Sunday, March 7, 2010
Positive ID !
Well it's official........... after HOURS and HOURS, and DAYS and DAYS of research, hunting for clues, sorting through endless pages of text and pictures, I finally hit the pay dirt that I have been looking for. I have an actual photo of a Bundesgrenzschutz Officer sitting on an official BGS service bicycle! The photo was taken in the early 1960's and the bike in the picture is the same brand, style and color as mine (WW2 vintage). The only exception is that the rear rack is different and it has an ID board inside the triangle, under the top tube displaying a unit emblem.
I found the picture on a website that is hosted by a retired, career BGS officer. The web site has a number of photo pages of past officer reunions and pages of photos from the different officers time in service. The heading on the photo described it as a rare picture of a BGS service bicycle. I have been corresponding with the the retired BGS officer in Germany and he is assisting me with getting more info about the photo and finding more info on the early BGS bikes. He has said that in the first years of the BGS, old WW2 equipment was drafted into BGS service until new equipment was eventually acquired. I have also located old photos and narrative describing early BGS officers wearing WW2 issue helmets, equipment and even weapons for the first couple of years after the service went active. So, it looks like my hunches have all panned out!
All of the "experts" on old German military service bikes that I contacted assured me that the BGS never used or issued bicycles.................... so, don't give up on a line of research just because the "official" experts tell you that you're just grasping at smoke. I have also acquired quite a number of photos showing WW2 German soldiers using civilian bicycles, and converted civilian bicycles, to transport their gear and weapons in combat....... that makes for another "expert" proclamation now proved false: Civilian bikes were commonly used in combat by the German Army during WW2.
Hold the faith and stay tuned........ the journey continues.
I will be basing my restoration on the bicycle that appears in the BGS photograph and on any additional information that the officer in Germany can provide.