Unit History: RA Motorcycle Display
Motorbikes were introduced into the Royal Artillery during the First World War. They were used by Gunner Regiments to reconnoitre gun positions and for courier missions.
Today, the Royal Artillery will still use motorbikes in some very important roles. Battery Guides use them when leading the Guns onto the Gun Position and they are also used by Royal Artillery Special Forces Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols to infiltrate deep behind enemy lines on target acquisition and observation missions.
The Royal Artillery Motor Cycle Display Team originated from the 31st Training Regiment Royal Artillery Display Team, which was formed at Kinmel Park Camp, Rhyl, in the summer of 1949 and gave their first performance at the St Asaph Tattoo in July 1949.
The team was the brainchild of Captain David Miles, and used the normal issue Army Motor Cycles of that time, which were Matchless G3L machines. They were an immediate success and during their early days gave displays in North Wales and Central Wales and the neighbouring English counties.
From the very start the emphasis was on a slick, polished and professional presentation, with really well practiced precision riding for the team manoeuvres and a non-stop series of tricks, with the next machine always in the arena before the previous one had left.
The team remained in Rhyl until 1961, when 31st Training Regiment was disbanded, and by this time they had built up a reputation throughout the United Kingdom for the excellence of their displays. They had also changed their machines from the aging WD Matchless to BSA 500cc Gold Stars. This was the direct result of members of the team riding the BSA motor cycles in the 1960
International Six Day Trials, and the link between BSA and the team was to remain until 1974 when for various reasons which had nothing to do with the quality of the BSA, it was decided to change to the Greeves Griffon QUB.
The Team moved in 1961 from Rhyl to Woolwich, the home of the Royal Regiment of Artillery and became part of the Royal Artillery Recruiting Troop, and later the Royal Artillery Display Troop. The Team are now based at Larkhill, Wiltshire.