Welbike

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Welbike ID

Sergeant Gordon Davies, 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion at Bulford, Wiltshire, England. He is astride a Welbike Mk. I (no rear fender) on January 5 1944. He was apparently working in the Battalion Orderly Room. Canadian DND Army photo 27889.
Welbike article Maroon Beret Nov 1985 p 1.jpg (256180 bytes)
An article I wrote many years ago on the Welbike for the MAROON BERET magazine of the Canadian Airborne Regiment which was later disbanded in 1995. 
Welbike article Maroon Beret Nov 1985 p 2.jpg (118674 bytes)
I no longer live in Saskatchewan at that address. 
 
British Airborne Forces Display in WWII including two Welbikes. 
 
Mark I Welbike WD # C4658731 in its special container - end-on view. Right hand picture is Imperial War Museum photo H27060. 
 
The same Welbike Mark I WD # C4658731  in a special container. Note that it says MOTOR CYCLE on the side of the container. Imperial War Museum photo H27061.
 
Welbike in its special container. Detail - Note that it is not the normal round CLE container.
 
Soldiers assembling a Welbike, likely during training. 
 
 
Training with the Welbike before Nov 18 1943. Note the super rare Sten Mk. II bayonet carried by the man on the right in both photos. These photos are proof that they were issued. Circa 1943-44.
PHOTO ENLARGES
The same two airborne soldiers training and passing Welbikes over an obstacle - a fence. Circa 1943-44
PHOTO ENLARGES
 
Polish Paratroops equipped with Welbikes and BSA airborne (folding) bicycles. Circa 1943. They are carrying the Sten Mark II (T and Skeleton butt styles) which were replaced  by the Sten Mk. V for airborne use by mid-1944.
 

YouTube videos of restored Welbikes (not mine)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6YDGoGqiO4&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snOeKyUdO68&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3L0_TIn0jQ

 

WELBIKE NUMBERS AND MARKINGS

Vehicle Serial Number

Engine Serial Number

Welbike Mk. II serial number 3839 Engine XXE 4065 on Welbike Mk. II 3839

War Department Number (WD Number)

 

 

Colin Stevens' first Welbike Mark II - since sold to another collector

Serial Number: 1253

Engine Serial Number: XXE1463

Engine SN: 1463

 

War Department Census Number: C5152053 (?)

Second Contract, # S.1649 Ordered 19 Nov 1942 Delivery starting in Feb 1943 at 400 machines per month.

 

This Welbike was acquired in the Summer of 2006 from Brian Marshall of San Leandro, California. A previous owner had painted it blue with white trim and had the number "14" on the rear fender and on the added siren. It appears that it was used by the Shriners in parades. I would love to have photos and more history on the Shriners' use of these Welbikes - especially No. 14.  Welbike Mk. II SN 1253 as uncrated, August 2006. Note the spare parts that came with it. The seat is not original.

Welbike ex-Shriners in Calif - Owner BA.jpg (698524 bytes)
A virtually identical Welbike to 1253 except that this one has no siren fitted. This one was used by the Shriners in California and it is now owned by Brian Asbury in Ontario, Canada. A Mk. II.
 
A third ex-Shriner Welbike is owned by Reg Hodgeson in Edmonton. Partly restored. A late Mk. II
 
 
 
IMGP5596_edited.JPG (306102 bytes)
The Welbike as it arrived in the shipping crate 2006 August.
IMGP5599_edited.JPG (743425 bytes)
Spare tire and front wheel over gas tanks.
IMGP5602_edited.JPG (811989 bytes)
IMGP5607.JPG (536831 bytes)
Right side
IMGP5606_edited.JPG (423108 bytes)

Front view

IMGP5616_edited.JPG (518876 bytes)

Flag mounting bracket for parade use on rear wheel, left side.

Colin Stevens' second Welbike Mark II

My Second Welbike - a very late production Mark II

 

Serial Number: 3839

Engine SN: XXE 4065

War Department number (original): C5154639

 

Third Contract, # S.1946 ordered 27 December 1942 and delivered 400 per month starting in May 1943.

 

Purchased from Mr. Massacci in Warren, Ohio in November 2006. He found it about 30 years ago when he was demolishing a house. He had the salvage rights and found this Welbike which had been sprayed with oil to prevent rust by a previous owner. The tires have split due to sitting on flat tires, the clutch lever is missing and the dome cover for the air filter is missing. Otherwise it is all there and all original - paint, decals and even the War Department number C5154639.
My second Welbike in between Brian Asbury's two restored Welbikes in Milton, Ontario. - November 2006.  Note the original brown colour on mine.
 

