Parts Database

Search database

The following link will take you to the parts database but, to get the utmost from this very powerful search facility, it is important that you understand how to use it correctly. If now is your first visit or you are still unfamiliar with this part of site please take time to read the next few paragraphs before you click on the link.

The database contains the part description, part number, part illustration, modern part number, notes, M.T. number, and contract numbers extracted from each of the available WD contract ‘Spares Lists’ (SL). In many cases, although the same part number is used, the design of the part was modified. An example of this would be the switch between rear frame sections with cast lugs and those assembled with fabricated lugs, for which no distinction is made within the parts numbers. In order to illustrate such variances we have linked suitably annotated photos, drawings or other images to the ‘part description’. Clicking on these links will access the images.

With many items it is possible to determine the finish of the part by looking at the first two letters of the part number; KF – Khaki-green No3, BF – Black Enamel, CF – Coslettised finish, DF – Dull chromium plate, NF – Dull nickel plate, SF – Silver finish, OF – Gold finish, UF – Unfinished (I.E. Left in natural colour of material). Note that although SLs for some contracts entirely omitted this information the finish can often be correctly assumed by looking at the same part listed under other contracts.

Illustrations of parts can be found here:

It is important to understand that SLs are not infallible. They were compiled during very pressured times and are unable to accurately represent the specification of every individual machine. Study of contemporary official photographs provides clear and incontrovertible evidence that, although machines were produced to particular WD contracts’ specifications, available batches of existing parts were often fitted to new contracts resulting in a degree of overlap.  It is also significant that, although to a somewhat lesser extent between G3-WO and G3L models, modified parts were generally designed to be interchangeable with previous incarnations. This was a key design factor allowing for more rationalised maintenance of spares stocks. The potential of such interchangeability was the divergence from ‘factory specification’ when machines were repaired, serviced or rebuilt in military workshops. For those who wish to rebuild their WD machines to ‘factory spec’, it is worth considering whether ‘factory spec’ can be defined in quite the same way as when such terminology is applied to civilian models.

You are able to enter multiple words in each field. For example: If you wished to search for ‘Engine plates’, entering ‘engine’ and ‘plate’ will search for any entry including both words with that exact spelling in any order. If you are not sure of the spelling just enter a part word such as ‘eng’ and ‘plat’, it will bring up the same list of results.

The database may be searched by a variety of fields either singly or in combination thus filtering the results to your needs. Search fields are: Part description, Part number, Contract number, M.T. number. By searching under one or more of these fields any associated information is displayed on the results page. As subsequent SPLs were produced the part description sometimes changed although the part number remained the same. Conversely; sometimes the part number changed but the description remained unaltered. In either case, searching on one or other will display all known variances. Additionally: Where a part number represents a part used in more than one location on the same machine (this is often the case with nuts / bolts etc) so all uses will be displayed. Where the quantities of parts utilised vary between contracts so multiple results will be displayed. It is always necessary to read the results fully.

Search fields

Description – This is the part description as given in the SL. Hovering over the field displays a scrollable list. SL part descriptions are assembled into groups under generic titles. If you have difficulty in identifying a specific part it is usually worth scrolling down and looking for likely possibilities listed under the generic headings.

Part number – There are three kinds of part number: The first as used by the Matchless Plumstead works, the second is the modern part number, and the third the M.T. number. The modern part number is the old number converted to Plumstead’s later (post-war) numbering system and the M.T. number that used by the military. Search the web for ‘V.A.O.S. numbering system’ for further details. If you enter all or part of any number the results page will list all available outputs. This is particularly helpful in narrowing the options if you have a part where only a portion of the number is apparent.

Contract number – The content of 16 War Office contract SLs are held in the database. This represents all of the known spare parts lists. We will add further lists if these should come to light. Searching on all or part of the number will bring up a list of available contracts. Searching on just the contract number will provide a list of all the parts for specifically that contract. That list is as near to the ‘factory spec’ as you can get.

If you wish to date your frame or engine and see to which contract it belongs you should refer to War Office Contract Detail

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You can post a comment by clicking on the word ‘Forum‘ (above left in large type) or by clicking on the small ‘speech bubble‘ symbol. These appear at the base of most pages on this site. You will then see a list of comments made by other site users. Scroll down and at the end of the list is a form for you to submit your own comments. When approved these will then be added to the list of previous posts.

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