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1918 Harley-Davidson in British use during WWI?


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The RE Museum has posted the following image on their timeline and it clearly shows a group of British Motorcyclists/DR's on a 1918 Harley, larking around for the Camera. I wasn't aware that the British used these bikes towards the end of the war and just wondered if anyone had any info on their acquisition/usage?

 

 

BritishWWIHarley.png

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I don't think so. The cap badge is RE, shoulder title is RE (not RCE) and it did, after all, come from the RE Museum archives. Sadly their archives are packed up pending a massive re-org so then can't provide any additional info at this time.

 

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Is the registration number British ? 'BM' was a Bedfordshire series issued 1903 to 1920, but the use of dark letters on a slightly lighter background is a puzzle, or has something occurred to the negative ?

It's either a foreign or civilian registration which probably means that it's not an issue motorcycle.

Here's another Harley though (from eBay a while ago)...Presumably they were quite available surplus as soon as the Americans returned ? Cap badge looks to be RE again.

Zenith.JPG

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I wondered about the Reg as well and wondered if it was just a straight BM for British Military. That said though I think they simply used civilian registration for vehicles in the early days, so maybe it is Beds.

 

Thanks for the photograph, any idea what year this was taken. The do look like RE cap badges but will save it to HD and see if I can't zoom it in Photoshop.

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Typically for eBay sales, no background info at all. 'AT' was a Kingston upon Hull that ran from 1904 into the 1920s - probably only used on motorcycles. The bike in the background is a Zenith-JAP with 'Gradua' gear so presumably not military...

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l have a few sales catalogues from the 1919/20 for sales ordered by the government property disposal board there are a number of motor cycles with civilian registration numbers a batch of DOUGLAS   two and three quarter hp   CE 254/421/172/170/252 INDIAN SP 1386 most are identified also by engine number 

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