An illustrative melange

WHILE RESEARCHING MATERIAL for this timeline I’ve come across shedloads of pics which lack an exact date or background information. Rather than leaving them to moulder away unlooked at, here they are. The illustrations are in an approximation of chronological exactitude; I’ve grouped the Indian, Harley and ‘other US’ pics together, ditto the pacer and Great War images, but in general this is just a box of old pics to browse through for your pleasure. Motor cycles and motor cyclists from out past, they live on in our memories. A great many of these pics appear courtesy of my chum Francois, who has an astonishing archive of motor cycle photos and postcards including many from France, Germany and the USA. Many more of his illustrations may be found in the Leicester Phoenix MCC’s excellent site lpmcc.net which is required reading for any touring/rallying enthusiast. Francois’ contributions are to be found in the galleries of rally badges/reports and, primarily, in his commendable Memories of Yesteryear. I’m obliged to Francois and to Ben at lpmcc.net for allowing me to reproduce the Yesteryear series which you can reach via the main menu. I update this gallery regularly so you might care to take a regular look-see. If you happen to have information on any of these pics for use as captions, or indeed pics you’d like to see included get in touch via motorcycletimeline@gmail.com.

UNKNOWN FOUR
I’ve put this tidy in-line four here, rather than in the timeline proper, because I know nothing about it. If anyone out there can date and identify it I’d be much obliged.
1900S RACING TRIKES
Messrs Osmont and Fossier on the racing trikes that were, for a time, leaders of the racing pack.
1904 RIGAL
This worthy is named Rigal.
1900S FRENCH PACER
Cycle pacers used some monstrous engines to achieve the speeds they needed to fulfil their role, but judging by that lump of 2×2 this is a static posed pic. For your delectation, here’s a selection of pacers…
1900S PACER ANGLO-FRENCH
PACER JULES THE
The rider in this nicely posed shot of a pacer, Jules Thé, was equally at home on a racing motor cycle.
1900s CISSAC PACER
Another champion motor cyclist aboard a pacer: Henri Cissac set a number of world records (you’ll find details elsewhere in the timeline) and, judging by the postcard caption he and cyclist Tommy Hall had just set a cycling record too.
PACER LUCIFER
There’s something of the cyberpunk about this streamlined pacer which, according to the caption on the original postcard, was dubbed ‘Lucifer’. Messrs Luthier and Brunier set a world one-hour record at Montléry; presumably the device on Lauthier’s back was a receptacle for Brunier’s forehead.
1900s BIG PACER
PACER 2-SEATER
1900s PACER TANDEM
PACER FOSSIER
PACER GRUBER
1907 GERMAN WOODEN TRACK
PACER MOREAU
PACER NASO
1900s PACER GUIGNARD
1900s PACER SALZMANN HEIDELBERG
1900s PACER Vélodrome de Tours
This one was taken at the Vélodrome de Tours.
1900s PACER WALTHOUR
PACER WITTIG
1913 PACER
1904 PACER DEVILLY
1900s PACER COLOUR
1900s PACER HARTWIG
1900s COOL PIC

