|The JAMES ML (the initials standing for Military Lightweight), was developed
from the JAMES K17 motorcycle made just prior to the war, with changes
being made, to amongst other things, the carburettor, and a shorter rear
mudguard being fitted.
Delivery commenced in March 1943 with all machines initially being allocated to Airborne troops , although as it turned out, the James ML saw more wartime service with beach assault formations and other ground troops, because the Royal Enfield WD/RE (Flying Flea), being lighter, took precedence on Airborne operations.
|However, the James ML acquired a great reputation on the Normandy beaches
during the D-Day landings of June 1944, when nearly 300 were in action.
Some had been ferried across in landing craft, while others had traveled
with airborne troops in invasion gliders.
Now under the control of the Beachmasters, and because of their lighter weight, able to cross softer areas of sand where other vehicles could not go, they were used like sheepdogs rounding-up troops and directing them to the paths blasted through the enemy defences as well as general fetching and carrying duties. It is thought that this is when the James ML acquired the strange nickname "The Clockwork Mouse".
Our bike was built in September 1943, one of a total of 6040 machines produced during 1943 and 1944 at an average cost of around £33.00 each.
Single cylinder, 122cc air-cooled, two-stroke
engine (Villiers 9D) driving the rear wheel through a three speed hand-change