Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Military Motorcycles

Canadian Military Motorcycles

Lieutenant G. Murray Williams, HQ Company, 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, riding a Matchless G3L, 350cc OHV, 1943 contract motorcycle, during the advance from Lembeck through Coesfeld, Germany, 30 March 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3588776)

Data current to 5 Jan 2018.

The author's uncle, Frederick Walter Estabrooks, served with the Canadian Provost Corps in Europe during the Second World War.  Fred described using a number of different military motorcycles during his service as a policeman and despatch rider during the war, and this led the author to investigate what they were.  A number of useful photos of Canadian military motorcycles in service during the Second World War can be found on the Library and Archives Canada website, and a few of them are included here. 

Canadian military motorcycles have been in use with various elements of the Canadian Forces since at least 1908.  For specific and detailed information on the subject of the Canadian use of military motorcycles, the author highly recommends the 2010 book put together by author Clive M. Law.  He has compiled an impressive history on the subject with the title "Military Motorcycles in Canada", Service Publications, Box 33071, Ottawa, Ontario.  Clive recently passed away, but his son is keeping his stories alive, through his website at www.servicepub.com.

Motorcycle driven by Capt Hopkins, Niagara Camp, Ontario, 28 June 1916.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395155)

Motorcycle with side car, Ammunition Park, June 1916.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395143)

Pte C.M. Johnston, CASC, Aug 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3217200)

Motorcycle with side car, 1st Sanitary Section, Apr 1919.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3404980)

Canadian soldier training in England with a Harley Davidson Motorcycle, ca 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3613154)

Canadian soldier trainee riding a Norton motorcycle during a despatch riders' training course, Bordon, England, 1 May 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225476)

Four motorcycle Bren gun teams of the Royal Montreal Regiment taking part in a training exercise at Petworth Camp, England, 28 April 1942.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3593052)

Despatch rider Private J.W. King (left), who is riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, accepts a pigeon message from Corporal J. Hanley, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (RCCS), England, 10 February 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3228795)

Harley Davidson Motorcycle, ca 1941.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3581804)

Harley-Davidson Type WLC 1942 motorcycle, ca 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3613098)

Harley-Davidson Type WLC motorcycle, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.  (Author Photos)

Norton 16 H motorcycle, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.  (Author Photos)

Brigade Sergeant-Major R.M. Cooper of the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade, riding a Norton WD16H motorcycle, Carpiquet, France, 12 July 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3613349)

Canadian soldiers training with Norton motorcycles.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607582)

Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa on motorcycles near Caen, France, 15 July 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3226327)

C Pro C members of No. 2 Provost Company on Norton 16H  motorcycles, Fleury-sur-Orne, France, 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3231487).

Canadian soldier in England training with a Norton motorcycle, ca 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3613153)

Canadian Training School No. 3, OCTU Wing, motorcycle class for officers, ca 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3613156)

Norton motorcycle,  RCAF, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 7 Dec 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3392467)

Triumph TRW motorcycle, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.  (Author Photo)

Canadian soldier training in England with a Harley Davidson Motorcycle, ca 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607514)

Motorcycle class for Canadian Officers  training in England ca 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3613155)

Despatch riders of the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, Worthing, England, 7 January 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225486)

Despatch rider of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (RCCS) riding a Norton motorcycle during a 4th Canadian Armoured Division training exercise, Aldershot, England, 11 January 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3534713)

Lance-Corporal J.D. Robillard of The Royal Regiment of Canada passing a sign which reads "Lend Your Dough To Finish The Show - Buy V Bonds", Putte, Netherlands, 14 October 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3524408)

Motorcycle with Lewis gun in a side car mounting.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3613174)

Motorcycle with side car, with soldiers taking part in a training exercise in England, ca 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3613163)

Motorcycle with side car, with soldiers taking part in a training exercise in England, ca 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3613164)

Lance-Corporal Bill Baggott sleeping on his motorcycle, Falaise, France, ca.13-14 August 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225761)

Bombardier W.J. Black of the 1st Field Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (R.C.H.A.) pushing Sergeant-Major Jimmy Walker's motorcycle out of the mud, San Pietro, Italy, 26 November 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3206627)

Trooper A.A. Coulombe, 14th Armoured Regiment (The Calgary Regiment), resting on motorcycle, 3 Oct 1943.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3191584)

Lance-Corporal Don Fife of No.2 Provost Company, Canadian Provost Corps (C Pro C), on a motorcycle en route to Falaise. Fresney-le-Puceau, France, 12 August 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3231574)

Canadian despatch rider taking cover from snipers, Buron, France, 7 July 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3227170)

Canadian despatch riders near Tunis, Tunisia, July 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225483)

Despatch riders of the 48th Highlanders of Canada, England, 19 April 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225484)

Regimental Sergeant-Major Jack H. Davies gives instructions to despatch rider Trooper Dave Dodds, Worthing, England, 6 May 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3238635)

Despatch rider Frank Shaughnessy of the 2nd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA).  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3202240)

Personnel of No. 2 Provost Company, C Pro C, on their motorcycles, Falaise, France, 13 Aug 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225470)

Trooper Allan Hemphill, a despatch rider with Headquarters Squadron, Governor General's Foot Guards, rides his motorcycle through a muddy field south of Udem, Germany, 26 February 1945(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3616806)

Private F. Jones of The Royal Canadian Regiment repairing his motorcycle near Militello, Italy, 18 August 1943.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3228779)

Craftsman C.S. Keith, 11th Infantry Brigade Workshop, Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME), repairing a motorcycle, Groningen, Netherlands, 28 April 1945.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3526654)

Triumph motorcycle, 532176, on display in the New Brunswick Military History Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.  (Author Photos)

Matchless G3L 1942 motorcycle.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3613093)

Sergeant Gordon Davis of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, riding a Welbike lightweight motorcycle used by airborne forces, Carter Barracks, Bulford, England, 5 January 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3298166)

Welbike lightweight motorcycle used by airborne forces, on display in the New Brunswick Military History Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.  (Author Photo)

RCCS Despatch Motorcycle Team, Montreal, ca 1960s.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4234090)