Pacers were huge; racing motor cycles were lighter and more nimble…

1900s CHAMPOISEAU
French racer Champoiseau doing his thing on a wooden velodrome.
1900s PERNETTE
Another velodrome French daredevil; this is M Pernette.
1900s US GRAPPERON
Andre Grapperon was a French champion boardracer, pictured here during a visit to the US aboard his Anzani-powered Alcyon. Note that he won a race at Evreux, in Normandy, at 71.4mph.
1900s ALCYON RACER
Road racing flourished on the Continent during the first decade of the 20th century; here are two more Alcyons; the rider looks much like Grapperon.
1900s CONTROL POINT
1912 2ND FRENCH GP SCHWALM TERROT
1912 2ND FRENCH GP SCHWALM TERROT
GREAT HILLCLIMB PIC
1890ish SMUDGER JEAN GILLETA + DE DION
Photographer Jean Gilleta with his De Dion trike.
1900s TRIKE FRANCE
1900S TRIKE
1908 QUAD
1903 TOUR DE FRANCE
1909 US MIXED GROUP
1910s CAMERA GIRLS
1910ish SOLO TRAILER
1900s SCAR EXPEDITION
1910s FAMILY TRIKE
1910s HUMBER TWINS
1900s ?MINERVA
1910s OLD BIKE FLAT CAP
1910s GERMAN IN HAT
1910s PIPEMAN
1912 CHAMPION MC + WIRELESS
An on-bike entertainment system, circa 1912.
1910s BRADBURY
This enthusiast looks proud of his Bradbury, and I don’t blame him one bit.
1905 EAGLE TRICAR
HULL ACU RALLY...?
This postcard was marked “Hull ACU Rally”. It’s clearly pre-WW1 which is decades before the first ACU National Rally; is this a Hull-based club? Let’s hope they enjoyed their run.
1900s ST PARDOUX LA RIVIERE
This bike is pictured next to a heavy haulage rig in the village of St Pardoux la Riviere in the Dordogne.
1900ish LAON AVENUE DE LA REPUBLIQUE
Laon, in north-west France, was the medieval capital of the Carolingian kings; it had clearly quietened down a bit by the time this rider appeared.
1910s FRENCH VILLAGE COLOUR
Carqueiranne is a seaside resort in Alpes-Côte d’Azur, in south-East France; note the hand tinted sky.
1900ish UNE ENTREE DE PARIS
“Une entree de Paris” was the caption on this postcard.
1909 MOTOSACOCHE?
1903? POSTCARD BIKE
As the postmark shows this snap dates from 1903. Finistère is on France’s north-west Atlantic coast; Quimperlé is a flourishing city. The bike is a 1903 FN.
1910s 3 FNs
Best known of the FN family, the in-line four.
1900S BIANCHI AD
1903 LA VIE COVER
1910s 6PS MODEL
1910s COUPLE IN HATS
1910s FLAT TWIN BOATER BMW Helios or Victoria
1910s GIRL IN HAT
1900ish PETROL TRIKE
1910s BRIT LADY COMBO
1910s FLYING DUTCHMAN
This smartly turned out couple are clearly enjoying a jaunt on their combo, but what is it? The name on the tank is Flying Dutchman; is it a one-off? We may never know.
1910s BREAKDOWN CARD
CARTOONS LAP
1910s GIRLIE BREAKDOWN
1900s BREAKDOWN CARD
1910s COMBO ARMBAND
1910s COMBO GROUP
1910ish 2WICKERSCARS
1910s CONTAL TRIPORTEUR
The Contal Triporteur was a familiar sight on Parisian streets with a tradesman’s box up front (the Brits generally opted for tradesman’s sidecars). Prinarily designed for stop-start deliveries, of course, but a couple of heroes took a beefed-up version on the 1907 Paris-Peking rally. The made it home by train (find out more in the 1907 page).
1900S COMBO
1900S DUGGIE
1910 PALMTREE
1910s FAST RACE
1910s LOTS OF HATS
1910ish 'NANCY' POSTIES?
This snap was taken in Nancy and seems to show a group of posties.
1910ish 2 NIPPERS CAPS
1920ish 2 UP NIPPERS
1919 TERROT LAD
1910 3 BIKERS
1910 FN4 NIPPER
1910s FRERA NIPPERS
These nautical nippers are mounted on an Italian Frera, which was in production for exactly half a century from 1906; when this snap was taken it was one of Italy’s leading marques.
1910 LINE-UP
1910s KEPI RIDER
1910ish BEEZA
1920ish CAP TACHE
1920 ALEXANDER (DOUGLAS) @ DE SARTHE TRACK
1910ish DUGGIE + COMBO
1910ish NEW HUDSON
1910ish TRIUMPH
1910s 2UP
1910s AKIMBO
Next time you’re astride a moden motor cycle and wishing you could put both your feet flat on the ground, remember that seat heights used to be lower…sometimes much lower.
1910s BASKET SCAR
1910s BEEZA
Note the foot-guard (surely too small to be called a legshield) at the front of the footboard. A reminder that in those pre-tarmac days keeping road mud away from the rider was at least as important as the weather-protection gear we fit nowadays, which is why legshields were once more common than windscreens.
1910s CRASH
‘Action’ shots were hard to get in the days of whole-plate glass negatives but a French snapper managed it during this long-distance trial.