Colin Stevens' Third Welbike

A Welbike Mark II, purchased from Mr. Noel Soulsby in Australia, near Melbourne. The seller inherited it from his Uncle who bought it in new condition war surplus after WWII with the intention of his Aunt using it to drive between the house and the shop a few hundred yards away. Apparently it was used very little. The seller repainted it but left the WD number visible.

Frame Serial number 2348

Engine SN XXE 2606

War Department: C5153148

Contract:: It has a contract data plate but I do not yet know what that says.

Reference book "From Welbike to Corgi" by Peter Miller indicates that this Welbike was made on Second Contract # S.1649 dated 19 November 1942 for 1,400 Welbikes. 302 of these were boxed for export - likely this was one of those 302. The cost per Welbike on this contract was GBP 26.18.0 (26 pounds, 18 shilllings and 0 pence). These Welbikes were delivered on 16 March 1943.

 

 

 

 

 

WELBIKE PROTOTYPE OR PILOT MODEL

(Owner: ? Sold by George Clark to someone in Holland)

SERIAL NUMBER: 2

ENGINE SN: XXA 23191

WAR DEPARTMENT NUMBER: May never have had one.

 
For many years it was believed that Bob Coult had the only surviving prototype or pilot model Welbike to survive. Estimates were that 3 or 6 had been made. Evidence now suggests 13 were made before the army contracts.

This Welbike was found recently (2005-2006) in Oregon at a collectors show. It was painted red, missing the rear wheel, grips, handlebar locking nut and some other items. George Clark recognized it and bought it. Rebuilt by Pat Papworth of Tsawassen, BC, Canada in 2006. Painted green with incorrect British airborne formation sign on one tank.


Evidence indicating its prototype or pilot model status:

  1. Distinctive rounded petroil tanks.
  2. Serial number is simply a large " 2 " (painted over by chap who rebuilt it)
  3. Round tubes for foot rests
  4. XXA serial number of engine rather than production XXE number.
  5. Front steering column release catch is fore and aft not angled to side as on later production models. 
  6. No doubt other differences will turn up.

Does anyone know the serial number of the prototype which survives in England?

 

Engine SN (turned 90 degrees to ease reading.

WANTED BY COLIN STEVENS

1. Welbike seat (May be able to use a typical British m/c seat such as a BROOKS or TERRY.)

2. Clutch lever. (Prefer original but would consider an accurate replica).

3. Original manuals for the Welbike.

4. Original Welbike photos, stories and parts. 

5. Spare Welbike wheels (8") [Corgi wheels may fit] and spare inner tubes and tires 12-1/2" x 2w-1/4" DUNLOP CARRIER.  

(Stories should record source to give some validity)

 NOTE: If you have original Dunlop Carrier tires with your Welbike, KEEP them even if you put modern tires on your Welbike as the original correctly marked tires are no longer available. 

FOR SALE

REPLICA WELBIKE MANUALS 

Rob van Meel

(Groucho Publishing) 

Fabriekstraat 10, 5038 EN Tilburg, Nederland

Telephone (+31) 13 535 3612 

Fax (+31) 847 392 382

E-mail: rvanmeel (at) wanadoo.nl

Prices in Euros.

EXCELSIOR

100EM1   -             100/EM1         Welbike drivers handbook (30 p.)                                         3,-

101EM1   -             101/EM1         Welbike maintenance manual (37 p.)                                   5,-

43EM1     -             1649/2/1          Welbike spares; C1649 (Frame no's: 1214-2613) (12 p.)   1,50

46VI1       1946      -                      Villiers Junior-de-Luxe instructions & spares  (16 p.)          2,-  

 

REPLICA WELBIKE PARTS

Lex Schmidt in Holland had the following parts available. 

  1. New batch of tyres (tires).
  2. Reproduction pumps

In a short while Lex expects to have 

  1. Silencers (mufflers)
  2. Petrol caps 
  3. Pressure vent caps.
 
Lex Schmidt, Holland.
 
Tel. +31653593238
 
Fax. +31302211611
 

 

 

 

 

Colin Stevens seaforth72 (at) gmail.com

 

VISITORS: Hit Counter since 2006-08-24. 

Page was created long before that date however. 

 
Copyright Colin Stevens Updated: August 24, 2008
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