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Thread: Dispatch Riders

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    London
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders


    Zundapp 750(?) I think from the Bastogne museum.Funnily enough I went with my father and he told me these motorbikes were in use in the French army after the war notably in Algeria.
    I'll add some more as I find them.

    From La Gleize museum.Not sure which motorbike it is though.This museum is quite small and stuffed with too many things so I couldn't get a better picture.
    The next ones are from the "guerre et paix" museum:



    I think these two are DKW 350 typ N2


    BMW side-car R 12


    Zundapp KS 600 with a nice Kfz 15 behind it.


    Finally the last one from Prague.BMW for sure but like Nick I am no expert in motorbike.
    Last edited by kamehouse; 01-31-2009 at 05:22 AM. Reason: More pictures found.

  2. #17
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    Buffalo, New York
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    Nice pics. What I'd like to know is specifically how big a part the motorcycle played in the War from someone whose a bit more obsessed than I. The biker has certainly played a big part in both the Americas and European postwar popular culture. But you really don't see them all that often in War films other than that famous fictional scene with Steve McQueen in the "The Great Escape.".

  3. #18
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    From what I have read so far about the German army,I would imagine Motorcycle bataillons were more a recon force but also one to be used for "coup de main" kind of attack due to the flexibility and speed of the bataillon.
    Not sure about the allied side.

  4. #19
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    Quote Originally Posted by kamehouse View Post
    From what I have read so far about the German army,I would imagine Motorcycle bataillons were more a recon force but also one to be used for "coup de main" kind of attack due to the flexibility and speed of the bataillon.
    Not sure about the allied side.
    Theoretically, but I'd like to see something of their record of use....

  5. #20
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    The coup de main of Belgrade is one of the most known.
    http://www.dasreich.ca/belgrade.html
    Also in "grenadiers" by Kurt Meyer, there is a lot of description of Motorcycle bataillon during Operation Marita with the Leibstandarte.

  6. #21
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    Nov 2009
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    Abbotsford
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    To answer the initial question Canadian Dispatch Riders (Don R's) rode BSA, Matchless, Triumph, and Norton. The Canadian Provost Corps rode Harley.
    Don R's went through them quite quickly usually putting them in the sticks, laying them down, vehicle collisions, etc.

  7. #22
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    Brainerd, MN
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    I too am trying to gather some information on the Canadian army's dispatch riders in WWII. I have attached a photograph of my Uncle Harold taken somewhere (over there) - Italy, I think. I had at first thought this to be a Harley-Davidson and had sent the photo to them in hopes of gathering further info. They were kind enough to respond that the bike in the photo is actually an Indian and I am only now beginning my quest for more information with this new knowledge. I will be more than happy to share with you any information I gather. And I would love to hear from anybody who can assist me in my quest.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #23
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    Very nice picture. I don't believe the Canadians used Indians and that 'looks' like a BSA but I've been wrong before ;-) I'd know better if the lighting was toned down.
    Sadly my uncle passed away last Monday so I will not be gleaning any more information from him.
    He went from being a DonR to driving tanks as a Recce when his kidneys got too bad from driving the motorbike over tank tracks for years.
    When you say you 'sent the photograph to them', who is 'them'?
    What unit was your uncle attached to?

  9. #24
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    Thanks for getting back to me. Thinking the bike was a Harley I contacted Harley here in the States and worked my way through several departments and eventually was able to forward the picture to HD-Buelservices and they were the folks who identified the bike as an Indian. I'll see what I can do about toning down the picture but it's the only one I have and it's in an album so it may take some time.
    I'm sorry to hear about your uncle. I would have loved to ask him some questions. Perhaps you can give me some leads from the information you got from him.
    Let me start at the biginning. I had a massive seizure in 1985 and lost most of my personal memories. I could still operate in the business mode but most of my childhood is gone. I'm now 69 years old and my family is asking that I pass along whatever I can. I lost any threads I may have had to my Canadian relatives because of the seizure.
    I was born in Montreal and spent most of WW-II at my grandparents and they lived at No. 61 Beaconsfield Rd. Their names are/were Douglas and Margaret Williams and their 3 sons, Tom, Doug and Harold were in the Canadian Army and I believe they left Canada in 1939. Tom was in the Medical Corps and Douglas was an officer (no information beyond that) and Harold was the dispatch rider. I am only now starting a journey to find out what I can about my family. I am hoping I can get enough information to send to the Canadian Army in hopes of them assisting in my quest.

