BSA Bantam Motorcycles

I've seen this question asked a few times but no definitive answer has been found yet.

Did the Armed Forces at any time utilise BSA Bantams?

Plenty of information out there about B40's, M20's, Can-AMs, Armstrongs etc but nothing about the humble Bantam.

Only asking as I've seen two for sale recently claiming to be ex-forces but one had a homemade data plate and the other just looks wrong. They were probably on the balcony at some point...
 

Bodenplatte

War Hero
The RAF used them as on-station dispatch rider mounts. Also Airborne Royal Enfield had a look of the 125 Bantam about it - maybe some confusion there ?
 

Chef

LE
The GPO telegram messengers used Bantams back when we had a telegram service. Apart from that I'd have thought them a bit little for despatch riding in rough terrain and the like.
 

Bodenplatte

War Hero
The GPO telegram messengers used Bantams back when we had a telegram service. Apart from that I'd have thought them a bit little for despatch riding in rough terrain and the like.
The RAF used them for delivering messages around the station, or twinned station, not as full blown dispatch rider bikes.
 

Bodenplatte

War Hero
This from Bryan Price on the BSA Bantam Club site


Yup! The British military used Bantams. The RAF used them on airfields as Courier bikes during the dark days of the Cold War - ferrying messages from Control Towers to aircraft on stand-by on DHSs, in the event of radio silence. The RAF Police ('Snowdrops') also used them for patrolling perimeter fences of those same airfields, again in the early 1950s. Bantams have been unearthed in the past, particularly on (or near to) former airfields around East Anglia, in Royal Blue livery complete with an RAF roundel on the tank.

In the Army, 14 Air Dispatch Regiment also used Bantams on airfields as their crew runabouts. I'm told that the Royal Signals did too - but I've seen no evidence. I have been told that the Senior Service also used Bantams as runabouts in Royal Dockyards, in the days when we had a Fleet. But I've not seen any records or pictures: so I can't verify that.
 

Chef

LE
The RAF used them for delivering messages around the station, or twinned station, not as full blown dispatch rider bikes.
Deffo better than a bicycle and aerodromes are reasonably flat. I wouldn't want to despatch long distances on them though.

When I did a bit of despatching a lot of the older hands used MZ 125s for doing lots of local London jobs.
 
So the RAF used them, at a guess 14 AD probably acquired some of the same ones for airfield use.

Reason I ask is another one has popped up for sale on the popular auction site claiming to be ex military but nothing to back up the claim, seller want £3.5k which is a little steep...

I've seen the Aldershot post office one in the past and that had shown up to be a complete load of bollocks.

Deffo better than a bicycle and aerodromes are reasonably flat. I wouldn't want to despatch long distances on them though.
Those single saddles are bloody comfortable TBH and a couple of miles does take a couple of hours...
 
Deffo in my CCF - just ask @Stonker!
 
My spacey sqn had 2 in a shed, they had not been in running order for years. I played about and got 1 to run. My first foray into checking out the brake and clutch on a motor vehicle before trying to ride. I got 1 to run, clutch in select first, clonk, let the clutch out and tried to ride up a wall. crash bang wallop. The only way to stop the twat, pull the HT cable off the spark plug. Zapppp.
 
The RAF used them as on-station dispatch rider mounts. Also Airborne Royal Enfield had a look of the 125 Bantam about it - maybe some confusion there ?
Not to far out. May I present the Royal Enfield Flying Flea. The yellow line on the engine case is the balance point for airdrops.
5D443734-403A-4596-B231-EC3173F4B1C7.jpeg
 

Chef

LE
Because they were a licensed copy of the DKW RT125
as was the MZ
BSA got the design as post war reparations
Apparently we also had the option on the VW Beetle but turned it down as it was perceived that there wouldn't be much of a car market.

Austin Beetle followed by the Mini might have been an interesting production progression.
 
Apparently we also had the option on the VW Beetle but turned it down as it was perceived that there wouldn't be much of a car market.

Austin Beetle followed by the Mini might have been an interesting production progression.
We turned BMW into Bristol. Remember seeing them whizzing up and down the Filton runway.
 

skid2

LE
Book Reviewer
My spacey sqn had 2 in a shed, they had not been in running order for years. I played about and got 1 to run. My first foray into checking out the brake and clutch on a motor vehicle before trying to ride. I got 1 to run, clutch in select first, clonk, let the clutch out and tried to ride up a wall. crash bang wallop. The only way to stop the twat, pull the HT cable off the spark plug. Zapppp.
Wait until it rains, the mudguard would channel water straight on to the spark plug bringing you to a eventual halt. Brakes were largely cosmetic and the kickback something fierce.
 
Wait until it rains, the mudguard would channel water straight on to the spark plug bringing you to a eventual halt. Brakes were largely cosmetic and the kickback something fierce.
I had a cabby on a Royal Enfield. I bet a pound to a pinch of salt the Enfield could break your leg.

As a 14 year old that is. Bantom not so much.
 

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