ES­SEX MYS­TERY

Classic Bike (UK) - - The Way We Are - Rick Parkington

This is a pic­ture of my­self, taken in 1950 when I was five years old. The bike looks to be 1930s, pos­si­bly side-valve, but I just can­not iden­tify it. Can you help, please? I be­lieve the pic­ture was taken in Ave­ley, Es­sex, and I won­dered if the reg­is­tra­tion let­ters JGK help. Even though my feet didn’t quite reach the ped­als, it must have had an ef­fect be­cause I’m still rid­ing 67 years later!

David R Neal, St Leonards-on-sea

Hi David, as you say the bike is a side-valve. It also looks to be a 1930s model – also nearly right, al­though the reg­is­tra­tion is a Lon­don num­ber dat­ing from 1947. It is a Royal En­field 350cc Model C, made for mil­i­tary use dur­ing World War II. Af­ter the war there was a huge ex­port drive to try and re­store the na­tion’s fi­nances, which lasted well into the ’50s. Re­turn­ing sol­diers want­ing to get back into bikes found that any­thing be­ing made was for ‘ex­port only’. To fill the mar­ket, ex-mil­i­tary bikes which had been sold off at MOD auc­tion were re­fur­bished by deal­ers such as Pride and Clarke in Lon­don and given a ba­sic civil­ian paint job, reg­is­tered as new ma­chines and sold to feed de­mand. That’s why a wartime bike has a post-war reg­is­tra­tion. Hope this helps.

It’s David Neal’s legs dan­gling, but what’s the bike?

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