Friday, August 15, 2014

Weekending C&V: 1920s Bike Messenger


Did you know that the first British soldier killed during World War I was, reputed to have been, a young reconnaissance cyclist named John Parr? He was killed while scouting German positions in Belgium three weeks after war was declared. 

By the time the horror of World War I rolled across Europe, bicycles had proven their worth in warfare situations for some forty years (they were reportedly used during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871). During WWI most, if not all the combatant nations, employed bicycle riders as scouts and messengers. Germany, Belgium, Britain, France, and Italy all deployed special bicycle units for their speed and mobility. It may not be surprising to anyone reading this that Italy utilized the bicycle more than any of the others, and the Bersaglieri light infantry were especially noted for those very reasons.

Dated to the 1920s, this little toy-turned-collectible was spotted in an antique shop in Auburn, California. I can't be sure if it represents an Army scout or messenger, or a postal delivery rider. However, it was paired with a second figure who was crouched on one knee and holding a pair of binoculars. Based on that, i suspect the former. Besides, did postal riders wear helmets at that time?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...