We maintain a parts database which contains the parts information from all of the known ‘Spares Lists’ published throughout the war. Searches of the database can be made at your request:
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.
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: http://www.matchlesswd.co.uk/parts-database/spl-illustrations/
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.
If you wish to date your frame or engine and see to which contract it belongs you should refer to War Office Contract Detail