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Hello and a marking question

Hi all,

My name is Raimondo Bogaars and I am a passionate WWII researcher for the foundation Erfgoed 40-45, gemeenten Valkenswaard en Waalre.
A few weeks back I became the proud owner of a BSA m20 project bike which is now in the process of being restored by me.

I have been reading this forum for a while and noticed a few threads about markings. One stating that formation sings weren´t painted on motorcycles from 1941 onwards. As I am planning to make my bike one portaying the 3rd Bn. Irish Guards my guess is that the GAD logo would go on the drivers left hand side and the formation sign (if being carried) on the drivers right hand side.

Between the pictures in the foundations collection that are made in area of the foundations interest (Valkenswaard-Waalre region in the Netherlands) there are a few motorcycles to be spotted wearing different kind of markings. Some dohave formation insignia on the bike.


This is a bike from the 3rd Bn. Irish Guards (Notice the 62 on the fender) on the 18th of September 1944 in Aalst (Waalre) during the liberation. If you look very sharply the decal of the GAD could be spotted faintly on the tank below the number. There is no proof if there would be a formation side on the other side of the tank so that is the big question mark.


This picture is made late 1944 early 1945. It is a unidentified R.A.S.C. unit in the village of Aalst. The formation sign which is carried normaly on the right hand side can be seen on the lefthand side of the bike.


This picture that is also made late 1944 early 1945 is of a despatch rider of the Royal corps of signals. Also made in the village of Aalst. Notice the formation side being placed above the tank number.


This bike, like the others photographed late 1944 early 1945 in Aalst has no clear signs showing, but still carries the BSA logo.


And this picture I am just adding for the tanknumber collectors. This is a unit that was billited in Aalst late 1944 early 1945 and in the background there is a motorcycle fuel tank to be seen. In other pictures of the unit you can spot several other motorcycle parts laying around. So there was a deffinitly somemotor repairs going on in town.

Thanks for reading,


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Re: Hello and a marking question

Sorry I can't help Raimondo, but thank you for the very clear pictures.
You'll have the experts on here picking over the details for months.


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Re: Hello and a marking question

Raimondo, you have mixed the terminology unfortunately. The "Formation Sign" is the Divisional or higher formation sign (Corps, Army, Army Group etc.) In this case it would be the Guards Armoured eye on a shield. These were officially instructed not to be displayed on motorcycles from 1941 onwards. I can't really see on the image you have posted what the possibly overpainted marking on the left side of the fuel tank is.

The other marking which should be on both sides of the tank is the Arm of Service marking. This comprised a coloured background (colour being dependent upon type of unit and seniority of brigades within the division). On this background was an AoS serial which indicated precisely which unit was applicable.

Re: Hello and a marking question

Thank you for that makes things a bit clearer.

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Re: Hello and a marking question

This machine was owned by a chap in South Wales about 25 years ago, I'm not saying he got it right but it looked pretty good.




email (option): robmiller11(a)

Re: Hello and a marking question

Looks very good indeed!

Thanks for that.

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Re: Hello and a marking question

The Guards Armoured Division was formed in 1941. According to War office Instructions, they shouldn't have displayed a formation sign on motorcycles. As a tribute, it's fine but in terms of historical accuracy, it would have to be demonstrated by photographic evidence.

Less is often more when it comes to later-war motorcycles. No need for formation signs. No markings at all is fine too, but will require even more explanation to the general pubic !

Re: Hello and a marking question

I completely agree Rik that there was an official proper correct way of doing things, but we know the rules weren't always followed, sometimes a picture will turn up to prove it, but even then we don't know if an item of insignia on a uniform or vehicle was very quickly afterwards removed on someones orders.

The BSA pictured above is very late war so quite incorrect for the Market Garden opperation he was interested in and I seem to rememder he was dressed as Brian Horrocks at that show riding that machine.

I would quite like to do a Dunkirk anniversay one day on my Big4, but it will have a 1941 serial number so maybe it would be inappropriate?

It certainly would have been helpfull to traffic controllers in combat areas for motorcycles to carry formation signs, but it would also have been usefull to the enemy.

But today its up to the owners to present their machines as they want to, maybe with a written explanation of what is artistic licence.


email (option): robmiller11(a)

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