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British Motor Cyclist's helmets of WWII

Article about: Hi Guys, this is the second pattern helmet introduced for wear by "Don R's" or Motorcycle despatch riders. The first pattern helmet was not steel but was like civvy bike helmets of

  1. #41
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    Here's a picture of helmets in use.

    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #42

    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    Great thread on Dispatch Rider lids, and a great photo of the boys at work.........!
    Regards,


    Steve.

  3. #43
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    Quote by Walkwolf View Post
    Great thread on Dispatch Rider lids, and a great photo of the boys at work.........!
    Fantastic thread. My father was a Dispatch Rider, attached to Pattons division in WW2. He was involved with the "OBOE" bomber directional system, (he was RAF.)
    Because he was attached to the Americans, he got to ride to war on a Harley!

    Regards,

    A

  4. #44
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    I'm waiting for a picture to arrive that I will post up showing an RAF DR on a harley or Indian.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    Quote by tinlid View Post
    I'm waiting for a picture to arrive that I will post up showing an RAF DR on a harley or Indian.
    Fantastic, when you get it, could you PM me with a copy?

    Regards,

    A

  6. #46

    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    Quote by aj4010 View Post
    Fantastic thread. My father was a Dispatch Rider, attached to Pattons division in WW2. He was involved with the "OBOE" bomber directional system, (he was RAF.)Because he was attached to the Americans,
    he got to ride to war on a Harley! Regards,A
    The guy in the middle with the bent nose in the above photo
    could be my Godfather.........
    Regards,


    Steve.

  7. #47

    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    Quote by aj4010 View Post
    Fantastic thread. My father was a Dispatch Rider, attached to Pattons division in WW2. He was involved with the "OBOE" bomber directional system, (he was RAF.) Because he was attached to the Americans, he got to ride to war on a Harley!
    The RAF actually used Harley-Davidson bikes quite extensively, whether they were dealing with US forces or not. Here are a couple of pictures, both showing men of 2nd Tactical Air Force in NW Europe:

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    These were Harley-Davidson WLC models, which were originally special versions for the Canadian Army, but were also purchased by the British forces. 2nd TAF did provide support for Patton's Third Army on many occasions, so this might very well be exactly what your father was involved with.

    By the way, OBOE has nothing to do with Americans or Don-Rs, it was a radio navigation system used by RAF bombers, and wouldn't involve despatch riders, or do you mean he was involved with it at a different time?

    Rob

  8. #48
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    Quote by Battery Command Post View Post
    The RAF actually used Harley-Davidson bikes quite extensively, whether they were dealing with US forces or not. Here are a couple of pictures, both showing men of 2nd Tactical Air Force in NW Europe:

    Name:  Rafwlc1.jpg
Views: 1720
Size:  24.9 KBName:  Rafwlc2.jpg
Views: 2053
Size:  33.7 KB

    These were Harley-Davidson WLC models, which were originally special versions for the Canadian Army, but were also purchased by the British forces. 2nd TAF did provide support for Patton's Third Army on many occasions, so this might very well be exactly what your father was involved with.

    By the way, OBOE has nothing to do with Americans or Don-Rs, it was a radio navigation system used by RAF bombers, and wouldn't involve despatch riders, or do you mean he was involved with it at a different time?

    Rob

    Thanks for the photos, Rob.
    You are correct, OBOE was a British thing.
    As the Allies swept across Europe, the OBOE and similar systems used radio transmitters usually located on high ground. As they advanced, the transmitters went with them. My father did mention it, though of course his role was not exclusively this. However, due to the secrecy involved, it could have been rumour/conjecture. It is what he believed anyway. Certainly, he told stories of delivering communications to remote transmitting locations, mentioning OBOE specifically, especially in the Ardennes, shortly after the "Bulge," and seeing piles of abandoned SS kit at the roadside.
    How, or why he managed to get attached to the Americans, I don't know. I do know that he was on occasion rather better fed than the average Tommy though!

    Kind regards,

    Andy

    PS. I remember him mentioning that he had a leather contraption on the front of the bike to hold a rifle, would that help identify the bike?
    Last edited by aj4010; 03-12-2012 at 04:29 AM.

  9. #49

    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    Quote by aj4010 View Post
    Thanks for the photos, Rob.
    You are correct, OBOE was a British thing.
    As the Allies swept across Europe, the OBOE and similar systems used radio transmitters usually located on high ground. As they advanced, the transmitters went with them. My father did mention it, though of course his role was not exclusively this. However, due to the secrecy involved, it could have been rumour/conjecture. It is what he believed anyway. Certainly, he told stories of delivering communications to remote transmitting locations, mentioning OBOE specifically, especially in the Ardennes, shortly after the "Bulge," and seeing piles of abandoned SS kit at the roadside.
    How, or why he managed to get attached to the Americans, I don't know. I do know that he was on occasion rather better fed than the average Tommy though!

    Kind regards,

    Andy
    There were certainly mobile OBOE stations operating (in 'cat' and 'mouse' pairs) in Europe after D-Day, which was necessary as OBOE was a very accurate, but limited range system. It was also very limited in the number of aircraft it could direct at one time. So its very likely he was right in his belief.

    His history sounded interesting, so I'm just trying to work out exactly which unit he may have been attached to. There were RAF forward radar units that were issued US uniforms when operating with American units...

    Rob

  10. #50
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    Quote by Battery Command Post View Post
    There were certainly mobile OBOE stations operating (in 'cat' and 'mouse' pairs) in Europe after D-Day, which was necessary as OBOE was a very accurate, but limited range system. It was also very limited in the number of aircraft it could direct at one time. So its very likely he was right in his belief.

    His history sounded interesting, so I'm just trying to work out exactly which unit he may have been attached to. There were RAF forward radar units that were issued US uniforms when operating with American units...

    Rob
    Thanks for the info Rob. I have his service records, but they are really difficult to decypher. I cannot recall him mentioning actually wearing US uniforms, though he did mention often that the US EM uniform was of equal quality to that of British Officers kit.

    Regards,

    Andy

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