With World War 2 well under way it was the job of motorcycle manufacturers to supply machines for the war effort. Initially civilian models were altered as required (no chrome, painted green or grey for the navy, blackout lights fitted etc) and shipped out until war department contracts were filled for the supply of more appropriate machines. With the life expectancy of these machines being measured in days not years the motorcycles were definitely built down to a price and this appeared as changes on the 3HW like no rear number plate mounting bracket, a basic painted petrol tank with no instrument panel (ampmeter and light switch mounted in the headlight much easier), no footrest or gear change rubbers (definitely a luxury on a war time machine), and on this bike no air filter (well not visible on the drawing). Whether this is correct who knows, but I would have thought that as these machines could be ridden anywhere in the world, including the desert and other hot arid countries that dust would have been a major (not a corporal) concern. Royal Enfield fitted air filters to their military models.
This instruction manual would have to be quite unique, as being supplied with a war model how many actually survived? It wouldn’t have been the highest priority for a dispatch rider to go back to collect his drivers manual from his dugout when the Germans attacked, would it? But then again it may have been because if a kit inspection revealed that it was not present would the dispatch rider be put on a ‘fizzer’ (Dads Army slang for being put on a charge). Perhaps this one was an extra that was supplied with surplus war machines auctioned off after the war. Who knows!
As with everything in wartime even this handbook has been compiled differently from other types of owner manuals. It begins with an introduction to the bike controls, then starting and riding. From there it breaks down its maintenance into ‘Tasks’ and ‘Items’ with all inspections ending as Report Defects – presumeably to the Sergeant Major. It does have a good diagram of the oiling system, what to lubrication where and with what, and pictures of what was supposed to be in the tool kit.
Kit Inspection Don’t see his handbook there though!
To see how different the prewar Model 3H looked like click here.
Click on the front cover below to see the complete 50 page manual.
It is a 5.9M PDF so you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.