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rewdco

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About rewdco

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  • Birthday 01/01/1961

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  1. My own WD/C was found close to the Maginot line, where it had spent the immediate post war years as a civil bike. It was laid up in the 1950's and sold by a relative of the original owner. When I found the bike, it was badged as an FN, the paperwork that came with the bike was indeed for a 1920's FN. The most visible numbers on the engine had been filed out and replaced by the FN's frame number. I can only imagine that the bike was abandoned by the retreating 51 DIV (who were stationed at the Maginot Line in May 1940), and it must soon have been discovered by one of René Artois' compatriots. These BEF WD/Cs were built around February 1940, so they were still brand new in May 1940! Our Frenchman must have hidden the bike for the Germans during the war, but when the war was over, he was faced with a problem: he had a "brand new" khaki bike without any paperwork... How did he have to explain this to the local Gendarme...? Pas de problème, he did a complete make-over, and the bike was a 1920's FN now! I decided to rebuild my WD/C in the colors of the 51 DIV, as this is in my opinion the most likely "first owner". The Frenchman who used the bike after the war has done a lot of bodges, to keep the bike running. This made the rebuild that I had to do quite a challenge. But based on some original factory photographs, I have managed to get all the details correct, it now looks exactly as it left the factory in February 1940.
  2. Some of the contract C/5107 WD/Cs were sent to France, as part of the British Expeditionary Forces equipment. On May 10th 1940, Hitler invades Belgium and Holland. By May 14th 1940, the German tanks had crossed the river Meuse and had opened up a fifty-mile gap in the Allied front. Six days later they reached the Channel. When he heard the news, Winston Churchill, who had just become prime minister, ordered the implementation of Operation Dynamo: a plan to evacuate the British Expeditionary Forces troops and their equipment, along with the remnants of the French army, from the French port of Dunkirk. Between 27th May and 4th June, a total of nearly 700 ships brought 338.226 people back to Britain. All heavy equipment was abandoned and left in France. Ellis' official history “The War in France & Flanders 1939 – 1940” gives the following statistics: Vehicles shipped to France 68.618 Lost 63.879 Brought back 4.739 Motorcycles 21.081 Lost 20.548 Brought back 533 In these 20.548 motorcycles that were abandoned in Belgium and France there were also some WD/Cs. I have put all my pre-Dunkirk British Army contract WD/C data (period C/5107 and C/5654 photographs and Register data) in a table, and have come to this conclusion: I currently have 6 entries that are definitely ex BEF bikes (discovered in France), with the following census numbers: C68071, C68074, C68081, C68118, C68144 (Captain Keating's bike) and C68153. It looks as if the first batch (minimum 320 motorcycles) stayed in the UK. Then we have a small batch (minimum 79, based on these census numbers, maximum 337 based on the frame numbers of the bikes before and after the BEF batch in my Register) that were sent to France, but it looks as if the majority of the pre-Dunkirk WD/Cs stayed in the UK... There was also a WD/C contract for the French Army. After a lot of research, I have come to the conclusion that approximately 600 “French contract” WD/Cs were built before the Fall of France, but 142 of these never made it to France… From the approximately 460 motorcycles that did arrive in France, at least 299 were registered within the French registration system. Those that weren’t registered within the French system probably didn’t make it much further than the French channel port docks…
  3. The production of this first WD/C contract must have started towards the end of November 1939. The picture below (taken on December 8th 1939) shows what may have been the very first batch of WD/Cs, delivered to Feltham. Note that the headlamp is a 6” item now, but the front lower mudguard support is still the same as on the prototype model above. A total of 284 WD/Cs were built in 1939.
