The BSA Bantam: something worth crowing about

With a Silver City Airways Bristol Freighter in the background, Edward Marshall of Horsham sets off on a journey to Australia

When the internet was a far-distant dream (or nightmare, according to your point of view) and relatively few people had a telephone, the quickest way to send a message was by Post Office telegram.

The ideal machine for delivering these brief strips of messages, particularly in built-up areas, was the simple, light and reliable BSA Bantam, and over the years more than 4000 were delivered for this purpose.


As they buzzed around our streets, the bright red machines became a much-treasured British institution – and it was on one of them, at the age of 15 and with total disregard for the law, that I rode a motorcycle by myself for the very first time.

The invitation came from a friend who’d just become a telegram boy, and the brief but exciting excursion ended ignominiously in a bed of nettles.

Read more in the March issue of OBM

Enjoy more Old Bike Mart reading in the monthly paper. Click here to subscribe.