Friday, December 16, 2016

The Wonder Book of Soldiers 1939

Where this book came from I cannot remember. I think I have had it since childhood, it was quite old even back then! The Wonder Book of Soldiers is a flagrant piece of war-time propaganda and was published right at the beginning of the War in 1939 when there was still the resource to print large books. The book is full of optimism for a short and triumphant war from the time before the evacuation of Dunkirk. Many of the copious images from the book were taken during exercises in the twenties and thirties. Below are scans of the two wheeler related pics.   

'To the front'. Slightly ill-proportioned drawing of imaginary
British tanks rolling through an imaginary French village.

Can't have been much fun cycling in a gas mask.

The bike looks like a Model N Triumph from 1927, just like
my one. Wonder if mine is ex-WD?

'Mechanized Cavalry'

Looks like another Triumph. Probably a Model P. 

A rag tag selection of bikes for the South African Despatch
Corps. I'd hazard a guess that they were volunteers. Four Brit
bikes that are hard to identify and one Harley to the right.
Quite a number of Model U Harleys made their way to
South Africa.

A British Cyclists Patrol.


  1. None of the soldiers appears to be armed (aside from vehicle mounted weapons). Surely an oddity unless these photos were from training and it would not do for the troops to be pictured with broom sticks instead of rifles.

    1. Good spot David. Very strange. Even on training you would have thought that they might at least have had dummy guns.

  2. This brought back memories of reading the Wonder book of Daring Deeds as a child. Exciting stuff for an 8 year old! Of course these days it would probably be classed as fake news....

    1. If it is over the top propaganda you want I've got a copy of 'Britain's Wonderful Fighting Forces' kicking around somewhere! Maybe I'll dig that out and take a few scans.