and Home Front Living History Group (Incorporating the A.T.S.)
Oxfordshire Home Guard
HOTCHKISS M201/FORD MB REPLICA 1956 - The jeep is a bit of a bitser having probably been built in France from various Willys, Ford and Hotchkiss parts after the war and either sold off in the 50s or kept in store by the French military "just in case". There is no real history with the jeep, however, it has been restored to represent a British jeep belonging to the Royal Signals and attached to the Tyne Tees Regiment in recognition of the owner's northern roots.
c1936 250cc J11/22 AJS price £38 18s – A small capacity lightweight ohv single cylinder machine made at Plumstead, SE London by Associated Motor Cycles Ltd (AMC). Valve gear is open to the elements with 6 grease nipples for lubrication (every 200 miles). The white paint and headlight mask are to comply with the Wartime Emergency Lighting Regulations applicable to UK motorcyclists for WW2.
During the early war period all motorcycles qualified for 2 gallons a month petrol ration*. (Sales literature for the AJS mentions 100 to 120mpg). The front light has a Hartley Pilot headlight mask (costing 16/6d in 1941**). Home Guard volunteers had to use their own petrol and motor cycles for duty. The speed limit was 20mph at night and despite this, nearly 1200 people were killed in one month***.
* Motorcycling magazine January 18th 1940
** The MotorCycle magazine September 4th 1941
*** The MotorCycle magazine March 17th 1940
The Royal Enfield Flying Flea two stroke motorcycle was a development from the 1930s German DKW RT 100 motorcycle.
In 1942 the War department began testing the "Flea" knowing that Airborne forces required much needed transport and mobility.
A robust tubular steel cage with a Parachute was designed in order to successfully drop the flea from aircraft.
From 1943 the WD / RE Flying Flea was also transported in troop carrying gliders and beach landing craft and became a common sight during the war
Royal Enfield Flying Flea
"The P stood for Project or Post-war, the 2 is the evolution and the ‘12’ is the RAC rating for size of the engine.
Rover introduced an open tourer on the 12HP chassis early in 1947. They had lost most of their records and drawings during WW2, so they acquired a 1934 Sports Tourer to use as a pattern. Only 200 were built of which it is believed there are still around 34 in existence. This model was used in the film “The Enigma”.
The 1947 Tourers were intended for export only, but all 200 were fitted to right hand drive chassis, so inevitably some including my own found their way onto the home market. My car was first registered 23/1/1948 in Kendal, Westmorland.
Rover was known as the “Poor man’s Rolls-Royce” because of the quality and standard of workmanship and was often used by professionals such as doctors and vets".
250cc J11/22 AJS
Rover P2 12HP sports tourer.
500cc BSA WM20
MATCHLESS G3L 350cc 1942 - The bike was recovered from a shed on the Isle of Man in 2005 and restored over the next 10 years. Judging by the original paint the bike was used in Egypt or the Middle East prior to being sold off into civilian life, probably in the early 1950s. It is a really lively performer and was seen as the best ride by most despatch riders.
1942 Bedford MW 4X2 15 cwt General Service Truck
Lock down project "Tom" T26071908 Home Guard Fighting Vehicle.
Woodcote platoon 5th OXF in true Home Guard Tradition decided to build an armoured car.
The vehicle would be named "Tom" to commemorate Local Defence Volunteer Tom Jewitt who was killed on duty on the second of June 1940 aged just 32 years.
To find a 1940's car and take a grinder to it would be an expensive option so it was decided to procure a scrap car and build it from that.
We settled for a Vauxhall Corsa as there was one in the village that needed to be scrapped and was free to collect
The next thing we had to consider was what to build it out of?
Cholsey & Wallingford Railway were about to burn some packing cases they had no use for so they kindly donated them for the project.
The engine and gear box were scrapped and the finished project is now a trailer allowing us to tow it to future events.
This is what we came up with and we hope you like it, we had a lot of fun building it.
Built by Sgt Michael A Quigley & Pte Mark Taplin photos by Cpl John Hadfield
BSA WM20 500cc 1945 - The bike was purchased as a barn find in Aberdeenshire in 2015 unseen. It has been restored over the last 6 or 7 years. The bike was sold from military use in the 1960s and probably used on the farm as cheap transport. The BSA was the most common motorcycle used by the military and whilst being rather "agricultural" was a very reliable plodder.
Vehicles Available To The Unit
Austin Tilly (1943/44)
AUSTIN UTILITY (TILLY) 1943/44 - Tilly was recovered part restored from Perth Western Australia in June 2021. Final assembly and testing should be complete by April 2022 and be ready for duty. Based on the Austin 10 saloon Tilly's were used primarily for communications and light cargo duties although, amazingly, some were fitted with twin machine gun mounts or a Bren gun. Most famously the Queen used an Austin Tilly to commute between her MT training school and Windsor Castle during World War 2. There is no known history to the vehicle other than it was part of a contract for a total of approximately 30,000 Tilly's destined for the Army and Navy of British Commonwealth forces during WW2 from 1939 to 1945. It was generally replaced by the Jeep.
In 1935, Bedford began the development of a 15 cwt truck for the British War Office. The distinctive square nosed Bedford MW first appeared in trials for the War Department in 1937 and this example entered service in late 1942. By the end of the war 65,995 examples had been built and the MW appeared in a bewildering range of roles such as a tanker, personnel carrier, wireless truck, gun mounting and anti-aircraft gun tractor.
It gained a reputation as reliable, robust and easy to work on machine which served in all arms of the forces.