  10. #25
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    midwest
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    Had a friend who was a Motorcycle scout early in WW2.
    He as with the initial effort in N Africa.

    He spoke quite a bit about our inadequate equipment and undeveloped tactics.
    The Germans also had air superiority at the time.

    He rode HD 45s and was with a unit that had 75s mounted on halftracks. Dismal affairs, as described by him.

    He went on and served in Italy where they upgraded to scoutcars.

    He got a siver star fending off German attacks against his disabled vehicle.


    He reported bouncing a couple .50 bullets off the Tower of Pisa when nobody was looking.

    Served in Korea and VN with SF assigned to SOG, retiring as a CSM.

    Triple CIB recipient before the recent period redesignations.

    A tough old bird.

    Honored to have known him.




    De Opresso Liber

  11. #26
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    Nov 2009
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    Abbotsford
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    If you can get Harold's, or your other uncle's death certificate(s) you can get all of his/their military records from Collections Canada. The records are amazingly comprehensive and well worth tracking down the certificates.
    I cannot post links so go to collectionscanada.ca and from there 'genealogy' and then military records. You can print the forms and fax them to Collections Canada and 6 weeks later have more information than you believed possible!

  12. #27
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    Brainerd, MN
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    Hi Shayne,
    I really appreciate this lead. I will check the site and see if I can trace the family starting with my grandparents.
    Harold was any lads dream uncle. The first thing he did when he got home was to show me his service revolver - then he threw me on the back of his Harley. Now that's just a little bit of heaven. It's wonderful news to know where to go after I find more information and I am most grateful for your help.
    I'm pretty sure he was in North Africa because I have a letter he sent my mother just before going in on the Italian campaign. He was on active service so I can't discern whether he was going into Sicily or the Italian mainland. I also know he had enough medals to cover a fedora because I had them as a youngster.

  13. #28
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    Brainerd, MN
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    Thanks for picking up my comment. I am assuming your friend was in the American Army and I would guess he rode a Harley-Davidson WLA. There were a few Indian's available early in the war but then H-D got the contract and built 80-90,000 WLA's and had enough parts at the end of the war to build another 30,000 bikes. Harley also built 1,000 XA models with a shaft drive copied from the German BMW's but not many of those made it into combat because they were not chosen for further production.

  14. #29
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    Apr 2010
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    Brainerd, MN
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    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    Shayne,

    My friend played with the photo a little. I have it as an attachment because I don't know how to put it in the message. I'm hoping the increased detail may be helpful in identifying the bike for you. Your help is appreciated as always!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #30
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    Sep 2008
    Location
    Lithuania
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    22

    Default Re: Dispatch Riders

    Hello,
    There vas a discusion abouth motorbikes in the second world war in Lithuanian vebsite, of whih i am the proud member. You can read the tread here

    http://antraspasaulinis.net/e107_plu...c.php?129286.0

    I think it covers al the ofensive or dispath bikes used in the war. I know it is in lithuanian, but names, pictures and links are mostly ok. If you nedd some bit to bee translated just ask.

    Abouth the canadian dispath. I think that thei mostly used british bikes like
    BSA M20
    http://www.autogallery.org.ru/m/bsam20.htm
    Ariel W/NG 350
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariel_W/NG_350
    And Matchless G3/L
    http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matchless_G3/L

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