During the First World War, they were widely used by the British Army at the Front. The heavy ‘Vickers’ machine guns, which took as many as eight man to carry, were fitted to motorbike sidecars making them easier to move, as well as providing space to carry ammunition.
This image shows women riding a motorbike and sidecar in Hartlepool around this time. It’s not known exactly where this photograph was taken, but the barrels in the background indicate it was probably at Camerons Brewery. It’s likely the women in the picture were working there – as in many industries during wartime – in place of the men who would have been needed to serve in the armed forces.
Image courtesy of Hartlepool Library Service