Heritage100

BSA M20 Motorcycle

Riding a BSA M20 Motorcycle

...in pristine condition with only one mile on the clock.

The Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) motorcycle was used extensively by the Military Police during the Second World War and beyond.

This particular motorbike was a donation from BSA and is the last one they ever made, coming straight from the production line into the Royal Military Police Museum in 1964. As a result of this the motorcycle is still in pristine condition with only one mile on the clock.

Throughout the Second World War the Military Police were tasked with numerous dangerous and daring jobs which required them to speed ahead of the front line to map convoy routes, escort VIPs, carry vital messages between headquarters and reach all manner of other troubles quickly.

All of these jobs were happening all the time on all fronts during the war.  This meant that the small number Military Police Officers often needed to be able to get to locations as quickly as possible, something that the M20 motorcycle allowed them to do.

Such was the success and reliability of the M20 that the vehicle remained in service with the British Army until the 1960s. 

Quick Facts

  • Made in Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • BSA motorcycles made 1939 to 1964
  • Made of Leather, steel, rubber
  • Dimensions Length 2m 8cm, Height 1m 2cm
  • Engine 350cc
  • Fuel capacity 3 Gallons
  • Number made 124,334
  • Accession Number CHCMP:1047

Facts

  • Over 800 Military Police Motorcyclists were recruited directly into the Corps of Military Police from the AA on the outbreak of the Second World War as they had vast experience of riding motorcycles.
  • The man responsible for recruiting so many AA motorcyclists in to the Military Police was Sir Malcolm Campbell, a man better known for holding both Land and Water World speed records in the 1920s and 1930s using his famous “Bluebird” vehicles.  

Did you know?

To gain confidence in riding the BSA M20, military police riders would have to ride the motorcycle standing with one leg on the seat and the other stretched out behind them, all without falling off!

Gallery

BSA M20 Motorcycle

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