British Despatch Riders France 1939/1940

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by BEFfan, May 11, 2009.

  1. BEFfan

    BEFfan New Member

    I wonder if anyone can help with a query regarding early war despatch riders - I believe the Army term of the time was "Don-R". What was their official weaponry?

    Several sources tell me that these men carried only service revolvers, so they could not be used in lines of defence. This seemed reasonable and was confirmed by a few photographs - then I came across this one, showing a despatch rider unit of King's Own Scottish Borderers in France, 1940. The majority carry SMLE rifles and infantry-style universal pouches:

    Attached Files:

  2. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Later in the war they were issued with SMGs. It would certainly make sense for frontline despatch riders to have something more than a pistol for defence, especially during the invasion in May.

    A couple from later in the war showing SMGs being carried

    old pictures


  3. BEFfan

    BEFfan New Member

    Thanks, Kyt. As you say it would make sense for these men to have something more than a pop-gun and 12 rounds.
    The bikes are (I think) the same Norton WD16H machines used by the BEF, the only difference is the hood on the headlamp. Isn't some company in India still turning out those single-cylinder jobs today? I have seen various accounts recently of people finding rusted BEF originals kept in barns by Belgian farmers and restoring them.
  4. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Can you tell us where the pic comes from? Any caption?

    I don't know about Norton's but Enfields are still being made in India.

    Welcome to Royal Enfield Motorcycles | Motorcycle India

    my uncle had a Bullet 350. Lovely looking bike rather spoilt by being covered cow dung and other stuff picked up in the Indian countryside :) But sturdy enough to survive the atrocious roads over there and quite comfy (as a passenger)
  5. BEFfan

    BEFfan New Member

    Kyt, the photo is an Imperial War Museum one: IWM H1841 and I believe it shows men of 4th KOSB after their evacuation from Cherbourg.

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