Discussion in 'Vehicle Names and Census Numbers' started by eberhard_at, Apr 28, 2022.

  1. eberhard_at

    eberhard_at Member

    Dear Members!
    last week i got mail from one with a WM 20 where the engine doesn´t sound pretty good, after some gossip about possible reasons, I asked, if his bike is original or not
    He gave me the Frame Nr
    which was - as I found out - not a military bike.
    Can anyone confirm or denie this?
  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I can probably shed some light on this, but it is obviously based on the number stampings being original and unaltered. BSA had a practice of stamping all identical frames with the same prefix. At that time, all M20 (500cc) and M21 (600cc) frames shared the same WM20 prefix but were fitted with engines stamped WM20 or WM21 as appropriate. According to BSA's engine records book, Engine number WM21 2414 was fitted to this frame to form an M21 for the Dutch Army and due to be despatched to the Staatsbedrijf der Artillerie in Delft on 20th May 1940. However, The Netherlands fell to Germany on 17th May so it was never sent and the Frames record book shows that it was diverted to the War Office in London.

    It was therefore not a British Army contract WM20 but a Dutch Spec WM21 taken on by the British 'off contract'. Most of these seem to have gained 500cc engines at the time of the first major overhaul.
    4jonboy, von Poop and eberhard_at like this.
  3. eberhard_at

    eberhard_at Member

    thank you, he also gave me the actually engine nr

    WM 202908

    Well the numbers don´t match but it can be because of a broken engine during the years.
    That means that this motorcycle would have been intended for the planned Dutch army, which never existed due to the german invasion and the motorcycle remained in the Netherlands - without being registered as an army motorcycle?
  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Although BSA had prepared WM20 2414 for despatch, it was clearly not exported at that time. Engine no. WM20 2908 is not included in the BSA assembly books which probably means that it was sold as a spare engine which was then used as a replacement for the non-standard (to the British Army) M21.

    There is no way of knowing what organisation it was used by. Where is it now ?
    4jonboy, von Poop and eberhard_at like this.
  5. eberhard_at

    eberhard_at Member

    thank you
    prepared for British or Dutch despatch?
    It is located now in Germany somewhere between Hamburg and the polish border.
    The Owner is a member of this FB-Group, wher you can also se his video with the bad sound in the engine (sounds like worn out bearings in the crank case

  6. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I must apologise here. I'm trying to read entries in hand-written ledgers with lots of crossed-out and altered entries. Looking again, it would seem that frame WM20 2414 fitted with engine WM21 2414 was actually sent to The Netherlands on 20th April 1940, so prior to the German invasion. The bikes entered above and below seem to have stayed in the UK.

    I'd suggest posting on this forum:-

    Bastiaan, one of the administrators has several and is one of the top experts on Dutch Specification BSAs.
    eberhard_at likes this.
  7. eberhard_at

    eberhard_at Member

    I see, thank you

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