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Auxiliary Fire Service Matchless

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I wonder if anyone here can help, I have just bought a 1959 ex-AFS Matchless G3. It's history shows that it was part of Home Office contract for 48 machines from the Matchless factory and was first registered in August 1959. However, my particular machine was never actually issued to an AFS Unit and it remained 'in storage' until sold off at Ruddington in July 1969. My question is; Does anyone know where these motorcycles might have been delivered to from the factory, and where might mine have been whilst 'in storage' for those 10 years? Thanks, Dave.

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I wonder if anyone here can help, I have just bought a 1959 ex-AFS Matchless G3. It's history shows that it was part of Home Office contract for 48 machines from the Matchless factory and was first registered in August 1959. However, my particular machine was never actually issued to an AFS Unit and it remained 'in storage' until sold off at Ruddington in July 1969. My question is; Does anyone know where these motorcycles might have been delivered to from the factory, and where might mine have been whilst 'in storage' for those 10 years? Thanks, Dave.

 

I may be able to help with a reg number

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I may be able to help with a reg number

 

Hi Ted

 

Reg No. is WXR 594

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Hi Ted

 

Reg No. is WXR 594

 

The Fire Service also received BSA B31's........most were purchased for the Cold War nuclear threat throughout the 50s and 60s.....many remained in store, with the odd mobilisation exercise ever few years.....all finished in a lovely dark gloss green.....

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Hi Ted

 

Reg No. is WXR 594

 

It was amongst a batch WXR 549 to 600 at the time of auction from Ruddington sale No 107 in sept 1970 it was at the Home Office Supply and Transport sub store at Wilstead. Another large Matchless batch was XYM 501 to 690 most of these and the WXR batch went through Ruddington 1969/70. Afraid I have never been able to locate the site of The Wilstead appears to be Bedfordshire but its one of a handful I have not been able to get a firm map ref for.

 

TED

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It was amongst a batch WXR 549 to 600 at the time of auction from Ruddington sale No 107 in sept 1970 it was at the Home Office Supply and Transport sub store at Wilstead. Another large Matchless batch was XYM 501 to 690 most of these and the WXR batch went through Ruddington 1969/70. Afraid I have never been able to locate the site of The Wilstead appears to be Bedfordshire but its one of a handful I have not been able to get a firm map ref for.

 

TED

 

Hi Ted

 

Thanks for that, however, another source has it recorded in Ruddington Sale 100 in July 1969? Are you saying you have records stating it was at the Home Office Supply and Transport sub store at Wilstead in September 1970?

 

I am really interested interested in trying to find out where it was for the preceding ten years prior to 1969/70, would these un-issued AFS motorcycles have been stored at Army storage depots, or did the Home office have their own storage depots?

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The Home Office had 3 major workshops that did some very in depth work in developing vehicles and equippment for AFS/CD use. In 1938 the HO commenced purchasing thousands of pump etc as part of the ARP preperations. Prior to issue to local brigades, storage was needed, So 3 large premises geograpically seperated were aquired. One was a large converted mill in Wakefield, and 2 purpose built facilities one in Greenford the other Swindon, All 3 had major workshop facilities.

In addition, Post war the HO obtained a host of storage facilities. They had 15 supply and transport depots which included workshop facilities, spare parts and vehicle/equipment stores and 29 sub stores for vehicles. Some of the depots were purpose built in the late 1940s to accomodate the ex ww2 NFS stock to be retained for future contingency and to look after the new equipment purchased from 1953 onward, others were in converted industrial premises. Most of the sub stores were in hangars not being used by the Air Ministry or on other ministries' sites loaned to the HO. There was a big ROF at Elstow - about 2 miles from Wilstead-- which post war became a Ministry of Supply storage and disposal depot ( one of several predecessors to Ruddington) , I understand they had sub sites at Wilstead, it may have been one of those that the HO was using. Since the end of WW2 the War Office later MoD have always acted as sales agents for the Home office, likewise the Min of works always acted as the purchasing agents for the HO, both sensible arrangements that saved duplication of facilitities - It was common practise that much of the AFS/CD stock being sold would remain at its storage depot, with pre auction days set aside for prospective buyers to view, but with the actual auction at Ruddington. I no longer have access to the Catalogues, but I have it as Ruddington sale 107, between the WXR and XYM blocks I have a number that were located at Wilstead they were all sold at RD 107.