1910s DUGGIE
1910s FAMILY COMBO
1910s FRENCH DUO
1910s KEPI
1910s KEPI
1910s LIGHTWEIGHT TOURER
1910s MONTARGIS TRICAR
1910s OHIO MCC
No details to hand of this group, except that the riders were members of an Ohio club.
1910s PEUGEOT
In the early years of the 20th century Peugeot twins were almost unassailable—one powered Rem Fowler’s Norton to victory in the first TT—but most, of course, were installed in roadsters.
1910s PILLION NIPPER
1909 TWO CHAPS PATH
In 1909 two chaps went for a ride. I hope it was a good one.
1910s RACER
1910s TERROT
1910s VERSCHAEVE
No date on this one, but the rider on that daunting velodrome is Verscaeve, ‘The demon of Liege’.
1910s PARTING
1900S EAGLE
1900S INDIAN 8
1900S INDIAN 9
1900S SCAR W OWEN
1910s 2 WOMEN 1 SCAR
1908 CHAP IN CAP
1900s 2 UP
STARS&BARS
Our colonial cousins to the west of the pond have a rich motor cycling heritage…
1900S SPRINGFIELD INDIAN DEALER
“No sand too deep, no hill too steep”…the freedom of motor cycling…
INDIAN LOGO
…Here are some more members of the Indian tribe…
1916 INDIAN DEALERSHIP
US DUSTY INDIAN DEALER
1920ish INDIAN FAMILY ONNA COMBO
A nice day to take mama and papa out for a sedate jaunt on the Indian combo
1920ish INDIAN LEANING COMBO
…but this is one combo with a dual personality: it leans on corners. The rider’s cap is back-to-front to handle some spirited roadburning and the passenger doesn’t look impressed.
1900s US INDIAN
1900s US INDIAN 2
1900s US INDIAN 3
1900s US INDIAN 4
1909 INDIAN HORSE
1910 INDIAN COMBO IN SNOW
1900s US INDIAN 5 1913
1900s US INDIAN 6
1900s US INDIAN 7
1900S US INDIAN 8
1900S US INDIAN 10
1900S US INDIAN 11
1900S US INDIAN 12
1900s INDIAN PILLION
1900s US INDIAN AD
1900s US INDIAN MORE
1900s US INDIAN NIPPER
1900s US INDIAN NIPPER
US INDIANS KID IN HAT
1900s US INDIAN CAMELBACK
1904 INDIAN CAMELBACK
1910s 2 INDIANS CAPS
1900s INDIAN SNOW
1910's INDIAN Arthur Moorhouse
Not just an Indian, nor just any Indian rider. This is Arthur Moorhouse with the Indian he rode to 3rd place in the 1911 Senior TT.
1907 INDIANS IN A GROUP
These chaps were out on a spree in 1907.
1911 INDIAN TEAM DAYTONA
Also from 1911, this is the Indian team on their happy hunting ground, Daytona Beach.
1912 INDIAN GLENN
This is Harry Glenn, pictured in 1912 against the almost sheer surface of the Atlanta Motordrome.
MURDERDROME
Racing the boards on an autodrome—these board tracks were chillingly known as ‘murderdromes’ in response to their safety record.
1910s INDIAN SCAR YOUNGUNS
1910s INDIANS WEDDING
When Indian riders married, the tribe went to church.
1912 INDIAN SIDEWALK GROUP
1920ish US INDIAN TOLEDO OHIO
1914 INDIAN VETERAN
This veteran was pictured in 1914. It’s a sobering thought that he might have fought in the war between the States, when Springfield was know for firearms rather than Indians.
1915 INDIANS HEADLIGHT
This smartly dressed youngster was pictured in 1915, just a couple of years before the US doughboys headed for the Western Front.
1920ish US INDIAN MG COMBO
No, not a Great War outfit—this Indian machine-gun carriage is in the hands of police officers. The Brits had to make do with their truncheons.
1913 INDIAN 1000 FRENCH GP VANELLA
This 1,000cc Indian, ridden by a chap named Vanella, is pictured at the 1913 Grench Grand Prix.
INDIAN AMADEO RUGGERI
This pitstop, clearly in Europe rather than the Stetes, depicts an Indian rider named Amadeo Ruggeri.
1910S US INDIAN RACER
1921 INDIAN - HENRY HAMMOND
1910s US INDIAN OUTFIT
1910s US INDIAN RICHMOND IL
1926 COUSINS HENRY & ERIC BECK & CRIBB
This photo, and the two that follow, were taken in 1926. Say hello to cousins Henry Beck and Eric Cribb.
1926 INDIAN
1926 INDIAN RAILWAY
INDIAN FLIER
US INDIAN 4
Two pots good…
1921 INDIAN RIDER
US INDIAN BAUDETTE
US INDIAN COOL CARDI
US INDIAN GUY IN SPECS
US INDIAN SIDESADDLE
US INDIANS SITTING
1910s US INDIAN SINGLE DIRT STREET
1910s US INDIANS 2 SINGLES
1920s US INDIAN
1920s US TWIN RIDER
INDIAN RACER SPATS
1920s INDIAN HELMETS
1920s INDIAN WHITE CAP
1920S INDIAN WOMEN
1910s INDIAN COUPLE
1916 INDIAN 7HP COLOUR
1916 INDIAN 7HP ENGINE COLOUR
1910s INDIAN GRANNY
US INDIAN SCAR WHEEL UP
1910s INDIAN ON BRIDGE
1910s INDIAN IN LEATHER
1920ish INDIAN
OLD US 2
1920ish INDIAN LINE OF 4
1920ish INDIAN WOMAN BOOTS
1900S US INDIAN BATHING BELLES

