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We are pleased to be able to offer you the opportunity to own an extremely rare piece of Militaria, a rare Welbike. We were fortunate to pick this item up at one of the many shows that we attend. We had arrived late at this particular show and the bike had been out all day. George with his obsession with military vehicles immediately recognized it! This was one of the bikes that was exported to the US after the war and was repainted red and sold by, the Sears Department Store.

I have broken down the photos into three sections to show you in detail, the bike in its A) restored B) original condition and C) disassembled. You can see in spots the original drab green paint under the red overcoat. The restoration was painstakingly undertaken by Pat Papsworth who has spent decades in the restoration of military vehicles. In the restoration process it was necessary to source out replacement parts, the main item being the missing rear wheel hub, bottom brake lever and the two brake handles and tires

OF NOTE: Not only is this Bike an extremely rare item, it also appears that it may be an early prototype as a 2 serial number is stamped on the bike and gas tank configuration

The wartime Welbike scooter was originally designed for the Special Operations Executive, at the SOE development centre at The Frythe, near Welwyn, Hertfordshire. The prototype Welbikes which were designed by Harry Lester under the directorship of Lieut Col John Dolphin, were not accepted by the SOE, but nevertheless the Welbike went into production for use by paratroops, being manufactured by Excelsior, using the Villiers JDL auto cycle engine. They used them on numerous occasions, with varied success. It is claimed that a Paratrooper could remove the Welbike from its special green container, marked in white lettering with the words "Motor Cycle" and its identifiable colour parachute, and be mobile within 11 seconds. Photographs exist that were taken in wartime showing the Welbike in other varying uses, this includes being carried from Landing Craft at Normandy by Commandoes on D-Day. The Welbike weighed in at 70lbs, had a top speed of some 30mph and a fuel capacity for a range of approximately 90 miles. They were first used in the disastrous Arnhem campaign in 1944, and are known to have been used in the Normandy landings and North Africa, but the majority of the 3,853 production Welbikes ended up being used as base runabouts by the three Services. After the War, the bulk of the survivors were exported to the USA, where they were sold by a New York department store

The above is a bare bones history on the bike for further information I have included the following link which includes an interesting article on the welbike


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