This footage comes from the film archive of the Royal War Museum (UK).Included here is a three-minute excerpt showing paratroopers jumping from planes and collecting weapons, etc., from parachute supply tanks. The last 20 seconds of this clip show a Welbike taken from a container and carried away in the sunset. Notice the thunderous four-stroke roar of the engine as you watch it dubbed through the two-stroke sound.
The 22-minute full-length video that this video was extracted from was made as a tribute to Britain’s Parachute divisions on behalf of the workers who built their equipment.
During World War II, the British produced the Welbike, the smallest motorcycle ever used by the British army.
It weighs 32 kg (71 lbs) and has a fuel capacity of 3.7 litres (0.98 gallons), allowing it to travel up to 140 km (87 miles) at 48 km/h (30 mph).
The Welbike was transported by air in a parachute box. When it hits the ground, the handlebar must be screwed into place and the saddle must be pulled up, allowing the footrest to come out. Generally, a soldier will be able to drive a motorcycle within 11 seconds of contact with the delivery person.
The name Welbike comes from the initials Welwyn (a village in northern London) and bicycle. This motorcycle was developed at a secret military base near Welwyn in 1942.
It was developed at The Frythe, then became a research lab for Smith Kline Beacham. He also developed a muzzle gun_ Welrod. A few miles away, at Mill Green, special tanks used on Day D (like mine barrels) were tested.
“The question for reflection is whether this motorcycle can be reintroduced in Civic life for short personal errands.”
“I think it was done by Excelsior. Americans have something similar made by Cushman.”
“Yes, I’m sure I saw one at the war museum in Johannesburg, South Africa.”