Harley-Davidson: Devon Countryside May Harbour Military Motorcycle Graveyard

A view of the military troops that used the Harley-Davidson motorcycles - specifically, the WLA 'Liberators'

Beyond the abundance of lush rolling fields, wooded valleys, heathland, and tors of England’s Devon countryside is a secret connected to the Normandy beaches of D-Day.

That secret, locals insist, is heaps of buried Harley-Davidson military motorcycles (among other equipment) that were brought in when the vets of our country entered to train for what was the largest seaborne invasion in history – and by all accounts, they’re still there. 

A view of the military troops that used the Harley-Davidson motorcycles - specifically, the WLA 'Liberators'

The report from DevonLive covers the basic facts; that over the years, “many people have come forward with claims that there are Harley-Davidsons – in perfect condition, in wooden crates and greased to preserve them for evermore – buried under the countryside.”

This is due to the fact that over 3000 soldiers were brought in for training exercises, with piles of equipment in their wake to supply the fleets. 

June 1944 saw the departure of the troops, leaving the US Army with the conundrum of what to do with the leftover equipment – and, according to locals, they “like armies all over the world before and after them, they simply buried much of it and left.”

A view of the military troops that used the Harley-Davidson motorcycles - specifically, the WLA 'Liberators'

Currently, an industrial estate and housing development are resurrected where witnesses argue the stashes of bikes to be, with another purported location being the fields near Kingsbridge.

“Responses online to our recent story about the ‘rural legend’ of surplus Harley Davidson motorbikes being buried under farmers’ fields suggests there might be something to it,” comments the report from DevonLive

Should the myths be true, then included in the treasure trove of vintage goods would be Harley Davidson WLA motorcycles or ‘Liberators’ – a tough-as-nails dual sport adventure bike from America’s favorite motorcycle manufacturer, built to withstand foreign land and the opposing team.

A view of the military troops that used the Harley-Davidson motorcycles - specifically, the WLA 'Liberators'

DevonLive even quoted a gentleman from an internet forum by the name of Urbmark, a user dedicated to classic motorcycles.

He said the following intriguing lines: 

“Close to where I live is a large industrial estate called Heathfield. It is well documented that the Americans used this site as a dumping ground before the actual invasions took place. Included in the burial were literally dozens of new Harleys still in their crates.”

“A few years back, before phase two of the estate was built, a large dig took place to try and locate the buried dump, but alas, nothing was found. A late friend of mine discovered a Jeep dumped on another site and covered in brambles. He fully restored it and won many prizes at vintage rallies.”

“Oh! to find those Harleys, though…”

A view of the military troops that used the Harley-Davidson motorcycles - specifically, the WLA 'Liberators'

We have another story from a bloke by the name of Turpy, who has added the following: 

“My friend’s father used to be in charge of the council infill site at Ludwell lane in Exeter. He was there in the 1940s/50s when the American airbase at Countess Wear was handed over to the Royal Navy.

“He witnessed thousands of tonnes of American surplus buried there. He used to unpack crated “Indian” scout motorcycles and ride them around the site until the fuel in the tank ran out, and then bury them with the rest.”

“The Americans used to turn up in brand new trucks full of stuff and just leave them running and bury them as they were. Many of these were full of ammunition and are now under a housing estate!”

“There was also the nearby quarry at Quarry lane, behind the then-Heles school annex (formerly Nissen huts for the base) where, as kids, we used to play in the abandoned trucks and Jeeps which were several feet off the ground, where the trees had grown up underneath them.”

A view of the military troops that used the Harley-Davidson motorcycles - specifically, the WLA 'Liberators'

One more addition to the book of tales, this time from a ‘Moss’ (we are going to guess they are biologically-inclined):

“My father told me about [the abandoned military bikes] many years ago.

“He was stationed at Dunkeswell, and when the Americans left, he said they buried crated Harleys and Jeeps.

“He drew a rough map at the time, but when I expressed my childhood excitement, he confessed to having lost it.

“He also told me that one could buy Tiger Moth and Spitfire surplus aircraft for a pittance. He thought of doing so, but times were hard. It was difficult to acquire the basic necessities of life back then.”

A view of the military troops that used the Harley-Davidson motorcycles - specifically, the WLA 'Liberators'

Be sure to leave a comment letting us know your own stories and thoughts – we love hearing from you. 

While you’re here, check out our recent article on Steve Mcqueen’s Iconic Triumph R6 Trophy Recycled Into A Moto-Inspired Watch, and as always – stay safe on the twisties.

*All media sourced from CurbsideClassic*