Military History > Military Figures

Will Swift

(1/2) > >>

Cant find a service record .Expect it is in the Burnt lot.

I am pretty sure he is sitting on the Standard early 1914 WD issue "Triumph" Motorbike.

Image below.  Of 1914 model.


Good luck with the quest.

Invicta Alec:


I've certainly enjoyed doing some research. I've actually quite impressed myself with the French I can still read.
Actually, I'm cheating - I lived in France for three years between 2011 and 2014!

I agree with you in that the card was posted early in the conflict. My reasons are that
a) the poster doesn't look that old.
b) the motorbike looks newish too
c) Will's sense of humour hints he is not yet war weary
d) He is telling his pal something for the first time and its clear he thinks the bike is a good 'un.

Hopfully his service history will come up with more information.

I also found out that the Nice Havrais hotel was requisitioned for use by the Belgian government in exile.


Alec I was just about to reply when your new post arrived.

Thanks for the info, my O level French deserted me seconds after the exam. That the poster is about holidays must surely mean that this was very early on in the conflict, which would tally with the British Army records.

I wondered if the bike was new WD issue, or not, maybe requisitioned?

I’ll go looking for Will’s service history and see where that leads.

Invicta Alec:

After much squinting I think I'm right in reading this off the postcard ...........

Written by "L/Cpl W.Swift" who was stationed at "No 2 General Base Depot, British Expeditionary Force."

He wrote "Dear A, Excuse dirty p.c. but I dropped it. What do you think of it. This is the horse on which I do my work."

I found this website that shows an excellent map marking the exact position of No.2 depot.
It would have been within a stone's throw of the Le Nice Havrais hotel in St.Adresse.

Excitingly the website also informs us that base depot 2 was for the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery.
So Will, tongue in cheek, refers to the motorbike as his work "horse".

Base depot 2 was established in the autumn of 1914 by the look of it, was certainly still there in 1916 and probably until the end of WW1.

My guess would be therefore the photo was probably nearer the beginning of the hostilities, perhaps 1914 maybe 1915?


Invicta Alec:

The poster behind the motorbike reads.......

"Spend your holidays at the grand hotels of Sainte Adresse."

Sainte Adresse is only about a mile and a half north of Le Havre.

The poster goes on to mention "Le Nice Havrais" a "creation" of a gentleman by the name of Dufayel.

Dufayel was a Parisian businessman who envisaged a holiday resort at St. Adresse and funded the building of Le Nice Havrais hotel in 1905. You can still book your bed and breakfast holiday rooms there today!

The last part of the poster is partly obscured by the bike but I'll have a guess at filling in the missing part......

"View the ocean from the comfort of your own room".

I know very little about motorbikes but the "square" petrol tank says 1920ish to me.



[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version