Written by J.C. Current, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com
On 8 May 1945 a man riding a Norton 450 (likely the 490cc WD16H) motorcycle delivered a message from then Prime Minister Winston Churchill to King George VI. That message contained a top secret communication announcing that the Allies had accepted the surrender of Germany – World War II was over and that day was soon declared VE (Victory in Europe) Day. The man riding that Norton motorcycle was Churchill’s personal dispatch rider, Jimmy Wilde of Shillingstone, Dorset, UK. On 6 September 2010 he was awarded The Royal Signals Institution Medal for Excellence for 72 years long service to King, Queen and Country.
In fact, during the War, Wilde had served as the regular rider for the Prime Minister and often visited Buckingham Palace to deliver secret messages between Churchill’s office and the King of England. The guards there knew him well – so well, in fact, that they often simply waved him through. The VE Day message was special, though, and he knew it. The English people knew it too and they were out in the streets celebrating the end to that long, dreadful and deadly conflict.
Now at age 89, Wilde feels he may deserve it. After all, aside from just delivering the most important correspondence in the nation during wartime, he also managed to co-found the Dorset branch of the Royal Signals Association for people who served in the UK Army’s Royal Corps of Signals as he did.
The medal seriously thrilled Wilde and it did help to get his name and his motorcycle-connected communiqué delivery to the general public. And, of course, it’s a great story. Congratulations Mr. Jimmy Wilde, motorcycle messenger of peace!