The process of purchasing vehicles and equipment for the armed forces involved lengthy selection and testing to confirm that the required performance criteria was met. Quantities were then ordered by the War Office against that specification and for each order a ‘Contract’ was issued. Between July 1939 and the end of hostilities on 2nd September 1945 some 20 Matchless contracts were awarded. Over 80,000 machines (18,300 G3-WO and 63,600 G3L) were delivered to the services with most of these going to the Army via British based Ordinance Depots.
Contract numbers are not consecutive. For example: C4068 was the first G3-WO contract, C9506 the first G3L and C6150 the final wartime contract.
‘British Forces Motorcycles 1925-45’ (ISBN 978-0750944519 – 2nd edition 2006) is recommended reading. Authors Chris Orchard and Steve Maddon have used pains-taking research and extensive personal knowledge to produce one of the most definitive references available for these machines. The book includes an appendix listing each contract for each manufacturer in chronological order and provides contract dates as well as lists of Army census numbers allocated to each contract.
Contract Support Literature
For the majority of Matchless contracts support literature was issued comprising of a ‘Spares List’ (SL) and an ‘Instruction Book – Driving and Adjustment Instructions’ (for contracts up to and including C11102) and then separate ‘Maintenance Manual and Instruction Book’ plus ‘Drivers Handbook’ from C12632/3. SPLs for the G3L model are illustrated with line drawings of most parts or assemblies. These illustrations should not be regarded as being definitive as they were not always updated from one contract SL to the next. A list of illustration changes between one SL and that preceding can be viewed here: Parts list illustration changes
The majority of contracts were issued with a separate SL but sometimes multiple contracts were combined into a single list. After the first two G3-WO contracts (C4608 and C5247) each SL was given an edition number made up of the contract number followed by a consecutive suffix. Thus: Ed 6094-1 through to Ed 9506/9841-5 (the first G3L contract). Accompanying Instruction books were likewise numbered. From C12632/3 SLs used just the contract number without the suffix and instructional literature was divided into two titles: ‘Maintenance Manual and Instruction Book’ and ‘Drivers Handbook’. Drivers handbooks were numbered 100/xxx and maintenance manuals 101/xxx.
A list of titles and known edition numbers for these publications can be viewed here: Contract-support-literature
Many of these titles are freely available from here: AJS and Matchless Archives
If you want copies of any titles listed under Contract Support Literature which are not in the archives please contact us and we’ll try and help: firstname.lastname@example.org
The following illustrations are examples of contract support literature.