Author Topic: first world war Douglas  (Read 7254 times)

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Offline Pete Newton

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first world war Douglas
« on: 05 Apr 2015 at 15:58 »

    Hello,  My Grandfather was a dispatch rider in Northern France during the first world war, and luckily survived his bike was an early 1914c Douglas 350 flat twin .... "I have tried to attach a pic.)"    I have a 1957 Sunbeam S8 but would love to get a bike which my Grandfather had.  When he went into the Army would he have had to sign for the bike if so would he have to have signed for a particular serial No. ?

    Please could this mail be passed around...  I would be very keen to buy one the same either complete or in bits but not a total basket case.
    Thank you for your help
                              Pete Newton

Offline Black Sheep

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Re: first world war Douglas
« Reply #1 on: 05 Apr 2015 at 17:11 »
Almost impossible to discover which Douglas your Grandfather rode. At the outbreak, some people volunteered complete with their civvy requisitioned bike. However, as a DR or other user of a motorcycle in the Army, you would be issued a bike for a day, week or month or until it needed repair or overhaul when you would be issued another one. Then of course at the end of hostilities he would wave farewell to the bike. Meanwhile, during the war, bikes were overhauled or rebuilt with unit replacements - frequently new frames - so keeping track of a particular bike would again be impossible. My 1913 Model O has no frame number which implies it had a replacement frame which may indicate wartime use. Its original buff log book doesn't even mention engine or frame numbers, just a registration number. So again, no chance of tracing a particular bike's history. One of my father's poignant memories was of having to leave his 16H Norton on the quayside at Bombay as he sailed home after the war. They just wouldn't let him bring it with him. I wonder what became of it.     

Offline Pete Newton

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Re: first world war Douglas
« Reply #2 on: 05 Apr 2015 at 19:11 »
Thank you so much for your knowledge.... I fully understand this as war was more important than the makers number on a , what was then a two wheeled piece of equipment.
   I do want to buy one of these bikes so please contact me if you hear of one ...
  Because I do not know what model he used would you be able to help on this .... I know it was a 350 flat twin belt drive and he went to France in 1915 .....  does the picture help ?
    Thanks for helping me in this initial search ..
                                                      Pete   

Offline Black Sheep

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Re: first world war Douglas
« Reply #3 on: 06 Apr 2015 at 05:39 »
Your Grandfather's bike looks almost identical to mine (see gallery for a picture). Douglas made a numerous small changes to the basic 2 3/4 HP bike over the period 1910-1920. Essentially, your Grandfather's would be a 2 speed clutchless model.
The book San Fairy Ann regarding WW1 motorcycles is an excellent reference. Of the 12,000 Douglas bikes produced for the War Office, I wonder how many survived. Maybe 100?   

Offline Pete Newton

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Re: first world war Douglas
« Reply #4 on: 06 Apr 2015 at 08:16 »
Morning Black Sheep,

      This is all very interesting stuff ..thank you .... Maybe I should buy yours ?  I am determined to find one for sale somewhere at the right price , What would you call a sensible price to pay for a nice usable example which I could tinker with but I could ride to a local show on ? 
       Do you know of any members in my area ,  Stratford-upon-Avon ?

     Thank you for all your help
                                        Pete 

Offline Black Sheep

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Re: first world war Douglas
« Reply #5 on: 06 Apr 2015 at 08:49 »
Unfortunately my one - or to be strictly accurate my wife's one - isn't for sale. Keep looking in the New Conrod, the Classic magazines and the various auctions - Bonham's, Cheffins, H&H and of course the well-known on-line one.
Price? They seem to fetch about 8,000 give or take.
Great fun bikes to ride but not much good in traffic.
Best of luck! 

Offline Black Sheep

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Re: first world war Douglas
« Reply #6 on: 06 Apr 2015 at 21:31 »
Just heard this: "There are a couple of Douglas veterans for sale at Stafford". No further details.

Offline Doug

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Re: first world war Douglas
« Reply #7 on: 07 Apr 2015 at 04:29 »
An 1911 and a 1913. Also a 1920 WD, '26 EW350, and a 90Plus project.

http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22720/ 
Sale 22720; spring auction at Stafford. Use the search tool for 'Douglas' in the lot descriptions.

-Doug


[fix typo. 07Apr15 -Doug]
« Last Edit: 08 Apr 2015 at 03:45 by Doug »

Offline Pete Newton

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Re: first world war Douglas
« Reply #8 on: 07 Apr 2015 at 10:20 »
Thank you for this ...I will follow it up ...Pete

Offline Black Sheep

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Re: first world war Douglas
« Reply #9 on: 07 Apr 2015 at 14:13 »
The 1913 one is interesting. Not a model D as Bonhams claim. It has the 1914 swirl silencer. Nice looking machine.