BGC-32 The Rescued Pilot
It was not only the men who got to ride around on motorbikes. The Women’s Royal Flying Corps made extensive use of motorbikes. The initial aim of the WRAF was to provide female mechanics so that men could be free to serve in the armed forces. Thanks to the high number of women volunteers, many also filled driver positions as well.
Douglas was a British motorcycle manufacturer from 1907–1957 based in Kingswood, Bristol, owned by the Douglas family, and especially known for its horizontally opposed twin cylinder engined bikes and as manufacturers of speedway machines. The company also built a range of cars between 1913 and 1922.
During WW1 some 70,000 of these 349cc twin horizontal cylinder machines were produced for the British military.
The importance of motorbikes during the Great War is all too often overlooked. Motorbikes were used for mounted infantry, scouts, dispatch and courier duties, ammunition carriers, medical supply carriers and casualty evacuation. The versatility of these machines clearly helped them play a hugely significant role in the logistics of the war, far more than the automobile.
The use that they were most commonly used for was that of the messenger. Because of the unreliability of communications technology during the war years, the motorbike’s virtue of speed meant that orders, reports and maps could be transferred between units quickly.