Military and early postwar bikes invited to ‘Dig for Victory’ Show

The Dig for Victory Show at the North Somerset Showground, on June 10/11 will bring together all kinds of people, ideas and artefacts defining the 1939-45 period and the immediate postwar years, writes Tony Lawrence.

Military motorcycles seem to have an aura all of their own, and Tony Lawrence is seen on his Norton on a bright and sunny day.

Military vehicles, including of course motorcycles and combinations, played an important role, with dispatch riders (or Don R’s as they were known) riding Norton, BSA, Matchless, Ariel and Royal Enfield machines in every field of combat, but as the show’s timeline stretches into the postwar years, it would be nice to see these famous British names in both their civilian and military dress.

Tony’s 1940 16H Norton is a classic example of how a successful prewar design was adapted for military use. Its 500cc side-valve engine and girder-fork suspension suited prewar hill climb trials and was ideal for the rough conditions facing the armed forces.

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Modifications for military service included fitting canvas handlebar grips and removing footrest rubbers (to save this vital raw material for more important uses) and fitting blackout headlamps.

The show will also feature the American Harley Davidson WLAs that were also used by British and Canadian forces, and the organisers hope to attract German machinery such as the 750cc BMW and Zundapp combinations as well.

If you own any of these motorcycles and wish to show them off at the Dig for Victory event, you’ll be most welcome, and free entry and camping
will be provided. The showground is at Wraxhall, near Bristol BS48 1NE. Entry forms can be found on the website, and the more motorcycles the better.

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