It would be rude to leave out the Harley boys (and girls)…

HARLEY LOGO
1900s US HD WOMAN COLOUR
1920ish INDIAN YOUNG COUPLE
1900S US HARLEYS
1900S US HARLEY 2
1900S US HARLEY 3
1919 HARLEY COMBO
This Harley combo with its delightful sunshade for the passenger (who is presumably wielding the camera) was pictured in the first year of peace.
1919 HD
Same year, same marque.
1900S US HARLEY 4
1900s US HD
1910s HARLEY 2 BONNETS
1910s HARLEY BIG CAP
OLD US 4 HD
OLD US 5 HD
OLD US 6 HD
1900s US HARLEY 3UP
1900s US HD FAMILY
1900s HD STUDIO PIC
1900s US HARLEY 4 RACERS
1900s US HARLEY RACER
1920s HARLEY RACE TEAM
1910s HARLEY TEAM
Harley teamsters Jim Davis, Maldwyn Jones and Irving Janke.
1915 HARLEY BRIER
Bill Brier was another Harley ace; he’s pictured at the Sioux City track in 1915.
1922 HARLEY CUP
This Harley rider, with his cup on the front of his bike (just like Brando in The Wild Ones) was pictured in 1922.
1900s HARLEY 4UP
1919 HARLEY COMBO CARD
1920s HARLEY FAMILY
1910s HARLEY YOKELS
1920S HARLEY FAMILY SCAR
1920s HARLEY FATHER SON
1920s HARLEY WOMEN SCAR
1920s HARLEY BULBHORN
1910s HARLEY DESERT
1920s HARLEY SHUTTERS
1914 HARLEY SCAR FISHERMEN
1915 HARLEY 'DODGE CITY'
1910s HARLEY 2 YOUNGSTERS
1910s HARLEY FADED
1910s HARLEY FLAGS
1905s HARLEY BY WATER
1910 HARLEY PIPELINE
1910s ANOTHER HARLEY
1910s FAMILY HARLEY SCAR
1920s HARLEY TILTED HAT
1920ish US HARLEY VERANDA
1915 HD TRIKE
1910s US HARLEY SCAR KIDS
1910s US HARLEY WINDMILL
1920ish HARLEY IN WHITE
1920ish HARLEY SMART COP

