1913 James 28″ Police Constabulary Bicycle

German air raids are usually associated with World War 2. But the first wartime German aerial bombardment was on 6 August, 1914, when the German Army Zeppelin ‘Z VI’ bombed the Belgian city of Liège, killing nine civilians. The first bomb to fall on British soil, dropped by a seaplane, landed in Dover on 24 December, 1914. From 1914-1918, Germany’s aerial campaign against Britain caused 4,743 casualties (1,394 killed and 3,349 injured) of which 2,603 occurred in London (667 killed and 1,936 injured).

1913 James Constabulary Bicycle

Model ‘Standard No 7’

28″ Frame

28″ Wheels

Obviously not every bicycle with a tall frame was used by the Police. But most police constables were taller than average so those who used bicycles required larger models. Some policemen used their own bicycles. The Police ordered bicycles from various manufacturers, usually a company’s heavy duty model without gears. The James Cycle Co was a major manufacturer of carrier cycles, making them a likely candidate to supply cycles for Police use.

There’s no specific Police history attached to this James roadster. But, in 1914, with war declared, every bicycle was needed. So, when I wrote ‘The Police’ chapter of my Book, I ‘called up’ this one into service, as an example of the type of machine that would have been used by the Constabulary. The Cyclist Corps patrolled the coast of England to watch for a German invasion. After German air attacks began, police cyclists with Take Cover signs warned citizens to find shelter.





extract from ‘Bad Teeth No Bar: A History of Military Bicycles in the Great War’ by Colin Kirsch