The Flying Flea : One of the most historic motorbikes of war
As was known at the beginning of the company, Royal Enfield not only produced motorbikes but also ammunition and artillery devices and supplied them to several parties such as the British and Belgian troops. When World War II raged the British need the right vehicle. Its specifications must be above the average motorbike of its era, which means not only strong, but simple, stubborn and concise to be used by army personnel.
Not many people know Redditch, one of the small cities in England, exactly 24 km south of Birmingham. Redditch became famous in the eyes of the world during the Industrial Revolution because of the superior production of needles and fishing rods. This city was the first location of Royal Enfield when it was launched in 1901 which was equipped with production machine tools.
The city is also a silent witness to World War II and has given birth to many superior seedlings of machinists who are skilled in making precision parts, such as drilling ma
chines, cutting machines, welding rigs, and lathes at factories located underground. The plant was set up at the site of an abandoned stone quarry in Westwood, near Bradford, Avon.
The Royal Enfield underground factory is resistant to bomb blasts. So it is quite safe from enemy surveillance. This facility not only manufactures motorcycles, but also weapons, including predictors for accurate anti-aircraft gun control. Inside, it is equipped with various equipment which at that time is quite strange to hear, such as anti-smoke alarms and air conditioning with humidity control.
Even though it is underground, the Royal Enfield factory also specifically provides a room where workers can still get direct sunlight. Interestingly, the majority of workers at Westwood are women, because most men must join the armed forces.
The outbreak of World War II dashed plans for the production of Royal Enfield civil motorcycles. During this war, all citizens and producers in the UK joined in. Including Royal Enfield which stopped the production of civilian motorbikes and began developing war-specific motorbikes called Flying Flea for the armed forces.
The motorbike is supported by a 2-stroke engine with a capacity of 125 cc and will soon be used by the British armed forces, especially paratroopers. The Royal Enfield, known as the WD / RE model, was specifically designed so that it could be dropped by parachute into enemy territory to assist air forces in establishing communication lines during the battle of Arnhem in 1944.
When World War II raged the British need the right vehicle. Its specifications must be above the average motorbike of its era, which means not only strong, but simple, stubborn and concise to be used by army personnel.
During the war, thousands of RE motorcycles were sent to almost all areas of war conflict. But only the Flying Flea was able to be dropped to the enemy rear line by paratroopers.
Royal Enfield RE / WD 125 ‘Flying Flea’ is deployed on the front lines by being dropped by parachute in special protective equipment or carried on a Horsa jet fighter. From there the name Flying Flea was finally obtained, which means Flying Flea.
While on land, this small motorbike was used for reconnaissance, communication and as a means of bringing soldiers into war. His job is quite crucial because it must be reliable on the battlefield but strong carrying a heavy burden.
Historically, Flying Flea was used in two major operations such as Operation Market Garden in September 1944, the largest aerial operation in history and D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history.
Flying Flea itself is produced at the Royal Enfield underground facility in Westwood, England. For the ‘Flying Flea’ the first generation that actually used war was a production between 1939 until 1941.
The advantage of this motorbike is in its light weight, stubborn engine and handling that is steady and easy to be invited to by the forest. Faced with a fence or ditch, the rider can come down and lift his motorcycle easily.
Dimensions have a length of 191 cm and a width of 66 cm with a dry weight of 59 kg. The heart is equipped with a 125cc 2-stroke engine with 3.5 hp at 4,500 rpm and has a top speed of 72 km / hour. Power is transferred using a 4-speed transmission.
The great thing about Royal Enfield Flying Fleas is that they are designed to be dropped with parachutes. In addition, Flying Flea can also send messages and signals and is equipped with radio communication.
After the war, the Royal Enfield underground factory continued to manage spare parts which eventually completed all components of the motorcycle. Under the control of the newly formed company, Enfield Precision Engineering, the facility only produced Interceptor type motorcycles between 1967 until 1970. Then several former Enfield employees took over parts of Westwood and used it as a workshop for two decades.
Even today the storage area is still used by private security companies as archive facilities and lockers. Then some of the machinery and equipment from this historic factory can still be found in a location that is a relic from the initial factory of Royal Enfield.
The legend of the Flying Flea skydiving motorcycle is the first to show the Royal Enfield monogram logo. This is closely related to the character of the city, where the Redditch sign is then decorated with wing designs, and finally adopted by Royal Enfield Classic. While the original Redditch mark has been revived for use in the Royal Enfield Classic Redditch series.