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Dunkirk 80 years ago ww2. This week i will add some of my original Dunkirk photos.

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Here's the September 1939 Norton 16H, (all matching numbers, confirmed by the Norton Ledgers, thanks Rik, Rob and Jan!) as found, well I replaced the wheels, and added a headlamp, for the looks, as the wrong (Belgian prewar) wheels were fitted, it even runs, but needs restoring, I don't think the engine and/or gearbox has ever been out of the frame, since it was built! all original hardware present, and am quite pleased with it! have already found the missing parts, so will be easy to restore, there even is a bullet hole or strike in the rear carrier, lot's of Khaki green No.3 under the black paint, but alas no makings at all on the tank.

Looking at the timeframe of things, it was built in September 1939, went over with the BEF, saw action in France and Belgium, was left behind in the April? 1940 fighting, and presumably dragged away from the place it was left by a nearby farmer, hidden for the occupying Germans for 5 years, then another 4 years to make sure the Brits didn't come back to search for it, and then it was registered in 1949, and presumably used by the farmer, I will go back there, to ask if they know anything about it of course, but it's the French speaking part of Belgium, so need an interpreter, Jan, Rik?? 

So, that's the story so far, it would be interesting if the picture of the bridge is the same bridge, but it could be somewhere else altogether!

Also look for more WD Norton info on Rob's excellent website: Norton wd 16h and wd big4, British military motorcycles of world war 2 (wdnorton.nl)







Edited by welbike
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Not so sure now Jan, the church steeple will surely have been replaced, and may look different, the only picture of the bridge, prewar I can find is this one, and I checked all bridges on the Schelde from the French border to Gent, but nothing like it.

It could be a whole different river, or in France, but will keep looking.



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Apart from this photo, there are very few that that show signs of fire, which surprises me, as apart from draining the sump etc, setting fire to vehicles is good for destroying things quickly after the crew have left their vehicles and joined the queue for the ships. As there was enough smoke already on an easily identifiable beach I don't buy the idea that it would have drawn more attacks from the Luftwaffe than they expected.bedford burnt out beach.jpg

Edited by LarryH57
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On 10/16/2021 at 11:21 PM, T8Hants said:

My mate said they didn't want to give away the exact positions of the collapsing perimeter, by burning them as they arrived, also burning vehicles would have hindered movements within that perimeter, but he was expressly told not to burn his lorry.


Some more photos from my collection of burnt out veh.


scrap yard austin car.jpg

BEF scrap yard 1940.jpg

bef trucks 1940 scrap.jpg

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Hi @Morris C8 Keith.

I put some time into trying to trace this, without success, except to say it is in Paris.

This time it is not a needle in a haystack, but a needle in a pile of needles, with some missing.

Café  Biard was a chain of Parisian coffee shops. There were 15 or so in 1900, and far more by 1940. This article explains more:


I checked the addresses listed, there were a couple that looked promising, but the Hausmanian architecture of Paris is all very similar, and I could see detail differences on the building across the road each time. Also, roads like Ave de Sevres have been heavily redeveloped. Finally, I searched for period postcards, and that threw up even more addresses, so I admit defeat.

Best Regards,


Edited by Le Prof
I before e, except after c. And except when it isnt! (Sorry for the misspelled name, Keith).
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