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Steve willys

Indian 741b

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Hi all, I have just purchased a 1942 Indian 741b, it is painted in a very old dark green colour and it has a Bakelite switch under the seat, somebody has said this means it is ex British forces, can anyone shed any more info on this

thanks steve

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Steve as far as I'm aware, the bikes would have come from the US in one of their service colours. American vehicles seem to come in either Light Olive or Dark Olive but I've never research it enough to know when/why/how?  It's possible that it could have been repainted during its military service, but I think it's very unlikely as they where all pretty well disposed of at the end of the war. Unlike some of the other British makes which sometimes saw service well into the 60's and were often over painted in post war colours. Most likely it's just be painted by a subsequent civilian owner.

The Bakelite switch was applied to most British vehicles as a means to change over the tail lamp(s) for blackout convoy work. On trucks and tracked vehicles it usually involved shutting down the tail lamps and reverting to a flood-lamp underneath the vehicle which would illuminate a white plate or axle of play a pool of light on the ground. I have one on my 741 too, but have never seen any information to explain how it was wired in, and what it actually did, since the standard switch on the tank already has a similar facility....Something we both need to find out! Ron  

741B 101.jpg

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Thanks for replying Ron, my switch just seems to turn off battery supply, it would be interesting to see if we have the same switch fitted,let me know the best way to maybe exchange some photos, there doesn't seem to be a lot of info about on these

thanks steve

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Steve I've sent you a PM with my email address.  I belong to the 'Indian Riders'club, and our founder, Mike (now in his 90's) started buying Indian 741's straight from disposal  depots after the war for 15-20 Quid each, and said they often had a switch under the saddle. He can't really remember that far back as to its actual use, but thought it had something to do with turning the power off to the coil. But again, WHY? as the bikes already have an ignition switch. It's one of those things that is not important but I'd love to solve.

Here is the standard Lucas Bakelite changeover switch. The second picture is a switch like an ordinary household light switch mounted on it's plate that Mike gave me and said he'd taken off a 741 years ago.  Ron

741B 076.jpg

741B 036.jpg

Edited by Ron

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Ron ...this is the Indian I asked you about but Steve beat me too it ! Well done Steve ..be nice to see some more pics on here!

 

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Yes I did realise that Andy "He who snoozes, looses!" Here are some shots of Steve's bike. Ron

 

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Thanks Ron....if only they could talk and tell us their story ! The delay in going to see it was  a bit more complicated than I would have hoped .I tell you the  sorry story next time I see you ! :thumbsup:

Edited by andy1960

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Hi guys anyone have any info on the correct stensals and markings for a RAF 741? My father has one and we believe it may have been used by Poland's force's? Currently in civi paint scheme. But still have the original panniers though showing there are now. Was wanting to either repaint as a RAF dispatch bike or if can get enough gen possibly in the colours and markings used in Poland. 

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I have just a few pictures of RAF 741's and I don't think there was anything specific about the markings. I guess it was just decided at unit level.  They did seem to often display a roundel. The bikes would have been supplied in service colour. (US Olive Green?)

The inspection picture in Jerusalem in 1945 is probably post war and by now it looks to me as if they have painted the left side of the tank in shiny blue with a roundel (anxious to show their true colours I expect) With a serial number on the white tips of both  mudguards.  

If I was going to depict my 741 as RAF (and it could well be?) I would paint a roundel on each side of the tank with a black serial number on white on the mudguards. No RAF records survive, so it's make it up time. The numbers that I can see in the Jerusalem picture are RAF 10108? - 10010? - 99263?   Ron

RAFaOtyDyc.jpg

RAFFkLKBA1.jpg

RAFscan-151231-0001.jpg

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hi there all,

I have a 741b which was used by the KAR, on Kenya, I also have a spare engine for one,

these bikes never had the switches under the seat, 

my fathers cousin brought approx 9 741b's, from auction in mid 50's  Kenya,

while my father and his brother brought 12 wla,, 

the Indians had been used as colonial service bikes after the war, ie police, postal and then sold, 

I was told by a older service man that Indians were still in use in 1952, when the queen was on safari, (before she was queen),

and would been part off the royal motorcade,

my indian was painted turquoise, like meny raf or navel bikes,

its since has been painted and chromed, 

id love to find more history on these north Africa campain indians

meny thanks

 

 

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RAF and RN have never used 'Turquoise'. Post-war they could have been RAF Blue / Grey or Dark Blue for Admiralty. I saw a batch of 1970s Triumph Bonnevilles supplied to Police in Kenya which came back painted light blue (most of them had only lasted about six months before ending on the scrap metal heap).

I suspect that the blue was a Kenyan Police or Government colour. (It wasn't far off 'Panda-Car' blue actually).

In general, the Indians and Harleys were found unsuitable for European conditions and perhaps more significantly, not compatible with the way that machine handling was taught by the services. Contractural obligations mean that a home had to be found for them and the far corners of the Empire away from the front lines is where most of them were sent.

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I've been told that the switch under the saddle was to turn off the brake light during blackout conditions. Which makes sense! Lots of other countries would not have needed that facility of course. However, I don't know why they didn't just disconnect the brake light........The British made bikes didn't have them. Ron

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Some photos do exist of New Zealand despatch riders in Italy in 1944 and some Aussies using them in southern France again in 1944, so at least they saw some limited action in the war

i can relax now that it wasn't Harley's that won the war 😂

Steve

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oooh that's a very nice 741 to, 

yes mine is,  its no longer blue, and was quite crudly painted in 2001, 

at first I couldn't get export docs for it in, and was going to bring it back as parts,  in the end it came to the uk,

 air freight with boxes off green beans and some okra veg,

 

currently im waiting for a few bits for it, 

 

 

 

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