathcona Horse Regiment
bullet N/K = Not Known
bullet NS = Nova Scotia
bullet Ont Reg’t = Ontario Regiment (Oshawa, Ontario, near Toronto. They started a museum and they operate these Ferrets.
bullet UNEF = United Nations Emergency Force in Sinai c.1957 between Egypt and Israel. There was later a UNEF II (UNEF 2). UNEF Ferrets were originally painted green and later repainted white with UN blue markings. 

 

The Lord Strathcona Horse Historical Troop operates a number of restored ex-military vehicles including 4 Ferrets which they have named: Dagger, Drumheller, Dieppe and Dictator. http://www.strathconas.ca/historical.php

I would appreciate any corrections or additions, especially serial numbers and names/addresses of current owners. I would also appreciate photos of ex-Canadian Ferrets, ideally with identification as to which one it is, and then I can update the data base.