And in those days Indian and Harley-Davidson didn’t have the Stateside market all to themselves…

THOR LOGO
1900s US THORS-HD
The Thor riders are clearly having a jolly time with the twin and the single; their Harley chum seems to be sulking.
1910s US THOR
1915 THOR
THOR 1913 BONHAMS
This example is still on the road.
FLYING MERKEL LOGO
1910 MERKEL EAST COAST DIRT TRACKS RALPH DE PALMA
Ralph de Palma campaigned a Merkel on East Coast dirt tracks; this snapshot dates from 1910.
1900s MERKEL
Flying Merkels made their name on the motordromes but there were plenty of them on the road too…
1910s MERKEL AD
1910s MERKEL
US FLYING MERKEL
CLEVELAND LOGO
1920s CLEVELAND 4 RACER
POPE LOGO
POPE ALBERT
The Pope cycle (later motor cycle) company was established by Civil War veteran Colonel Pope; his son Albert was the main man behind the motor cycle business.
1900s POPE

1900S US POPE
1900S US BIG TWIN
1910 POPE KIDS
1910s POPE HC
1910s POPE TWIN RACER
1916 POPE
SEARS LOGO BIGGER
From the mid-1890s until 1993, Sears and Roebuck Co produced a mail order catalogue offering anything from clothes to fire arms to the plans and materials to build a house. And from 1910 until the US belatedly entered the Great War the range included rebadged Thiem and Thor motor cycles.
SEARS COLOUR
OLD US SEARS
1900S US SEARS
YALE LOGO
1909 YALE WINNERS
Even today, averaging 20mph over a 600-mile run demands a little effort; in 1909 on dirt roads this team of Yale riders from the Chicago MCC earned their trophy.
1900S US YALE
YALE STANDING CHAP
CYCLONE LOGO
1915 CYCLONE
EXCELSIOR X LOGO
1900S US EXCELSIOR COMBO
1910 EXCELSIOR US
1914 EXCELSIOR COUNTRY FOLK
1920s EXCELSIOR IN SNOW
1900S US EXCELSIOR PILLION
1900S US EXCELSIOR
This Excelsior shows how the pillion seats of the time were mounted over the carrier…
1900s US EXCELSIOR DUO
…and an Excelsior clearly had room for two strapping chums.
1920s US EXCELSIOR HILLCLIMBER
1918 EXCELSIOR WOMAN
“Miss Agnes Goudy of Los Angeles is another member of the fair sex to adopy the motorcycle as the ideal means of travel and recreation during the war.”
1920s US EXCELSIOR LEATHERS
1915 EXCELSIOR
This Excelsior, carrying what is presumably a club pennant, dates from 1915.
1914 EXCELSIOR X
1920s 2 EXCELSIOR RACERS
As well as making stylish roadsters, Excelsiors were competitive racers.
1911 EXCELSIOR RACER
1920s EXCELSIOR-HENDERSON PLANT
This is the Excelsior-Henderson plant.
CURTISS LOGO
1900S US CURTIS BLACKHAWK
Here’s a rarity: a Curtiss, and the nipper who had it, and flogged it. Check out the original press agency caption, below.
1910 CURTISS BLACKHAWK CAPTION U
EMBLEM LOGO
1910s EMBLEM MIRROR
EMBLEM COLOUR
1915 US EMBLEM
1920s EMBLEM TEAM
1900S GOGGLES
1910s TWO US EXCELSIORS
1920ish US EXCELSIOR GOGGLES
1900S US ?
1900S US PHONEMAN
1900S US NEARLY LEGIBLE
WAGNER LOGO
1909 2 WAGNERS
Two Wagners, both built in 1909, one pictured in 1909, t’other as it looks after 113 years.
1912 WAGNER
This excellent studio portrait dates from 1912.
WAGNER WOOLLY HAT
1915 WAGNER
This Wagner was around in 1915.
READING STANDARD LOGO
1920s READING STANDARD KNEELING
1915 READING STANDARD
This is the 1915 model Reading Standard.

