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where did my BSA WDM20 serve in WW2


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I acquired my BSA WDM20 in 1973 it came from Dorchester in bits. I know a bit about its history. It was despatched from BSA 22/9/41 no 55109 went to the Ministry of Supply Frame No WM20 45799 and was sent in a batch of Frame Nos

44213 - 53212 delivered to Chilwell, I would like to know what happened to it after that.


here's hoping, I have since got info from Key Card as follows:-

WD.No 46 YD 39 Chassis No 45799 Converted from 1401958 Contract C9310 Unit to ASC Date 19/11/67



Can anyone tell what the numbers other than the chassis no. mean I assume it was sold in 1967 to the person I bought it from in 1973

Regards Jim

Edited by jimhull
more information didnt know how else to post
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Jimhull...I am also interested in tracing ant history on my bike and will shortly be posting the request and £25 charge to the Royal logistic corps B vehicle history card archive ...I would suggest sending as much info in a clear format to assist them in identifying if records exist for your bike ...Frame No engine no contract no ..


Good luck



Link below



RLC Museum B Vehicle History Card Archive

The RLC Museum holds the Army B Vehicle History cards previously held by the Museum of Army Transport. These cards can help trace the history of individual Army soft-skin vehicles that were in service with the British Army from the early 1940s.

The RLC Museum offers owners of B Vehicles the opportunity to obtain a scanned copy of the vehicle history card for their vehicle.

How to obtain a copy of your vehicle history card

In order to obtain a scanned copy of a vehicle history card you will need to provide THE RLC Museum with your vehicle's equipment registration number (ERM). If you only have the vehicle make and chassis number it may still be possible to find a card for your vehicle. Any other data such as the contract number and year of manufacture may also be helpful in searching for a vehicle's card.

There is a non-refundable research fee for this service. For the research of one vehicle, there is a charge of £25 (£15 for members of the Friends of The RLC Museum) and £15 for any additional vehicles accompanying your enquiry. Cheques must be made payable to 'The RLC Museum Trust Fund'. Cheques together with your vehicle's details should be sent to:

B Vehicle Records, The Royal Logistic Corps Museum, The Princess Royal Barracks, Blackdown Road, Deepcut, Camberley, Surrey, GU16 6RW

Please note:

The RLC Museum does not hold records for Army vehicles which entered service after 1989.

The RLC Museum holds approximately 170,000 B vehicle history cards. This by no means equates to a card for each soft skinned vehicle that entered service with the Army from the early 1940s to the late 1980s. Of the cards held by the RLC Museum the vast majority relate to vehicles in service in the mid 1960s and entering service up to the late 1980s. It is therefore possible that no card exists for your vehicle.






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Jenkinov and Jimhull. I would save your money if I were you. The chances of finding any war time history are virtually nil. There might be some post war info in the Key Cards. You can get that information free on the BSA WD M20 site. Just ask the question with your frame and Engine numbers, someone will tell you if there is anything to know. Ron

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I have heard from a number of reliable sources that the RLC museum has no information relating to the wartime generation of motorcycles (which were generally demobbed by the mid 1960s and they do say that "most" of their records relate to vehicles which entered service after this time).


Furthermore, they rather carefully say that the information they do have "can help trace the history" - what they don't say is that there records relate to the post 1948ish registration records and not to the old census numbers system with wartime history.


To someone rebuilding to post-war spec, any surviving records may give some clues.


The biggest problem is the non-refundable fee which applies even if they should know beforehand that there is no chance of a search being successful. To be honest, I suspect that they'd happily bank a cheque from someone asking if they had a record card for a pink fairy-cycle.


A post on the WM20 forum should bring a response from someone with access to the BAOR 'Key Cards' which may detail the last user before being struck off charge but again this will shed no light on wartime history.

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The best you can do with 99% of wartime bikes is establish the build details, serial number, service to whom allocated and delivery destination...........then you get a gap, until on the odd occasion your pride and joy features in post-war use WD records.......


I have lots of photos showing Ariel's within 300-odd serial numbers of my own bike, plus 16H's similar in everywhere from the UK to the Middle East to India...........


All I know about mine was my Ariel was found in the 80s in bits in a coal bunker in Kent......it hadn't been civilianised and was likely stripped for parts during the post-war years.......it left the factory on 10th April 1942 for Chilwell.....but there the story ends.......


My 16H was built in early 1941 to a 1940 post-Dunkirk contract.....it was found in a chicken-shed in derelict condition in New Delhi, India, during the 1990s........when I stripped her, the piston was marked on top and internally "501 IME 1945 - +20"......a bit of research established that 501 Command Workshops Indian Mechanical Engineers were situated at Chaklala, NW India (the old NW Frontier)......so, I know when it was built, and where it was rebuilt in 1945.....and where it ended up nearly 50 years later..........but it's actual history.....??? :undecided:

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All BSA enquiries can be sent to me, welbike(at)welbike.net It doesn't cost any money to see if its on the cards, only when you want a scan of the card! (and these monies are being used to further digitalize the Matchless Keycards)


Hope this helps,


Lex Schmidt


ps, nice history on your Norton WDBM!!

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