SOUND TO THE CORE: Government engineers officially approved the Columbia Military Model for use in the World War. It is significant of the sturdiness of construction and utter trustworthiness of this model that it was selected as the Standard Bicycle for the United States Army. Completely equipped, finished in distinctive military drab, being of double bar construction and seamless tubes throughout and sound to the core, it is one of the best-value products ever produced by Westfield.
– 1919 Columbia Sales Brochure
1918 WW1 Columbia Military Model
U.S Army Issue
Frame No J18182
Columbia capitalized on their military production during WW1 and, for several years after 1918, civilian versions of the Military Model featured in their catalogues. I’m not sure if this example is one of the original military bicycles sent to France during WW1, or a Columbia ‘Military Model’ sold subsequently by the company to capitalise on their military effort.
22,502 Columbia military bicycles were supplied to the U.S government in 1918, and a total 26,407 American bicycles were shipped overseas. I found Columbia number J18182 in France, where it had been stored for many years in a semi-dismantled state, so a connection with WW1 could be likely.
It has had a light restoration, with new wheels and tyres, and is ready to ride and display.
Photographed now, in the early morning light, on a lonely sussex beach facing toward the battlefields of a century ago, it’s not hard to imagine the sound of War. The mines and shelling from across the English Channel could even be heard in London.
PHOTO LOCATION: SEAFORD MARTELLO TOWER
Martello Tower No 74 is the most westerly of a line of defensive fortifications built along the Kent and Sussex coast during the Napoleonic Wars.
The Tower is a round two-storey structure surrounded by a dry, brick-lined moat. It was constructed between 1806 and 1810.The War Department sold it in 1880. During the next 90 years it passed through a number of hands and was used for various commercial purposes.
During the 1930s the moat floor was used as a roller skating rink while the tower was used as a cafeteria.
It now houses Seaford Museum.