  4. For the people who haven't followed Ron's thread on the rebuild of the other ex BEF WD/C (http://hmvf.co.uk/topic/38035-royal-enfield-rare-find/?page=1), here's some information about these early Royal Enfields: On September 1st 1939, Hitler invades Poland. As a reaction, England declares war against Germany on September 3rd 1939. The following months (September 1939 – May 1940) are known as “the phoney war”. On Sept 11th 1939, the British Expeditionary Force (four divisions, 158.000 men) left for France, to defend the borders with Belgium and Germany against a possible German invasion. But until May 1940, when Hitler invaded Holland, Belgium and France, there was not a lot of fighting activity. Both camps were using this period to expand their armies... The first “demand” for a WD/C contract dates from September 27th 1939. That day, Sir John Simon (who was regarded as Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s right hand man) gets his first “war budget”, and on that same day, the big motorcycle manufacturers receive orders to build lots of motorcycles. Contracts C/5107 (1.000 Royal Enfield WD/C models), C/5108 (3.300 Triumphs), C/5109 (6.000 Nortons), C/5110 (8.100 BSAs) and C/5111 (100 Ariels) were all demanded on 27/09/39. Unlike BSA and Norton, who had already sold military M20 and 16H motorcycles to the Army, Enfield still had to develop a military version from its civilian model C. In the REOC Archives, I have found a picture (presumably taken in October 1939) of what must have been a pre-production WD/C motorcycle (for approval...?). Typical features that weren’t taken over on the production bikes are a fixed front mudguard support (a “front stand” type was used on the production motorcycles) and an 8” headlamp (6” on the production motorcycles).
  5. Indeed Ron. Made it many years ago in order to be able to make the BSA pillion seat base. Also made a bead roller for the rib... But due to the higher valances of a complete mudguard, making a rib in the WD/C mudguard had to be done in another way. Some research on the internet showed that this could be done with a converted English wheel... Jan
  6. Did this one a couple of months ago... Made a rib in the mudguard (the early rear mudguards had a central rib, later ones no longer had this rib) with a pair of special rolls in the English wheel, and welded up almost 20 holes. The carrier had been shortened by 1", and one of the rungs had been smashed to give room to the higher placed mudguard. And two large holes had been drilled through the rear bends of the tubes, to fit a pillion seat. So I added four tube sections to raise the carrier to its original height, welded in a new section for the rung and two new bent sections. The brackets for the horizontal mudguard stays had been cut off, so welded in new brackets, and riveted new horizontal mudguard stays to these. Also made and fitted the rear numberplate... Jan
  7. 100 years ago tomorrow? Look at those trees, not a single leaf to be seen... Here in Bruges the leaves have really started to fall only a couple of days ago... What's happening with this planet...? Jan
  8. The postcards that I posted above are quite common, but this is a rare one... Jan
  9. Photograph taken in Zeebrugge, in front of the old Post Office. Literally a few hundred yards from where the Battle of Zeebrugge took place on St George Day 1918. Jan
  10. Oh oh... According to the pictures you sent me it is # Jeremy, not #1.. 😊 BTW, did you really have the wheels sandblasted with brake parts and bearings in situ? Think you'd better do some decent cleaning of these components before final assembly... Jan
  11. The extra lug is for the WD/C speedometer bracket. The "late" WD/C forks were constructed in a similar way as the WD/CO forks (brazed, not bolted centerpiece). So that's a set of WD/C forks (grey) and a set of WD/CO forks (rusty) you've got there. Jeremy, you can find all this information (plus lots more) in my Report on the WD Royal Enfields, a copy of which I have already sent you on 07/09/2017! 😉 Jan
  12. Although it is commonly accepted that the “pannier racks” were introduced in early ’42, they must have been used (in prototype form) on the WD/C prior to April 1941. I know this because Enfield used a picture showing such a pannier equipped WD/C for an advertisement on the cover of an April 1941 issue of “MotorCycling”. Ron posted the original picture that was used for making this advertisement above. The soldiers and the background in the advertisement seem to have been added by an artist, something that was common practice back then. The first time that the pannier racks appeared in an official Royal Enfield publication was around the same period. The Instruction Book for contract C/8732 was published in May 1941, and showed an experimental pannier frame setup. The experimental setup can be recognised by the horizontal reinforcement strip between the pannier rack and the rear carrier. The Spare Parts List (September 1941) for this contract C/8732 (deliveries from