There is a very slim possiblity that they were previously in the RD 100 catalogue and for some reason didn't sell- maybe the viewing location was not included previously so they didn't sell. Most items in RD 100 & 101 seem to have been moved to Ruddington for the complete disposal process. It was not uncommon for items to be in 2 or 3 auctions before they sold; the sale I recorded is that at which the vehicle actually sold.

 

 

My guess is your machine was possibly at Wilstead for the 10 years. Does the paperwork give a delivery address ex Matchless factory ??

Edited by ted angus

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Thanks for all that Ted, most appreciated. I am waiting for a reply from the AJS & Matchless Club records officer, I am led to believe by other members of the club that the records may well only say "Home Office", when I get a reply I will let you know.

 

Isn't research fun... :nut:

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Ted, One more (silly?) question, if I may. Who were the personnel who looked after and carried out maintenance on these vehicles/motorcycles whilst they were at the storage depots? Were they Army personnel?

Edited by DWS

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No they were home office employees . Forget the army etc The media created the myth with the Army's green goddesses : The AFS was a civillian org raised in response to the Civil defence act of 1948 to meet the ever growing threat from the Soviets. There has been military involvement over the years, but at all times including the national strikes of 77/78 and 2002/3 all the vehicles etc have been HO property and their use under HO control.

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Info from the AJS & Matchless Owners Club:

 

WXR 594 - "Delivered to the Ministry of Supply 16 July 1959".

 

Further Information:

 

Batch Three: 48 machines ex-factory July 1959. WXR 551 to WXR 598. The first of the three machines, frame numbers A69181 (WXR 589), A69484 (WXR 595) and A69952 (WXR 581), were taken from factory stock and the rest, between A70765 to A70810 inclusive, were made to order. 17 of this batch are recorded with the Club (as at 2007).

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I don't know Elstows history but it may have been the MoS depot there; Strangely several Mc contracts were deliverted to MoS sites then moved on to HO stores.

TED

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Ok Dave here's No. 100 to be going on with, a similar number are in 101 (to follow later).

 

App2645.jpg

 

App2646.jpg

 

App2647.jpg

 

App2648.jpg

 

App2649.jpg

 

App2650.jpg

 

App2651.jpg

 

App2652.jpg

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Thanks Clive, I really do appreciate it.

 

Dave

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Dave, I had nearly forgotten the others. Took a bit longer as something wrong with the scanner & they were very watery, so tweaked them into a more readable state.

 

App2653.jpg

 

App2654.jpg

 

App2655.jpg

 

App2656.jpg

 

App2657.jpg

 

App2658.jpg

 

App2659.jpg

 

App2660.jpg

 

App2661.jpg

 

App2662.jpg

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Hi Clive

 

Thanks for these copies of the catalogues, they are really going to be very helpful and valuable for researching the AFS Matchless motorcycles. Thank you very much indeed.

 

I'll e in touch again I'm sure.

 

Best wishes, Dave.

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my particular machine was never actually issued to an AFS Unit and it remained 'in storage' until sold off at Ruddington in July

 

Further to my first post, (which included the quoted information above passed on to me by previous owners), I have just received the results to a Vehicle Enquiry from DVLA which surprisingly included a photocopy of the main page of the original logbook that shows my Matchless WXR 594 was in fact issued to the Somerset Fire Service in 1960 and remained there until at least 1967. This puts a whole new light on its history! Moral of the story - never believe what people tell you about a vehicle's history, check it out for yourself. Cheers, Dave.

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Dave nice result. Glad you got some definitive info, very satisfying feeling when something like that turns up:-D

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Dave nice result. Glad you got some definitive info, very satisfying feeling when something like that turns up:-D

 

Hi Clive

 

Your not kidding, when I saw the entries on the logbook I couldn't believe it, it took a while to sink in. My Matchless now has a fire service history :D:D:D

 

Now the search is on for more info on its time in Somerset.

 

Cheers

 

Dave

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Dave if you were really keen & knew which stations used it, you could perhaps trawl through the archives of local papers looking for pictures of incidents. Well not just keen but had enough time as well :D

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Dave if you were really keen & knew which stations used it, you could perhaps trawl through the archives of local papers looking for pictures of incidents. Well not just keen but had enough time as well :D

 

Already started the ball rolling on that one Clive, I enjoy research and no stone will be left unturned now I know the bike has a fire service history :thumbsup:

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Hi Clive

 

Thank you ever so much, I really appreciate it, will check again in a few days.:thanx:

 

Dave

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Just an idle thought - no Royal Enfields in these lists - must have been really unpopular with the military. Cheers, Graham (who has a Royal Enfield WD/C)

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