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Thread: 45` WLH dutch Military police bike - ever heard about that?

  1. #11

    Re: 45` WLH dutch Military police bike - ever heard about that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarge View Post
    WLA, yes. "WLH?" No such animal. Never was a WLH built by the Motor Company.
    AMCA Senior Judge
    Gotta Love It!!

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Lachenaie, QC

    Re: 45` WLH dutch Military police bike - ever heard about that?

    That was posted on the AMCA site a few weeks back.

    On the WLH:
    When I wrote “How To Restore Your Military Harley-Davidson” I omitted the WLH as I had only heard of it in passing in the 1980s, had not seen any examples, and found no evidence of it in use by any military service. However, since writing the book I found that a photograph I had obtained from my cousin Fran Blake in the early 1980s showed a WLH is actual use by the Dutch Army (circa mid-1950s). Since then I have found no documents to give further evidence with the only evidence being the physical evidence of a few complete WLHs and WLH crankcases and talking to a gentleman who had purchased some from a lot of 25 at a Dutch Army auction in the 1960s.

    What is a WLH? It is a cross between a 43WLC and a 50WL. It has the electric system of the 50WL (tail lamp, headlamp mounted high, front fender lamp). The tanks, dash, and fenders are post-war military. From the WLC, it has the Servi-Car type front fork with Big Twin front brake, front stand, hand clutch, and interchangeable wheels. A nice looking bike.

    On the WLJ:
    Other than having seen the photographs of a dozen or so sets of crankcases with the 51WLJ serial number, I know nothing factual. However, you can eliminate the Japanese military and Japan overall from being a factor.

    After the end of World War II, Japan’s new Constitution renounced Japan from ever maintaining any land (or sea or air) forces. Nothing in any shape or form existed of a Japanese military until 1950 and then only in the form of a national guard. In 1950, with the United States protecting Japan from external threats, Japan established the National Police Reserves to handle internal issues. It was not until 1954 when Japan’s Diet established the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) and put it under the control of the National Police Reserves which had been renamed the National Police Force in 1952.

    Rikuo, as a motorcycle company, survived World War II and was allowed to manufacture its motorcycles. However, without a military to buy these, and most citizens without funds to purchase one, Rikuo’s main buyers were local police forces. This was not enough to keep the company open leading Rikuo to shutdown in 1949.

    In 1951, Rikuo, now being funded by Showa, began production again in a new plant producing the older 750cc and 1200cc models along with a new 250cc model.

    With a hard recovery from a devastating war, a fledgling National Police Force, and home companies like Rikuo struggling for survival, the Japanese government was not seeking to place contracts with Harley-Davidson or any other non-national company for products that could be produced at home. By purchasing at home, they were speeding their recovery.

    As far as a Japanese citizen was concerned, one could purchase a new Harley-Davidson if they were willing to pay the 30% import duty that existed throughout the 1950s.

    To date, the 51WLJ has surfaced mainly in either Indonesia or the Netherlands. As time passes they will appear in other locations of the world but simply because someone carries it there and not because it was contracted for from H-D by that location.

    Until very late 1949, Indonesia was a Dutch Colony known as the Dutch East Indies. It is possible, with its long ties to the Netherlands and because it did not have motorcycle manufacturing companies of its own, Indonesia could have ordered the WLJ for its purposes and WLJs later migrated to the Netherlands by ex-Pats returning home. However, just as possible, the WLJ was purchased for use in the Netherlands and later exported to Indonesia by Dutch ex-Pats wanting to live in Indonesia. Whatever the source of the contract, the WLJs ties to the Dutch are strong.

    The Dutch military was not the only large user of Harley-Davidsons in the Netherlands. There were also the Police Forces and perhaps the largest user, the Algemene Nederlandse Wielrijders Bond (ANWB).

    The ANWB is the Dutch Automobile Club, similar to the USA’s AAA and the UK’s AA. After World War II, the ANWB used many WLCs with distinctive ANWB package trucks attached (the UK’s AA used the same package truck body style). Frequently referred to as “Yellow Bikes”, they were for roadside assistance and well appreciated. Over the years, the WLCs were worn out and new motorcycles were purchased. Replacement H-Ds were purchased by the ANWB and perhaps these replacements were the mysterious WLJ.

    The French Connection:
    France too used WLAs and WLCs in their Army following World War II. Enough so to have WLA manuals published in French (there is also a Spanish translation of the WLA TM9-1879 manual produced by the US GPO in 1948 for our southern neighbors).

    Throughout World War II, France through the Vichy France government remained in control of their Asian colony, French-Indochina. Following the war, with the restoration of their free-French government, France tried to re-establish full control of its colony. However, with world opinion against France’s rule of Indo-China and strong independence movements, France fully ceded all interest in 1954, leaving Laos and Cambodia independent and Vietnam split between a North government and a South government.

