This 1941 WM20 is owned by Bob Kretschmer of the Veteran and Vintage Motorcycle Club of South Australia. While he was working as a Naval Architect at the Malta Dockyard in the mid 1970’s a garage and workshop that had been sealed since Second World War was opened up. Many of the war time facilities in Malta were underground because of the extensive bombing that the island was subjected to. The garage contained dozens of military vehicles of every possible type including motorcycles. They were mostly BSA's but there were also Triumphs, Nortons, and Ariels. Bob managed to buy the WM20 for 50 Maltese Pounds.
When he moved to England late in 1976 Bob took the WM20 with him and then brought it back to Australia when he returned home in the early 1980's. The machine has been used regularly for Club events since, including the Bay to Birdwood Rallies and the Veteran and Vintage Motorcycle Club of South Australia’s 50th Anniversary Rally.
The machine is in totally original condition with the exception of a more recent tail light, a personalised number plate and the war time tyres that were replaced. Bob intends his machine to remain authentic and unrestored.
Norm Dewhurst, a New Zealander, was lent the WM20 to ride in the Veteran and Vintage Motor Cycle Club of South Australia’s 55th Anniversary “Winelands to Wheatlands” tour in September 2011. Norm said that the WM20 was very pleasant to ride with a nice clutch and no vices. It was very comfortable travelling at 40 mph but tended to “slack off” on hills. The brakes were quite adequate and “fall to hand and foot.” The owner commented that he finds 45 mph comfortable but hills are a problem, you just need to use the gears. Norm’s uncle was in the Fleet Air Arm based on Malta during the war. He worked as a mechanic on land based vehicles and it is just possible that we worked on this particular BSA.
In spite of all the exotic motorcycle machinery on the Anniversary Rally, including a Tilbury, Vincents, Indians, a Henderson, a 1914 Rudge TT Roadster, a 1907 Rex, a Coventry Victor, a Scott and two JAPs, the WM20 attracted a significant amount of attention from both the public and rally participants.