Nov 30, 2019
This 1942 training film (Prod. No. 169) from the Canadian Army Film Unit and narrated by Gerry Wilmot shows the training of dispatch riders at a training school in England. The film opens with a scene of an officer showing soldiers a motorcycle engine in a room at a training school in England. Men are assigned a Norton 16H motorcycle out in the yard and must maintain the bike during the entirety of the course (01:12). The soldiers work on their bikes. An instructor shows the students how to kickstart a bike (01:50). Students ride the bikes in single-file line around the barracks square. The film then shows the students riding out on an open highway and practicing hand signals, going around turns, and riding through a forest on a dirt trail. The riders go over a series of small ridges like what is found on a dirt bike course (03:37). They ride across a river; an engine stalls on one of the bikes and the rider gets off and pushes it to shore. Next, viewers see the students practicing on sandy terrain, as they navigate sand dunes and small bluffs (04:40), possibly riding Norton motorcycles at a training course near Bordon, England. Several men crash their bikes as they attempt to climb a small bluff. A student is tested during a training simulation, carrying a message between a field unit and headquarters (05:30). The rider passes through water, across fields, and down a highway (all terrain showed earlier in the film) as simulated shelling and gunfire go on around him. The student completes the simulation and then lies down in the grass and smokes a cigarette, concluding the film.
The Norton 16H is a designation given to British motorcycles made between 1911 through to 1954 with various modifications and refers to a single cylinder Norton 490cc side valve engine with a bore and stroke of 79 x 100 mm. The H denotes the Home model as distinct from the Colonial export model.Norton was the main military motorcycle supplier prior to WW2 and one of the main suppliers of motorcycles to the British Army in World War II with a total of nearly 100,000 produced. British Army Nortons were also supplied to the Commonwealth forces such as Australian, New Zealand, India and the Canadian Army.
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