October 27th 1941 until February 18th 1942) is also the first parts catalogue that includes the pannier frames. And contract C/11379 (contract date September 27th 1941) was a contract for “pannier frame conversion sets”! The original photograph (source: REOC Archives) that was used to make this Spare Parts List doesn’t show the horizontal bracket anymore, but it does show a carrier with long bottom brackets. These bracket extensions were needed to attach the rear numberplate, which is a bit odd, considering that rear numberplates weren’t fitted anymore since halfway 1940... The extensions have been removed from the parts catalogue drawing, but this drawing still isn’t correct! As the picture below (from the same series as the April 1941 “publicity” picture) shows, the position of the lugs for the top fixing bolts is wrong, and the bottom bracket should be kinked. It wasn’t until the November 1944 parts catalogue for WD/CO contract S/1546 however that Enfield used the correct drawing in its parts lists! Fact is that contemporary pictures always show WD/Cs without panniers. Pannier equipped WD/Cs can be seen on some late-war pictures, but these panniers had been retrofitted. The retrofit action was imposed by a “Director of Military Engineering” (D.M.E.) circular, which was listed in the “Questionnaire on the Norton, B.S.A., Matchless, Ariel and Royal Enfield Motor Cycles” (“prepared by the Royal Artillery Mechanical Traction School (R.A.M.T.S.)”), issued in October 1943. The DME circulars state “immediate action” as the importance for the “fitting of pannier bags and pillion seat conversion sets”. Now one would assume that this would be done during a rebuild. But in an article in “The MotorCycle (July 29th 1943), there are pictures of a WD/C being rebuilt at Marble Arch. The pictures show different aspects of the rebuild: this looks like a “major rebuild” to me. But the (nearly) finished motorcycle still has an old carrier (without provision for pannier frames) fitted! On April 20th 1942 Enfield received a demand (contract C/14329) for 4.000 pillion seat conversion sets (pillion seat, footrests, rear carrier, pannier frames, fieldstand). I have also found an interesting document that had been issued by the Royal Enfield factory in October 1943: “Motor Cycles, Solo, Type WD/C 350 cc SV, Instructions for fitting Pannier Rack and Pillion Seat conversion sets”. This document lists the contracts for which these fitting instructions were meant: C/5107, C/5654, C/6125, C/7182, C/8136, C/8732, C/11463 and C/12429. (Why are the contracts C/7890 and C/7945 not mentioned?) There is a footnote about the contract C/8732 (3.000 motorcycles) at the bottom of this instruction sheet. Machines with frame numbers # 15501 to # 16000 were supplied without panniers and pillion seat, the remaining 2.500 machines (frame numbers # 16001 to # 18500) did have panniers, pillion seat and a horizontal field stand! The picture below (source: Stilltime Archives) shows a WD/C from contract C/8732 and although there’s no direct relation between the frame number and the census number for the WD/C models, the census number does show us that this motorcycle comes from the second batch, with panniers, pillion seat etc. No doubt this picture was taken because of the new pannier frame setup! But: one of the motorcycles in my Register (# 18318) still has “matching numbers”, and its post war history is largely known: after the war it was stored until a Military Vehicles enthusiast found it some years ago. Some of the paint on this motorcycle is still the original paint, and the original “contract plate” is still wrapped around the rear carrier! And guess what: this WD/C does not have the pannier frames rear carrier, but the “early” WD/C rear carrier!!! Very strange… Oh, and as for the colours: theoretically we can say that the original colour that was applied at the factory was Khaki Green No. 3 for all the WD/D, WD/G and WD/C motorcycles. The new Standard Camouflage Colour No. 2 arrived almost at the same time as the WD/CO. The early WD/CO models (until approximately halfway contract C/12425), and the early WD/RE models (until approximately halfway contract S/1945) were painted in S.C.C.2, but all later WD/CO and WD/RE contracts were painted S.C.C.15 (Olive Drab). This goes for Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy contracts. But in my Register I have a couple of motorcycles that can give us some more precise information about the date when Enfield started using S.C.C.2 (because their stocks of K.G.3 had run out): frame number # 12828 was despatched on December 1st 1942, and was still painted in khaki. Frame number # 15432 was despatched March 27th 1943, and was originally brown… Jan
  13. I fully agree with Bob! You've done another splendid job Ron! 👍👍👍
  14. But please keep in mind that this was not the correct way to specify the speedo cable...
  15. Funny to see that you have been taking more or less the same pictures as I did Ron!
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