Archive for ‘Military’

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

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November 11, 2017

WW1

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. 

May 31, 2017

Airfix or Bust!

B.S.A. Scaled – just finished this little Tamiya BSA M20 model kit. First one I’ve built for thirty odd years. 1:35 scale with darned small waterslide transfers. I have the rider and bike in courier colors but this would have been the model my grandfather rode across North Africa during WW2. Next throwback hobby: balsa Spitfire!

May 9, 2017

100 Years Ago


Red Cross – A serious young medical sargent on his 1917 Triumph. Agile enough to zip along behind the lines ensuring critical supplies get to where they were critically needed. 

April 20, 2017

Breath Easy

Whit a Gas! – Dusty trail across a rocky Mediterranean isle. An Indian Sikh despatch rider putting on his gas mask during a 50-mile motorcycle trial in Cyprus, 3 March 1942. A well worn BSA M20. The 

April 9, 2017

War is Past

Century – A private of the Royal Engineers on his motorcycle. The chevrons on his lower right sleeve show he is in his third year of overseas service… One Hundred years ago today saw the start of a British offensive at Arras which, by its end a little over a month later saw close to 400,000 losses and casualties on both sides. The motorcycle is a wartime stalwart Triumph Model H.

Edward Thomas a notable wartime poet was killed in action this day. His work extolled the virtues of the English countryside and its invigorating open airs. One of my bosses twenty years ago was the godson of Thomas’ nephew, born in May 1918 he was named after his uncle. 

“And I rose up, and knew that I was tired, and continued my journey”

February 13, 2017

Bullet

Built like a Gun – or so their advertising header says. Now from the sub-continent, these classic singles look like they hark from the fifties; but with modern day build. Some polished models with pinstripe details, others in olive drab military garb. The single-minded cafe racer Continental GT certainly looked that part too. All still have their kick-starts as standard too!