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?