UPDATE: Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th December. Closed. Unfortunately torrential rain has now made the tracks too wet.

Anzac Day

Memories of a Despatch Rider

maddix park mx

George Jones, Despatch Rider

George Jones, aged 88, was one of the motorcycle despatch riders that were part of the Signal Corps during  World War II. 

He was one of 27 riders in the platoon that was attached to divisional headquarters and delivered internal mail and messages on the Ariel pictured. The riders worked 8 hours shifts. "It was a bit tricky at times", admits George modestly."When things were a bit hot, I was a bit reluctant to go, but you just had to get out there and do it".  

George got put into the Signal Corps in the New Zealand Division  and began his overseas service in the desert at the end of the North African Campaign and took part in the Italian Campaign from 1943-45. 

He had had his own bike in New Zealand, a BSA Empire Star 1938, but in "typical Army fashion" they didn't ask him what he could do, they just put him on the morse code lines. "I was pretty hopeless", admits George," and there were a few ex Post Office guys that were heaps better than me so they moved me to the telephone exchange".

All went okay until an altercation between George and a Brigadier about not being properly connected led to George's instant removal from that job.  His captain wasn't sure what he was going to do with George but by chance, there were some motorcycles that were to be delivered to the unit.  "Can you ride a bike?' asked the Captain. "Can I what !" replied George. So George went, brought the Ariel back and then never looked back himself. "It was like having your own bike", he reminisces."We had to look after  them but we could use them outside of shift hours for ourselves. It was pretty good having your own transport".

George lives in Lower Hutt and featured in the Dominion newspaper recently when he voiced his opposal to the selling of white poppies at the same time as the red poppies that traditionally honour those who lost their lives as Anzac soldiers.

If you are interested in how the British Army trained up their despatch riders, CLICK HERE.

If you are interested in one soldier's encounter with a Norton in Crete, CLICK HERE.

 

 
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    George Jones

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    Despatch Rider

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