My WD16H

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Actually, I am an airplane nut, but as money and space are scarce commodities, I finally settled for a motorcycle.

The 16H Norton is simple motorcycle, which carries me across the country at an leisurely pace, enabling sightseeing
 without to much danger (although watching a Stork flying overhead nearly landed me into a ditch). Motorways are no pleasantries, river dikes are.

Bought as civil machine in January 1977, I found out afterwards it really was a wartime hack.
When I bought the 16H, I was totally ignorant of motorcycles,  but the Norton name had somehow left some impression
in the back of my mind.  

As bought without knowing its military pedigree        After initial restoration in 1979

Still in civvies I used it to get my drivers license, which at that time was rather unusual. (No speedo, brake light,
direction indicators, and a notoriously unreliable Lucas electric system). I solved the speedo issue by mounting the speedo of my moped (Puch M50 Skylark) and "calibrating" it by following my brother driving his Renault 4! It actually was quite accurate.

In February 1978 I bought an R50 BMW as even then, it was a bit awkward to ride such an old machine in "modern traffic" and for "every day" travel. This enabled me to start the restoration of the 16H. For a number of military additions I used parts from another bike (see restoration page). I also bought quite some parts from the, now deceased, George Yeomans at Drayton Mill near Birmingham. He had loads of nice stuff although I came a year too late. He sold brand new (old stock) engines for a ridiculous low price (as he found out later) the year before.
During the prolonged search to the origins I found out that it really was a motorcycle from a 1942 contract (the Dutch number plate license noted 1945! which, with hindsight, may have been its rebuild date). Being made in 1942/43 was only possible as a military motorcycle. At that time this information was relative hard to find, and I learned about its history during my holidays in England.

I rebuild it to its supposedly original delivery condition as I understood it to be then. At present it is over 95% original (parts used).  I would say it ended up as a nice representative of a "Rebuild" motorcycle!

In 1995 I added insignia to resemble a machine of the Royal Signals detachment of the Dutch "Prinses Irene Brigade"
which obtained 30 Norton's in Nov. - Dec. 1940.  
At present I am contemplating a repaint of the machine, using tea with milk colours as those were most probable used on the original.

During a visit to Biggleswade in 1980 (in my quest to find additional parts), I was quite surprised when I was invited by a member of the organizing committee to attend the "Wheels at war day" at Duxford, because they did not have a Norton 16H on the show!! 
It was a most memorable weekend, meeting a lot of pleasant people, driving a Chieftain tank! and riding various other motorcycle brands. Remember, "a motorcycle is ridden, not driven" (according to the British Army Motorcycle Training films of 1942). This also explains why old military motorcycle documents refer to "off side" and "near side" when referring to respectively "right" and "left" hand of a motorcycle. These were terms related to horses used by the cavalry in the olden days. Old prewar military men saw motorcycles as mechanized horses!  

Through all the searches I learned a bit of the history of military motorcycles. 20 years ago this was a relatively
 unspoken item in Holland, fed by the lack of military tradition in Holland and many people who want to forget instead of to remember. Since the last 5 - 10 years, the various liberation festivities have changed that.