National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand : Military History & Army War Museum

Universal Carrier

Commonly referred to as Bren Gun Carriers the Universal Carrier was a small, fast, fully tracked general purpose vehicle developed by the British in 1936. These carriers were used by both the Divisional Cavalry and infantry and saw action in nearly every theatre of World War II and the Korean War.

The first examples used in New Zealand were imported from Britainin April 1939 and later fromAustralia, but as the war continued locally produced carriers were built by the New Zealand Railway Workshops in and around Wellington. They remained in service with the New Zealand Army until 1958.

Crew:              Two (usually)                                                 

Engine:            Ford V-8 Petrol                                               

Weight:           4 Tonnes

Speed:            48 km per hour

In April 1939 the first Bren light machine guns and Universal Carriers arrived in New Zealand. In fact the National Army Museum’s Mk1 Universal Carrier pictured here is one of the original six to arrive in 1939 and was used as a pattern for the production of the LP, or Local Pattern Carrier. This carrier was built by Thornycroft inEnglandin 1938. There are reputed to be 222 versions of the Universal Carrier built worldwide.