Archive for ‘Military’

March 12, 2018

Forty Winks from Sixty Minutes

Spring Forward – after daylight saving bumped an hour out of the day over the weekend the body clock gets upset leaving us with a desire to continue napping. Why they still feel the need to do this I don’t know… when needs arise a cot can be found anywhere…

January 24, 2018

Party for Hitler

Undercover Hero – “Soft Beds, Hard Battles” a little known Peter Sellers movie from 1974. He takes on several roles, including a very convincing Hitler, but the main character is Major Robinson who, due to his BSA M20 WD breaking down, ends up as an an Intelligence officer in a Paris brothel. Thank Zarquon for his last film “Being There”.

December 15, 2017

Stand Tall

Reach for the Skies – Sir Douglas Bader (1910-1982) was. WWII fighter ace who flew Spitfires and Hurricanes against the German Luftwaffe onslaught early on in the hostilities. However he’d lost both legs ten years prior and was not recommended for flying duties. Being very impressionable, with Air Command and a lack of skilled pilots he was recommissioned into the RAF. He flew over Dunkirk and in the Battle of Britain (One of The Few). However he had to bail out over France in August 1941, was captured, and spent the remaining part of the War imprisoned at the infamous Colditz Castle. As was required of RAF POW’s he continually attempted to escape. He was threatened with confiscation of his prosthetic legs. Very much a traditionalist conservative on many issues; he’s still considered one of Britain’s hero’s.

Why is this blog subject posted today you may ask? Well I had hip surgery to repair damaged tissue in the joint and shave some protruding bone down. So in my post operative discomfort I can think of Kenneth More Douglas Bader as inspiration.

December 10, 2017


All Hail Soviet Physical Culturists! – propaganda poster from the early CCCP days has a huge Red Flag emblazoned with Stalin’s profile unfurled and being proudly held aloft by some Communist country-proud woman. The machine gun weaponized PMZ 750 V-Twin transports the prone Driver and flag bearer. This year marks 100 years since the October Revolution. Poster by Aleksandr Druzhkov. The motif is clear and powerful, the message strong, and the population are driven.

Soviet era posters exhibition at Smart Museum, University of Chicago

December 2, 2017

Andy Pandy

Sixth and Three – HRH The Duke of York Prince Andrew looking dressed up for what looks like an official event at Triumph Motorcycles showing off a Speed Triple in appropriate royal blue. Probably as much fun as the Royal Navy helicopters he flew.

November 13, 2017

Blighty Bloke Berlin Bound

BeeBeeBeeBeeBee – after the remembrance weekend here’s a fun card promoting a victory over Germany. On His Majesty’s Service

November 11, 2017


11-11 we’re up to ninety nine years since the armistice of 1918. The end of The Great War… as well as the horror of the trenches, heavy bombardment of the guns, the first aerial bombardment, some units used early motorcycles, such as this BSA, for despatch duty.

November 6, 2017

Going Once…

Sold!  From Auctioneers Charterhouse listing: “We are selling six of the world famous Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team Triumph motorcycles on Thursday 16th November. More commonly known as The White Helmets, the display team was a group of serving soldiers from the Royal Corps of Signals who performed public displays of motorcycling skills, aerobatics and stunt riding. Beginning 90 years ago, in 1927, the riders were normally dispatch riders and the team have had several names in the past including ‘The Red Devils’ (before the Parachute Regiment Team of the same name existed), ‘Mad Signals’ (on account of the poor brakes on the motorcycles), and only adopted the name ‘White Helmets’ in 1963.

The Triumph T140 motorcycles the team rode around on are non-standard and customized to help them carry out their amazing stunts include no rear suspension, a solid steel frame, larger rear sprocket and a sticky throttle. Of the 26 Triumph motorcycles in the team, 20 have been either gifted, given to a museum, donated to sponsors or returned to LF Harris who supplied all the bikes. The remaining 6 are being auctioned off the highest bidders. Estimates £5-8,000.”

September 20, 2017

On Patrol 

Vietnam – there is currently a phenomenal documentary on PBS by Ken Burns about the dreadful conflict in south west Asia during the sixties. Though mostly fought on foot through dense jungle, of from helicopters, here are some images and information about the use of some lightweight motorcycles utilized for single-track reconnaissance…

You Meet The Nicest People On the Trails of War Zone C

TAY NINH – Like Hell’s Angeles, the Rat Patrol, and the Wild Ones all rolled into one, the Reconnaissance Patrol of the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry Regulars prowls War Zone C with 175-cc motorcycles leading the rest of the patrol.

The four motorcycles were introduced into the patrol by the Regulars’ battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Carmichael, who wanted a fast and efficient way for his reconnaissance element to investigate the swarm of trails that twist through the marshes and jungles of what used to be a reliable sanctuary for enemy troops.

“Knowing where the enemy is not is almost as good as knowing where he is,” Carmichael says. “This mobile unit can cover a great deal of territory in a very short time, which enables us to gain information on the whereabouts of the enemy.

In addition to the motorcycles, the reconnaissance unit includes Rat Patrol Type vehicles equipped with machine guns.

Patrol Leader First Lieutenant Stephen Campbell, Falls Church, Va., takes his men out at dawn every morning, with the flack jacket, crash helmet-clad cyclists leading the way. The unit has already uncovered several mortar and rocket sites used by enemy forces.

Major Jospeh Hacia, the Regulars’ executive officer, is convinced of the value of using the motorcycles. “At first I was very leery of the whole idea, but now I am confident it was a good one,” Hacia says. “Recon has provided us with valuable information which normally we would not have.”

August 28, 2017

A Dime

Century Art – today would have been the great Jack Kirby’s One Hundredth Birthday. A fluid line work always added a dynamism to his creations. Known for Hulk, Thor, X-Men, and The Silver Surfer to name a few here is the cover of a collaboration with Joe Simon (Captain America) for Boy Commandos. One particular character ‘Brooklyn’ seems to be the adventurous rake with wool sweater and bowler hat. The red Harley lookalikes seem a bit garish but the energy is there!

August 21, 2017

Red ‘n’ Green

On Show – there was some superb vintage cycles on show yesterday; here’s a small selection: a forest green Triumph TRW. The military 500cc side-valve developed for multi-use tasks: courier, sidecar, MP. A smart item that’ll keep service like a Sam Browne belt holding a holstered Webley revolver.

Orion’s Belt – This ’37 Ariel Red Hunter was parked up with a polished engine, gauge cluster, and high pipes. Tomato red tank accent and gold pin-stripe adds a splash of color. These were the sports bikes in the pre-war period. 

The Green Enduro – New knobbly off road tires behoove this ’68 Sachs powered Penton 125 Six-Days KTM built ‘crosser. Would be a good woods bike to hare through the forests of Michigan; which it looks like this one already does!

June 13, 2017

Roundel Clad

Aces High – the little fighter is complete. Though I  rushed and mucked up the tissue a bit, it is presentable and probably decent enough to wind up and fly.  

June 9, 2017

Drum Roll

A Skin Game – delicate less than paper thin tissue  sheets glued over the spars, ribs and stringers; then a spray down with water and the covering becomes drum tight. Need to find a cellulose dope alternative to give the paper added strength.

June 9, 2017

Merlin Rubber Band

Supermarine – the balsa Spitfire is taking great shape. Indeed the classic elliptical wing designed by Canadian aerodynamicist Beverley Shenstone is obvious. RJ Mitchell’s overall layout is pure in form and elegant in execution. Tissue paper covering next!

June 7, 2017

Tour of Duty

War Machine – BSA M20 in military patina. In marvelous aged appearance; the greyed olive drab is ready to thump over European lanes.