And here’s an assortment of snaps of Americans and their motor cycles starting with, inevitably, Harleys vs Indians:

1920s HARLEY AND INDIAN
US TWO RACERS
SAN DIEGO HUNTER COMBO
With a big twin, a canoe for a side hack (as our colonial cousins described their sidecars) and his trusty longarm, this hardy pioneer was clearly able to live off the land.
1910s HARLEY FISH COMBO
…and while these smartly dressed chaps look less like pioneers, their outfit is still just the job.
1910s LOBSTERS COMBO
“Scarcely tempting now—but when they are broiled there is nothing better than broiled lobsters. Mrs John E Hogg, wife of the well known writer, shows off a few of the day’s catches.” Fowl, fish, lobsters, outfits brought home the bacon.
1910s YANK MOBILOIL COMBO
1910s YALE MERKEL INDIAN
This indoor portrait features a Yale, a Merkel and an Indian, as well as a rather cute puppy.
1910s US DEALER GROUP
1911 OUTFIT CAMPSITE
1920s US WOMAN IN BOOTS
1907 US 4POT+CAR
1914 SEATTLE
Seattle, 1914 and what seems to be the start of a road trial.
1920ish RACE @ SYRACUSE
1920S DIRT RACE
1910s US GROUP
1915 US SMILING GROUP
These cheerful chaps were pictured in 1915.
1920s DIRT TRACK SCAR
1910s US MAIL + WOMAN
1910s US 2 COMBOS
1920s US HILLCLIMBER CHAINS
US ANACONDA DELIVERIES
US DEALER POPE EXCELSIOR
1910s GROUP AT BIKE SHOP
1900s BIG GROUP
1910s 3 WOMEN COMBO
1910s FRENCH COMBO

That was fun, but now, let’s get back to Europe.

1900ish GROUP
1900s BRITS IN FRANCE?
1900s GERMAN
1900s HORN & CAP
1900s LWT PILLION
1910s FRENCH FIREMEN
1900s MALAY-LE-GRAND
1900s RURAL FRANCE
1900s VINAY
1900s NO GAS
1900s OLDER RIDER
1900s OUTFIT BERET
1900s PEUGEOT
1900s PUCH COMBO
1900s LE MANS
This tri-car was pictured at Le Mans; judging by the competition number this elegantly dressed chap was engaged in a rather gentil race.
1900s VELODROME BIKE CAR
1900s 4POT
1900s FOSSIER
1900s FRENCH RACE
1900s MOTO REVE
1910s OPEL LAD
1900s SOLDIER
1900S US JACKSONVILLE FLA
1900S US POSED
1900S US SUIT
1900S US TINNER
1900S US TOLEDO OHIO RACER
OLD US 1
1900s HIGH BOOTS
1900s FAMILY
1910s COMBO SMART COUPLE
1900ish TRIKE FAMILY
1900s 'UNEXPECTED BREAKDOWN';
“An unforeseen breakdown. To become engaged it’s good to hurry—parents must be asked for the one we wish to marry.” (Apologies to French speakers, not least Fanfan, for the clumsy translation.)
1900s BREAKDOWN FRANCE
The French seem to have been worried about the effect of breakdowns on engagements (and, yet again, sorry for the schoolboy translation): “Crack! No way to move forward—what will my fiancee say? Damn this breakdown, you will destroy my happiness!”
1900s FLIRTING
Another fine studio pose, but this enthusiast seems to be having more luck with his lady love.
1910s COMBO GIRLS
1910s GERMAN
1900s RIDER
1910s GREAT TRIKE
TWO TWINS
1910s PEUGEOT
1910s ZENITH GRADUA
1900s FIREMAN
TRIUMPH TRUCK
1900s CIRCUIT DE L'EURE
1900s COMBO HAT
1900s COMBO HAT 2
1900s 2 BRIT GELS
1910s CANOE SCAR
TERROT FACTORY
This pic, and the next two, are of the Terrot factory which was at one point the biggest in France. The marque was established in 1901—these snaps date from 1902—and survived into the sixties.
TERROT FACTORY 2
TERROT FACTORY 3 1902
1900s TERROT RACERS
Terrot fielded a formidable factory racing team.
1900s DION BOUTON FACTORY
This postcard depicts the start of a shift at the DeDion Bouton factory.
TRIUMPH COVENTRY
…and here’s an equally historic site: Triumph’s original home in Coventry (until 1940 when noisy neighbours from the Luftwaffe inspired to a move to Meriden).
1900s SHELL AD
1900s GLORIA AD JAPAN
Yes, there was a time when Japanese enthusiasts bought their motor cycles from Coventry.
SUNBEAM LADIES COMBO
Clearly a keen motor cyclist, Yvonne Degraine was an Olympic (100-metre) swimmer.
1900s DURAND POSTCARD
1900s FORECAR AVEC TACHES
1900s TOURNOIS MOBILITY TRIKE
1900s TRIKE+TRAILER
1900s FRENCH SCENE
1900s FRENCH TWIN
1910 DR
In the years before the Great War a number of enthusiasts volunteered to take their bikes to Army manoeuvres to demonstrate their practicality. This snap dates back to 1910.
WW1 LOGO
Here’s a selection of images of motor cycles and the chaps who rode them in the Great War. Many of them are courtesy of my chum Francois; you’ll find many more WW1 pics in his Images of Yesteryear.
WW1 ANGLO-INDIANS
WW1 BELGIAN
The uniformed Belgian doesn’t look much older than the nippper on the bike.
WW1 DR AW
WW1 DR ACTION AW
WW1 FRENCH DR
WW1 DRs SHELLED AW
WW1 DR UNDER FIRE
WW1 FRENCH POLIUT SHOTS ALLEYMEN
WW1 POILUTS SUR LE PONT
WW1 COLOUR CARD DR
WW1 COLOUR DR
WW1 DR PORTRAIT
WW1 CYCLIST
This is rather poignant; a pedalling poillut pays his respect to the French equivalent of Chelsea pensioners; they’d have won their spurs in the Franco-Prussian war that had left a generation of young Frenchmen eager for a rematch.
WW1 CLEMENT AD
WW1 TERROT WD AD
WW1 CONTI AD
WW1 WD SILHOUETTE
WW1 DR DIRECTED
WW1 AUSTRIAN WD CARD
WW1 DRs ON DUGGIES
1915 WD DELIVERY
WW1 JERRY WDs GASMASKS
WW1 3 PIX
1916 GERRY DR
WW1 JERRY DR LEATHERS
WW1 FRANCAIS
WW1 MG COMBO DESERT
WW1 MG SCAR
WW1 MG AA
WW1 1914 RUSSIAN AA COMBO
A Russian combo in a nicely posed anti-aircraft propaganda pic, and here are some more Russian DRs…
WW1 39th TOMSK INFANTRY REGIMENT
These Russian machine gunners are from the 39th Tomsk regiment.
WW1 1915 BRIT MG SCAR
This combo, pictured in 1915, is crewed by Tommies.
WW1 LEWIS GUN SCAR
WW1 COLOUR MACHINE-GUNNERS
1916 WILLS CARD
WW1 CARD DR
WW1 CARD MG SCAR
WW1 RUSS2
WW1 RUSS4
WW1 RUSS5
WW1 RUSS6
WW1 RUSS3
WW1 RUSS7
WW1 ROMANIAN DR
This Romanian DR seems to be need of air in his rear tyre.
WW1 1915 BELGIAN WD
WW1 1915 DR CARD
WW1 1915 FRENCH WD GROUP
WW1 1915 BERLAUXDIAUX
For once a name to go with the picture: this poilut is one Henri Berlaudiaux, photographed in 1915.
WW1 1915 GERRY WD
WW1 TWO DRs
WW1 WANDERER DR
These immaculately turned out Germans and that pristine Wanderer indicate that this photographer was nowhere near the front line.
WW1 1917 FADED TRIUMPH POILUT
WW1 1915 RUINS @ THANN
This is Thann in north-east France, circa 1915.
WW1 TWO-UP CONTINENTALS
WW1 WICKER FRENCH SCAR
WW1 MOTOSACOCHE SKIS
WW1 US AROURED SCAR
WW1 YANKEE MG SCAR
WW1 US MG SCAR IN MUD
WW1 HARLEY WD
WW1 US SPEED BOYS
WW1 EXCELSIOR SCAR
WW1 SUNNY US SCAR
WW1 US SCAR
WW1 YANKS FRENCH VILLAGE
American DRs ride through a shell-torn French village.
WW1 1918 BIG US GROUP
WW1 1918 CAMP WADSWORTH
WW1 US WD SCAR
WW1 DOUGHBOYS SCAR
WW1 1916 US DRs TRAIN
American DRs in training, 1916.
1917 CAMP DODGE IOWA
1917: Doughboys under training at Camp Dodge, Iowa.
WW1 US SCAR GASMASKS
WW1 DOUGHBOYS COMBO
WW1 GANG OF YANKS SCAR
WW1 HARLEY SOLO IN CAMP
WW1 US PUTTEES
1917 US KITCHEN
WW1 SOLO SCAR
WW1 HARLEY+TRUCK
WW1 YANK ON A BEEZA
This doughboy had the good fortune to experience the delights of a Brummy Beeza…
WW1 DOUGHBOYS SCAR COLOUR
WW1 POPSIE COMBO
…but he’d doubtless have agreed that his comrade was more fortunate.
WW1 1918 DRs FIRING PRONE
Nothing known about this striking pic, but it’s clearly posed; not least because the photographer would have been a sitting target. (And I bet the DRs hated being ordered to lay their bikes down.)

