Rare folding bike carried by British paratroopers on D-Day auctioned for £ 8,000

Rare folding bike carried by British paratroopers as they parachuted into occupied Normandy on D-Day is auctioned for £ 8,000

  • Bicycles intended to help airborne troops cover the ground quickly and silently in 1944
  • Most of the metal bikes were unceremoniously abandoned once the troops reached the ground
  • Private collector selling the bike from the estate of the deceased member of the 6th Airborne Division
  • Rare bike is wrecked with C&T Auctions in Ashford, Kent on May 26

A rare folding bicycle carried by British paratroopers as they parachuted into occupied Normandy on D-Day has been put up for sale for £ 8,000.

Airborne folding parachute bikes were intended to help airborne troops cover the ground quickly and silently after landing in France in June 1944.

They were also used later in Operation Market Garden in Holland in September 1944 to allow quick access to the Arnhem Bridge.

But the bulky bikes that had to be held in front of the paratroopers as they fell from the sky proved an unpopular distraction for many men.

The rare folding bike carried by British paratroopers as they parachuted into occupied Normandy on D-Day which went on sale for £ 8,000, pictured above

The bike, which has a repair kit pouch on the back, goes under the hammer with C&T Auctions of Ashford, Kent on May 26

The bike, which has a repair kit pouch on the back, goes under the hammer with C&T Auctions of Ashford, Kent on May 26

One of the bicycles pictured used by a paratrooper during World War II.  Although 60,000 of them were made between 1942 and 1945, very few exist today.

One of the bicycles pictured used by a paratrooper during World War II. Although 60,000 of them were made between 1942 and 1945, very few exist today.

As a result, most of the metal bikes, manufactured by the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA), were unceremoniously abandoned once the paratroopers reached the ground.

Although 60,000 of them were manufactured between 1942 and 1945, very few exist today.

One example is sold by a private collector who acquired it from the estate of a deceased member of the 6th Airborne Division.

It has the original two-tube design that connects to the leather seat, making it much rarer than the single-tube design found in later models.

The bike, which has a rear mounted repair kit pouch, goes under the hammer with C&T Auctions of Ashford, Kent.

Matthew Tredwen, Specialist at C&T Auctions, said: “This is a superb example of an extremely rare piece of airborne force equipment.

The weathered leather seat of the metal bike, made by the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA), which will be auctioned later this month

The weathered leather seat of the metal bike, made by the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA), which will be auctioned later this month

Most bikes are khaki green, like the one pictured above, but some were painted brown due to the scarcity of green paint towards the end of WWII.

Most bikes are khaki green, like the one pictured above, but some were painted brown due to the scarcity of green paint towards the end of WWII.

The spokes of the bike put up for sale with C&T Auctions, which is sold by a private collector who acquired it from the estate of a deceased member of the 6th Airborne Division

The spokes of the bike put up for sale with C&T Auctions, which is sold by a private collector who acquired it from the estate of a deceased member of the 6th Airborne Division

“It is believed that around 60,000 copies of the folding bicycle were manufactured by the BSA between 1942 and 1945.

“The majority was the later single tube design, and only a handful of twin tube examples exist in the world, with many museums not having an example.

“They were issued to British airborne forces which parachuted into Normandy on D-Day and Arnhem later in 1944.

The chain and the wooden pedal of the folding bicycle.  Matthew Tredwen, specialist at C&T Auctions, said:

The chain and the wooden pedal of the folding bicycle. Matthew Tredwen, Specialist at C&T Auctions, said: “This is a superb example of an extremely rare piece of equipment for airborne forces.

The bike has a rear mounted repair kit pouch.  It has the original double tube design connecting to the leather seat, which makes it rarer than the single tube design in later models

The bike has a rear mounted repair kit pouch. It has the original double tube design connecting to the leather seat, which makes it rarer than the single tube design in later models

“These bikes were presented in front of the paratroopers when they were parachuted behind enemy lines.

“They were a way for the troops to quickly cover large areas of land in a silent manner as they were behind enemy lines.

“However, many paratroopers found them bulky and therefore abandoned them shortly after landing.”

The sale takes place on May 26.

Folding bikes used by British paratroopers to cover the ground undetected

Folding bikes were used by British paratroopers to cover the ground after landing while remaining silent and undetected.

More than 60,000 bicycles were manufactured between 1942 and 1945 by the Birmingham Small Arms company.

Paratroopers could attach their guns to the bikes, and the wheels were attached to a parachute line.

The paratroopers held the folding bicycle in front of them.  They could attach their rifles to the frame and two wing nuts could be loosened to bend the bike

The paratroopers held the folding bicycle in front of them. They could attach their rifles to the frame and two wing nuts could be loosened to bend the bike

Two wing nuts could be loosened to bend the bicycle, which the troops stretched out in front of them, in half.

They were often abandoned by troops after D-Day landings, but photos taken during WWII show some were kept in jeeps or in the backs of tanks.

The rarer folding bikes are painted brown, due to the scarcity of green paint towards the end of the war.

Existing bicycles belong to collectors or are exhibited in museums.

Source: BSA and the Military Bicycle Museum

Paratroopers seen with bicycles on the ground.  They were often abandoned after landing, but photos taken during WWII show some were kept in jeeps or in the backs of tanks.

Paratroopers seen with bicycles on the ground. They were often abandoned after landing, but photos taken during WWII show some were kept in jeeps or in the backs of tanks.

Advertising


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *