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Living History Group

1942 Ford GPW Jeep

BSA WM20

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

1940 Morris Commercial CS8 15cwt


"This Jeep was bought in 2004 from a Bolton scrap yard, totally wrecked, it took me a year to completely rebuild it.
It saw service from 1942 with the US Army  and then the US Army Air Force, at some point late in 1944 it was shipped to France where it saw out the war. After the war it was returned to the UK and sold off in. 1948.
There is no known history from this point until it was found in the scrap yard".

"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". 

1942 Humber 4x4 PU

1941 Morris Commercial 8 cwt PU

250cc J11/22 AJS

Rover P2 12HP sports tourer.


The Matchless G3L was the Dispatch Riders preferred motorcycle during WW2, the G3L had the advantage of teledraulic forks and weight reduction over the standard girder fork models
The motorcycle pictured was delivered to the War Department on 15th March 1944 under contract number S6150



The Humber was built in 1942, and saw service through the war with the British Army as a Wireless vehicle.
The Humber was the first British vehicle to have 4 wheel drive and was extremely versatile.
"I bought this vehicle from Northen Ireland in 2011, and drove it the 300 miles home without a problem.  I set about restoring it the following year to make it exactly as it should have been in 1942.
It is lovely to drive very powerful and robust".

1942 Bedford MW 4X2 15 cwt General Service Truck


The  Morris Commercial PU was built in 1941 and served through the war with the Royal Corps of Signals as a wireless truck.
This is currently being rebuilt to its factory condition and it is hoped it will join the other vehicles at shows by spring 2017

At the outbreak of  the second world war, BSA were Britain's largest motorcycle manufacturer, the BSA K-M20 started development in 1937 using a 500 cc single cylinder side valve engine with low compression and plenty of low-end torque, with additional development from 1939 the K-M20 became the WM20. 
In 1942 there was a shortage of rubber, handlebar grips were replaced by canvas and the foot rests were metal only

Vehicles Available To The Unit


The Morris Commercial CS8 was built in 1940 and was saved today by not being shipped to France with the BEF, most early British vehicles were shipped to France but left behind and destroyed  at the Dunkirk retreat.
This vehicle's wartime history is unknown but it certainly served here in the UK .

Willys Jeep

Matchless G3L

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.

This is a 1943 "barn find" jeep built by Ford that is being sympathetically restored (ie all dents and holes have been retained!) to resemble a jeep in use by the British on home ground during 1943. Equipment being added to the vehicle may not have been issued as standard but would have been of a type that an enterprising mechanic would have been able to acquire in that period and which a Homeguard unit would have found useful.