Here are three images of Candians who were in both world wars from start to finish, and whose role is sometimes overshadowed by their North American neighbours.

WW1 1918 CANADIANS BRITISH COLUMBIA
The bike’s obviously from Milwaukee but these lads are training in British Columbia.
WW1 CANADIANS CAPT HOPKINS NIAGARA CAMP ONTARIO
Nice to put a name to the face: this is Captain Hopkins, trying a Duggie for size at Niagara Camp, Ontario.
WW1 CANADIANS CROOKALL & SMITH MOHAWK ONTARIO
The combo’s from Springfield, Mass, but these lads are braving the winter in Mohawk, Ontario.
WW1 BIKE WITH RENAULT TANKS
WW1 BERET DR
WW1 ?ITALIAN COMBOS
WW1 COMBO ? INJURED
WW1 BASKET SCAR
WW1 WICKERWORK SCAR
WW1 DR FRONT OF WALL
WW1 DUGGIE RIDER
This urbane Douglas rider sports non-WD leather gaiters; is he a civvy? An off-duty DR? No idea. In any case, that’s an impressive headlamp…
WW1 HOUGHTEN
…but not as impressive as the searchlight on the front of this Rudge Multi.
WW1 RFC RUDGE MULTI
Another Rudge Multi, in this case ridden by an RFC officer.
WW1 MILITAIRE COMBO
1917 INDIAN AMBULANCE
WW1 FRENCH SCAR AMBO
WW1 PORTUGUESE AMBO
WW1 AMBULANCE COMBO
WW1 MEDIC TRIUMPH
This British sergeant and his Trusty Triumph both displ;ay Red Cross badges. Mobile first aid? I have no idea.
WW1 COLOURISED DRs
The Triumph on the left bears a ‘Signals’ emlem, for the Royal Signales Regiment? Maybe, but that’s not the Signals regimental badge. Maybe the armbands indicate that this rider is involved in some sort of military exercise. Again, I really don’t know. The youingster on the right has fitted dropped bars to his Trusty, which indicates a sporting background.
WW1 SIGNALS DR
Another WD mount bearing the legend ‘Signals’. Motor Cycle’s Bob Currie, who was a DR with the Royal Signals in World War 2, was of the opinion that only Royal Signals riders were entitled to call themselves Despatch Riders. Lesser mortals, he averred, were properly described as ‘motor cycle orderlies’.
WW1 US REDCROSSCOMBO
WW1 RENE GILLET AMBULANCE SCAR
WW1 MC AMBO PIC
WW1 US RED CROSS
WW1 US AMBO SCAR
WW1 RED CROSS CONVOY
WW1 WD 'SCOUTS' TROPICAL?
WW1? GERMAN DR
WW1 ANOTHER DR
WW1 DRs RENE GILLET
WW1 TOULOUSE
WW1 CHARABANC
WW1 3 JERRIES SOLO
WW1 SERGEANTS THREE
WW1 2 UP LIGHTWEIGHT
WW1 7TH CAVALRY
WW1 AA BADGE
WW1 AUSTRIANS + PUCH
WW1 BRIT DRs
WW1 FRENCH BASKET SCAR
WW1 FRENCH BASKET SCAR2
WW1 HELMET DRs
WW1 MOTO REVE
WW1 NSU JERRIES GASMASKS
WW1 NUMBER PLATES
WW1 PARADE
WW1 POILLUT SUR TERROT
WW1 SMILING JERRIES
WW1 STUCCHI
WW1 RIFLEMAN SCAR
WW1 OZ + SMLE
WW1 RIFLEMAN

The Graphic was a British weekly illustrated newspaper published from 1869-1932; in 1915 it published a series of photos under the heading ‘Dare-Devil Riders’ in Training for the Front.

