View Full Version : Air Ministry furniture and RAF bicycles too

Phillip Rhodes
02-03-2009, 20:55
This forum has covered many aspects or aerodrome architecture and even vehicles, but are there any online resources/experts specialising in Air Ministry furniture? I remember Hangar No.2 at RAF Driffield being filled with Furniture – from where, I know not. I also remember the odd piece of wartime furniture still being used by my old ATC squadron include crew-lockers. I just think it’s a section of aerodrome history that has been overlooked.

And finally – maybe one for the vehicle entry – but those official RAF bicycles, as used by Bomber Command during the war – how easy are they to buy, and how do you recognise an authentic air/ground crew bike from something not used by the RAF?

Best Wishes

Phil Rhodes

Peter Kirk
02-03-2009, 21:06
Never given furniture much thought though on piece was for sale and sold via this forum a week or so back.
The only furniture that springs to mind are those seen in photos taken of pilots waiting for the scramble. They are that wide wicker chair and deck chairs. I have this idea that the wicker ones were specially designed for pilots in flight gear. Were deckchairs AM issue?

Surely there must be a cycle website that covers AM issue bikes amongst others!

02-03-2009, 21:35
There used to be an Army Surplus store at Eynsham which sold pretty much nothing but surplus AM/MOD furniture. Some of it was very nice too. I think they might of gone out of business now. Same firm owned the surplus store in Oxford.

02-03-2009, 22:33
I was the one who bought the said bit of funiture from the site curtesy of Df and what a nice bit of furniture it is.


03-03-2009, 17:16
I remember at Marham we still had bikes from wwii, they had the the white paint on the rear mudguard.

Dave Smith
22-04-2011, 22:22
A friend has just acquired a BSA bike said to be of 1927 vintage and with hub brakes and 28 inch wheels. It has been stored in a loft for 40 years and is excellent condition. The original colour was black which shows through in places. It has been over-painted in authentic RAF blue, including the wheel rims and even the insides of the mudguards. We wonder if it was requisitioned for wartime RAF use but there is no trace of markings or the tell tale white bottom half of the rear mudguard. An intriguing mystery!

23-04-2011, 07:20
I have this image in my collection of two Canadian 410 Squadron members on their cycles, is that a 'Raleigh' or a BSA badge on the front?


Image courtesy of Brian Dunn.

Dave Smith
23-04-2011, 09:09
Denis, thanks for posting that; most kind. Googling around, I think that is a BSA badge but not certain. The badge has not survived on the bike in question but BSA is stamped on the frame. Apart from the hub brakes, it looks just like those bikes! Well aware of its possible history, my friend plans to preserve it in its original condition.

23-04-2011, 12:02
For three years nobody at Strike Command knew how many bicycles there were at RAF Catterick, because someone had not completed the annual bicycle return.

Don't know who that could have been, and more to the point, why didn't anybody at Strike query why they didn't have the return?

23-04-2011, 12:05
With regard to furnishings, everything that was surplus from RAF(H) Wegberg was moved to the Ayrshire Barracks sales site in Monchengladbach.

Got myself a lovely Officers dining table for DM10 with chairs at DM5 apiece.

23-04-2011, 19:50
Im shocked that no one completed the bicycle return for Catterick, then again I shouldnt be as I didnt know such a thing existed!

23-04-2011, 21:29
Whenever we were posted from a unit we still had to clear from the station bike store !

24-04-2011, 11:27
I never did, I used to sign the chit myself!

24-04-2011, 11:42
There was a body established at Strike to collate the returns from all stations, just in case a PQ was asked. I can only guess that he was asleep for three years.

24-04-2011, 11:45
As service bikes (as distinct from station bikes!) are a form of MT I wonder why MT werent responsible for them instead of one of the SWOs minions?

Karl H
24-04-2011, 12:56
Here is a bike that is on display at the Pima Air Museum in Tuscon AZ. It is in the 390th BG Hangar and is supposed to have been used at Parham.


24-04-2011, 21:06
MT serviced the bicycles the SWOs staff administered them.

25-04-2011, 10:44
And as I said why didnt MT also administer them? Was it all down to tradition?

ted angus
25-04-2011, 16:24
Come on mate MTSS fixed bikes, MT administered transport that required a F 1629 or 6000 the SWOs gang administer ????? I always made sure my bike had the same size wheels as the service ones I wonder why ???


ps why did you hold maps that should have been AP & form store ??? mind had they held them everyone would be lost !! no can't have that map in case we run out !!

25-04-2011, 18:05
And why would AP and forms hold maps and charts??????????????? They werent an AP or a form, but surely as bikes are MT they should have been the responsibilty of MT?

Dave Smith
25-04-2011, 19:22
Thanks Karl for posting that shot. Good to see a humble but vital bike in a US Museum. It almost certainly flew home in a B-17!

ted angus
25-04-2011, 22:10
I suppose being in charge of the Station Bike made the SWO feel important. Some strange things went on why did the PSI clerk administer the SGTs & Officers Messes garages ??

26-04-2011, 17:04
Simple Ted, the PSI clerk was allowed to handle money. But the clerk at Leuchars lost my cheque, SLOPS got a nasty letter saying I hadnt paid luckily I was able to quote the cheque number!

26-04-2011, 17:58
Saw an old bike at Shawbury today, black frame and yellow mudguards ala DHFS Helis ! Will try and get a pic this week, if no ones looking.

13-11-2015, 14:04
There had to be regulations of course (from FOLD3)


13-11-2015, 18:48
When I was doing my National Service at RAF Hendon in 1961/2, I was the SWO's clerk and at the weekend had use of his bicycle, woe betide it if anyone 'borrowed' it.:shock: As both Ted and Canberra will confirm, in those days it was said that the SWO had more 'clout' on the Station than the Commanding Officer.:grin:


14-11-2015, 12:17
Pull up a sandbag and put on your tin hat.

Back when I were a lad in the 50's, there was a big 'store' in Bath that sold redundant furniture - and various oddsz 'n soddz; and I used to go there on and off with my father. But he never bought me my 'dream item'. There was always a stock of passenger seats (reclining) in aluminium (?) and that infamous blue vinyl But, he would never buy me one for my bedroom... the rotten thing! And I really, really wanted one. :cry:

14-11-2015, 15:38
There had to be regulations of course (from FOLD3)


Very True ~ during my time at the Ministry of Technology in the mid to late 1960's there were two motor transport related investigations when some apprentices damaged a bicyle through inappropriate use and another when a four wheel drive jeep had been left in and extensively used on concrete in permanent 4 wheel drive which had resulted in transmission & tire damage.