    While it is known that Saigon ordered Harley-Davidsons in the 1960s for Police duties, it remained unclear of their previous uses of H-Ds. But now, with exports of NOS H-D parts from Saigon of pre-World War II 45 parts (1937-1940 WL), post-war Big Twin 1950s parts, and 42WLA parts and these parts sourcing from former Saigon government warehouses, it appears that the French Annam Administration supplied the South government with H-D parts from French Army stocks and, possibly from Dutch Army stocks seized by the Japanese (the pre-war 45 parts).

    Prior to World War II, the only known French contract for American motorcycles is the 5000 Indians in 1940. Prior to World II, France was fairly independent in the production of motorcycles. The Dutch, however, did not manufacture motorcycles. Prior to World War II, motorcycles provided to the Dutch Army in the Dutch East Indies were Harley-Davidson, including the 1937-1940 WL. So it seems plausible that the source of the spare parts for 1937-1940 WL models in the former Saigon government’s stores was from the Dutch Armies stock in the Dutch East Indies.
    43 wlc

    '' 4 wheels move the body, 2 wheels move the soul ''

  3. Re: 45` WLH dutch Military police bike - ever heard about that?

    hallo ,
    my name is jörn and i'm the grazy man want to buy the WLH.
    i search many times in internet, wrote to many people, i read many thinks and found..........nothing concretes. i know the story from mr. palmer and wrote to him. i hope he can help.
    i want learn more about the history from these bikes. have anybody more informations for these bikes? pictures or anything?

    @ 37EL : i send you an PM. hope you can bring a little light into the dark.

    thanks to all for the help.
    best regards

  4. #14

    Re: 45` WLH dutch Military police bike - ever heard about that?

    Quote Originally Posted by indianut View Post
    AMCA Senior Judge
    Gotta Love It!!
    Thats what I was thinking..............
    Matt Walksler

    '38 Knucklehead -- '39 WLDD
    '41 ULH -- '53 Panhead
    '16 J-model Cutdown (in progress) -- '49 Dual-Carb Panhead (in progress)

  5. #15

    Re: 45` WLH dutch Military police bike - ever heard about that?

    Found 4 pictures of the Dutch Marechaussee (MP) on a WLH.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Re: 45` WLH dutch Military police bike - ever heard about that?

    I have a very nice set of WLH tanks for sale

    original with nice patina !

    very very hard to find ,ask for pics

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Western Australia

    Re: 45` WLH dutch Military police bike - ever heard about that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lib45 View Post
    The WLJ was made for the dutch "KNIL" army in Indonesia (the J stands for Java)
    Lib45, welcome to the forum. Can you please provide evidence to support your mention that J stands for Java. Thank you.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Re: 45` WLH dutch Military police bike - ever heard about that?

    Read this (with google translate) dutch website.
    The man in the know is dutchman Ger Dijkshoorn, contact him at
    All I know from what I've read is that both the WLH and WLJ were made between 1950 and 1953.
    Last edited by Lib45; 01-07-2017 at 04:33 PM.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Western Australia

    Re: 45` WLH dutch Military police bike - ever heard about that?

    Thanks for the link, Lib45. It led to an interesting read although some comments there are bewildering—for example, part of the belly number info is incorrect in the extreme because those belly numbers do not contain a number to indicate what month the case was cast. I ran across that same bad info in a thread on another forum two years ago and I fixed it.

    But concerning the J in WLJ, you say the man in the know is Ger Dijkshoorn. Do you mean he thinks as you do in that J stands for Java? Because that isn’t how it looked to me. In that thread it would seem Mr Dijkshoorn thinks the Model WLJ was intended for shipment to Japan.
    In his first post Mr Dijkshoorn said in part: ‘Volgens HD zijn er een beperkt aantal WLJ modellen gemaakt. Dit was een serie voor export naar Japan.’
    And via Google that apparently translates to the following: ‘According to HD, there are a limited number of models WLJ made. This was a series for export to Japan.’

    Later in the thread he said he had a WLJ for revision (Google translation) and that said WLJ was imported from Japan although that doesn’t necessarily mean Japan was its first home after it left the US.

    I do not know what J indicates. But judging by Mr Dijkshoorn’s first post in that thread it seems he thinks the WLJ was an export model for Japan.

    You said J stands for Java. What is your opinion based on?

    In the meantime I will try to contact Mr Dijkshoorn.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Re: 45` WLH dutch Military police bike - ever heard about that?

    I say : J stand for JAVA ,because it was a part of Indonesia a Dutch Colony in that time !

    and most of the WLJ were found in The netherlands and Indonesia !
    Last edited by HDMAUS; 10-03-2013 at 03:01 PM.

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