Dispatch riders course number 9, March 1944 Windermere, UK.
Bullock at centre. As can be seen, the weather was not very comfortable!
The 2 gentlemen at the right were the instructors, comfy in their DR coats. The
rest had to do with the Battle Dress and leather Jerkin. Typical for most late
war instruction machines, total lack of lighting at the front! Bikes are from
contracts C9681, C5109, C5612, C6127, V7353 and one unknown. All machines from
between 1937 and 1940.
training, Jack became a DR in the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division, Support
Company, 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment and landed near Arromanche on D
+ 12. His 16H was on the back of a bren gun carrier tied on with rope !! and
somewhere near Longues-sur Mer he cut her off and rode away to war, only to be
blown off by a mortar bomb near Caen 3 weeks later, the bike was a write off.
Wounded in hand and neck, he was sent back to the UK (flew Dakota) with his
kit and he was in hospital for 2/3 weeks. When his dad visited he gave the
helmet to him to look after. As he was only lightly wounded he got sent
straight back to his unit after 5 weeks and re-equipped with new 16H and all. (The helmet stayed in the family!!!)
trail of the 43rd Inf Div ran from Falaise north through Holland into Northern
Germany. Jack remained stationed in Germany and finally performed escort duties
(temporary attachment to 214 Bde HQ Provost) between prisons and courts for German war criminals. In 1946 he
"collected" his newly found Dutch girl and returned to England. He
died peacefully on April 16th 2008.
August 1945, temporarily attached to 214 Bde HQ Provost
Early 1982, during the battle for Goose Green on the Falklands, and while
hiding in a shed to observe the Argentinean positions, Jacks son Alan (Second Battalion Parachute Regiment) found a WD16H
lying on its side. It was miraculously unscathed even after the shed was being
riddled by Argentinean bullets shortly afterwards. When he revisited the island in 1985, he re-traced
the bike, bought it and shipped it home as deck cargo. As Alan was
pre-occupied with his occupational and family obligations, Jack restored the bike to ride on.
Hindered by age he now lets his son do "the honours" of
keeping a Norton alive.
According to the
original Falklands owner, this particular bike sailed for the Falklands as
part of a batch of BSA's and Norton's to be used by the HQ coy, 11th Bn
West Yorks Regt. which arrived in November 1940. The bike must have been
shipped later as it was made in 1942.
It was to be dumped in the sea when the war was over and the regiment went
home, but a local shepherd (Willie Bowles) secured it for the price of a
bottle of famous Grouse whiskey, to gather his sheep on the swampy lands
around Goose Green. Another "Falkland" bike was saved which is now
somewhere in/near Basingstoke, Hampshire. During its life on the Islands the
bike was given a BSA rear wheel and front mudguard. The rear wheel has been
corrected, the front mudguard remains as a "field modification" to the bike.
The C11082 number signifies the actual contract to which it was ordered. The most
likely Census number worn by the bike was C4596463.