WW1 TRAINING 1
“By their splendid achievements at the front, the motor-cycle despatch-riders earned from out soldiers the proud nickname of the ‘Dare-devil Riders”. Many a road-hog ‘knut’ of yesterday took to ‘screaming’ under fire along the rough roads of France and Flanders, while hundreds more were in training in England.”
WW1 TRAINING 2
“Despatch-riders using their motor-cycles as shelter and cover. With the two machines forming the sides of the improvised shelter, they are roofed with bundles of faggots and foliage, which effectively screen both man and machines from reconnaitring aircraft.”
WW1 TRAINING 3
“An ambush of motor despatch-riders in training. They are lying in wait for a ‘suspected’ motor-car that they have received orders to search. The men are armed with Service revovlvers.”
WW1 DR IN RIVER
“The difficulties and dangers of motor despatch-riders are legion, and their strenuous, invaluable work has been the subject of much praise in the course of the war. Frequently the country through which they have to travel is full of obstructions, bad roads, water-logged byways, etc. But the modern scout on his iron steed is able and willing to go anywhere, even trough a flood as seen in this striking picture, a feat one time regarded as impossible with an air-cooled engine.”
WW1 DRs 3 SNOW PICS
“With our despatch-riders over the icy Pennines.”
WW1 FRENCH DR
WW1 SCAR SOMME MUD
WW1 POW HELPS DR
A Jerry POW helps keep a Don R on the move.
WW1 POILLUT DUGGIE
WW1 WANDERER 1916
This Wanderer was pictured in 1916.
WW1 TRUMPET
WW1 SMILING DR TRIUMPH
WW1 CONTINENTAL DR
WW1 FRENCH? DR
WW1 INDIAN MG SCAR
WW1 ANOTHER DR
WW1 3 DRs
WW1 CANADIANS TRAIN
‘Somewhere in England’ Canadian trainee dispatch riders about to set out on a run to prepare them for active service on the Western Front.
WW1 BELGIAN DRs
WW1 BELGIAN DRs PARADE
WW1 TOMMY POSES
WW1 FRENCH RIDER
WW1 FRENCH SOLOIST
WW1 BEEZA + GUNS
WW1 DR POSES BY BENCH
WW1 FRENCH WD COMBO
WW1 FRENCH WD COMBO 2
WW1 ISMAILIA BRIT DRs
This snap was taken in Ismailia, Egypt; these Tommies were part of the forces defending the Suez Canal.
WW1 1915 5TH OZ LT HORSE
The Empire rallied round the flag: these stalwarts rode with the Fith Australian Light Horse.
WW1 1915 BILL HUMPHREYS
It’s good to put a name to the face. Pictured astride his Beeza in 1915 is Sgt Bill Humphreys of the RFC.
Here’s Bill again in 1917 with his off-duty mount, and Indian. With those dropped bars and slash-cut straight-through exhausts it might fairly be described as a cafe racer (it was only six years earlier, in what must have seemed another lifetime to Bill and his comrades, that three of the Springfield twins had taken top three spots in the Senior TT).
WW1 TRIUMPH DR COOL
WW1 MYSTERY DR
WW1 TWO UP
WW1 1915 DR
WW1 ANON BEARD
WW1 TWO-UP
WW1 US COMBO OFFICER
WW1 FRENCH WD GROUP
These poilus were serving with the 66th Infantry Regiment of the French army.
WW1 US MG SCAR
A Great War machine gun outfit in colour? Americans, of course.
WW1 US GUN SCAR DESERT
WW1 ACKACK SCAR
Machine gun outfits were pressed into action as anti-aircraft platforms…
WW1 DR + PILOT
…while in the absence of radios in aircraft DRs were busy delivering orders and collecting reconaissence reports.
WW1 1917 PIGEONS
Pigeons were a reliable method of communication and motor cycles were a reliable way of getting them where they were needed.
WW1 PIGEON BACKPACKS
WW1 1917 US HD PIGEON TRAILER
WW1 CRONE SCAR
This magnificent contemporary illustration carried the caption “…during the great German spring offensives of 1918.”
WW1 DR REFRESHED
Another fine illustration, this one (in The Graphic) was originally captioned: “British despatch rider halts for welcome refreshment in a partly ruined French village occupied by British troops.”
WW1 JOHNBULL COMBOJPG
Entente Cordiale, with John Bull firmly in the saddle.
WW1 RFC GIRL
Some RFC oficers enjoyed the services of chauffeuses with P&Ms.
WW1 RAF P&M SCAR
In 1918 the RFC became the RAF. The uniforms changed but officer transport was still handled by plucky gels and P&M combos.
WW1 RFC P&M TRIO
WW1 P&M WOMAN DR
WW1 PANTHER CHAUFFEUSE
WW1 LOVERS
Ok it’s a posed pic, but still a charming one. Bless ’em all.
1920s 2 FLAPPERS
Peace broke out and so, it seems, did these American flappers and their cannine chum…
1920s CANNINE PILLION
…not that sensible Englishmen needed sidecars to transport their terriers.
1930s DOG IN SHOE
But on the other hand…(yes I know, this one’s a tad anachronistic but it seemed to fit here).
1920s JAP-SEAL
I was going to suggest that her pillion is giving the Excelsor-JAP its seal of approval, but I thought better of it.
1920s AK TIDDLER
1920s ANON
1920s PARIS COMBO
1920s BIG GROUP
1920s BIG BEARD COMBO
1920s SCAR RACE START
1920s SCOTT HILLCLIMBER
That Scott seems determined to keep climbing…
1920s STREAMLINE TIDDLER
1920s TT SIGNPOST CORNER
1920s RACING COMBO
1920s JAMES TWIN PORTRAIT
1920s NEW KNIGHT
New Knight was in business from 1923-31, assembling bikes with Villiers lumps from 147-344cc as well as four-stroke 293cc JAPs.
1920s RUSH
Rush looks like an English name; in fact the marque hails from Belgium where machines were built from 1922-34. A Rush won the 1924 Monza GP, powered by a 248cc ohv Blackburne, but the firm also made its own, from 397-599cc.
1920s RUSH2
Another Rush, whose military rider has a well filled flapper bracket.
1920s ZUNDAPP
1930s DRESCH
1930s SOLDIERS
1930ish DELAGE
1930ish GRIFFON
1930s 'S'
1930s MCF1
1930s MCF2
1930ish MERAY HUNGARIAN COMBO
Say hello to the Meray, made in Hungary from 1921-44 with engines from 172-996cc courtesy of Villiers, Moto Reve, Puch, Blackburne and JAP (from 1936, according to Tragatsch, they also made their own 346cc and 496cc engines).
1920s TERROT AD
PIONEER RUN
Judging by the clothing I’d guess that this snap of the Pioneer Run, and the one below, date from the 1950s.
PIONEER RUN 2
1930ish ORLEY RACE
1925 BERT DENLEY BROOKLANDS
It’s 1925, Bert Denley is on the rough-as-nuts concrete Brooklands sped bowl on a Model 18 Norton (note the mandatory ‘Brooklands can’ silencer. The substantial leather body belt says much about the punding the track inflicted on the rider when going flat-out on a of rigid-frame.
1930ish PEUGEOT RACER SCENE
1930s CONTINENTAL RACE GROUP
1930s MONTLHREY STARRT
1930s OEC COMBO
Judging by the hub-centre-steering front end this is an OEC; the sidecar suspension is equally interesting.
1930s POST WAR? STUKA
1930s RACE START
1930S RACING COMBO
1930s STARKLE
HUCHARD
Most of the riders in this melange are shown enjoying their motor cycling: this serious chap, named Huchard, earned his keep as a despatch rider between the Soissons and Levallois-Perret factories of the tyre manufacturer Wolber. His mount is a 1930(ish) 350cc Terrot; when the snap was taken he’d covered more than 140,000km on company business.
MERAY BITZER
Here’s another 1930ish machine, and it’s a rare survivor. Meray, in business from 1921-44, was for a time Hungary’s leading marque.