My father was on Royal Navy Motor Gunboat 659 in the Med and Adriatic 194 - 1946. He traded navy rum for a Norton from an Army dispatch rider in Pantelleria. The bike was lashed to the bridge of MGB 659 when out on operations, but used to transport crew of the MGB when they cam ashore for R&R. Clearly this was against all regulations and I always wonder what the Army dispatch rider used as an excuse for where his bike had gone!
At the end of the war the bike was given to an italian family in Ancona. It was still running well and my Dad was sad to see it go, but as it was still the property of His Majesty, it had to be disposed of quietly!
Love to hear from anyone who might know about this story and would like to upload a picture if possible.
The Italian campaign was famous for stories of theft and pilfering. The locals could dismantle lorries in guarded compounds and spirit them away overnight.
There's a good chance that the bike was one which had already been listed as 'missing' or damaged beyond repair - or 'borrowed' from another unit.
Do you have a photo of your father with the bike ?
You are right that there is something very fishy about being able to have a "spare" bike to sell without there being consequences. Apparently it ran very well especially when they used the 100 octane fuel normally used for the MGB. (the MGBs used four Merlin engines built by Packard in the states giving nearly 5000 horsepower)
I have a picture but am not sure how to upload it.
Nick, the only easy way to post photos on these message boards is to upload to a photobucket or Image shack account - and use the HTML link.
If it's easier, feel free to mail it to me and I'll upload it straight away.
Hi Rik I have sent the pic to your email
Sorry it isnt great quality
On Steepholm island they'd used old guns as vertical mountings for newer swivel guns above; this despite the older guns having been officially accounted for as removed from the island.
A mate of mine who served in Malaya told me they'd lost a complete Scammell road train. It left the docks in convoy with several others and was never seen again.