Any old and bold Paras remember using one of these?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by BarkingSpider, Nov 22, 2009.

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  1. As part of the efforts to preserve a couple of pillboxes we had a few Steeton Home Guard re-enactors come to do a photoshoot. One of them turned up on a bike which was quite unusual:


    Apparently it's a folding bike used by Paras during WW2. He reckoned it was worth about £1000 in it's virtually perfect condition, he'd restored it himself.
    Here it is folded up and ready for chucking out of a perfectly good aircraft:

  2. Seen loads left in Holland, every so often on the anniversaries they display them and other relics in the shop windows.

    The BSA folding bicycles are rare, but not worth £1000. Most i ever saw at the militaria fairs and such were around the £200-400 at best in unissued mint condition.

    Maybe worth £1000 if ridden by General Browning! :)
  3. Did the UK Home Guard have black gaiters, then?

  4. Mmm, I like that bike!
  5. Associted usually with Paras, but the BSA was also used by other branches when the need arose. There wasn’t a condition like ‘only deploy if being dropped by aircraft’, as for spacesaving in general transport and handling it had lots of advantages over a fixed frame bike.

    e.g. The cycle Trp of No.6 at Normandy and by No.9 on an Adriatic island raid in ’44.


    The one that always fascinated me was the Excelsior Welbike folding motor scooter. As kids, a mate’s old man had one in their back yard which he used to let us hack about on. Be worth having now of course. :(


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  6. That sounds more like it to me. Maybe he was a 'bike valuation' walt. :D
  7. I wondered that. I'd expected them to be grey/green or khaki. I should add I haven't a clue really. Normal for me. :D
    But they all wore black gaiters and boots and the two 'officers' present wore brown gaiters and boots.

    Some great pictures turning up. Cheers lads.

    When you think that the Japanese Army moved down the Malay peninsula riding bikes along jungle paths, prior to taking Singapore in 1942, their usefulness can't be over exaggerated.
  8. Is the bloke on the left John Laurie? 'We're doomed'
  9. They definitely had leather gaiters. As to the colour though, I'm not 100% sure, but I believe most were brown.
  10. Also, the Danish Army had post-war bikes that are very similar to the British folding ones, and can easily be bodged to look like pukka folding jobbies. These are usually sold by dealers as originals for around the £500 mark.

    No need for a taxi, I'll get me bike clips.....
  11. hi, rgj had black gaiters, maybe he is ex krrc or rifle brigade?
  12. Just had another thought. Surely you'd polish your leather gaiters the same colour as your boots? It would look daft if the gaiters were polished brown, and the boots were black.
  13. I`ve seen plenty of old bikes displayed in windows in Holland but they didn`t have any wheels.
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  14. Of the re-enactors on Saturday, the officers had brown boots and gaiters and the other ranks had black boots and gaiters. They seemed very thorough about their uniforms and looked very authentic. I don't think they'd have got something as fundamental as boot/gaiter colour wrong.
    Here you can see the different colours:


    Do they look right to you? (genuine question).