The unapproachable Marlene D.

A page on a WWII Norton WD 16H stranded in Norway, and on the norwegian use of these motorcycles post-war.


My own 490 cc british Norton WD 16H was produced 1942 (as the norwegian army claims, or 1943/44 according to production numbers), and is still going strong. Shakes like a pneumatic drill above 90 km/h, and thus behaves the best at cruising speed. A real head-turner, and now living her senior years under the name of Marlene D.

Marlene D. and her driver as captured by photographer Espen Lodden [page].


The Norton WD 16H (WD is short for War Department) was in use by the Norwegian army in the 50s, as this facsimile from "Håndbok for soldaten" (1951 ) shows. The first real batch of vehicles came to Norway in the late 40s and was eventually replaced by other brands and Willys jeeps in the late 50s, early 60s.

The following piece of ingeniosity, however, is pictured in war-time Norway! It was taken in Lakselv during the liberation of northern Norway, ca October 1944. A Norton, together with a bicycle, is used to transport a wounded norwegian soldier on a stretcher. These four were part of the 300 men strong force from the Norwegian Brigade in Scotland, shipped in via Murmansk.

The history in short: The earliest Nortons to arrive in Norway after the outbreak of peace, seems to be the vehicles brought over to guard King Haakon VII's, our then king, return to Norway the 7th of June 1945.  These Nortons were driven by members of the Norwegian resistance force, Milorg, partly equipped by the SOE during the war, and thus some of them using british uniforms and british equipment, as can be seen on the two photographs; detail of the first to be seen on the right. Note the partly visible Census ("C") number on the petrol tank. This was the standard british wartime registration number.

War-time photo: A female mechanic, probably with the Norwegian forces in Scotland, has gotten use of her mechanical skills. The 16H has the crankcase shield off, and she's probably tightening the engine bolts. 

Picture from the 1957 edition of"Håndbok for soldaten" (Soldier's handbook). A rather battered motorcycle is used for off-road training.

 While the war ended 8th of May, Norway - never actually being an Allied country - wasn't technically free until the 7th of June, a month later, when the command was handed over from the Allies. Being non-allied meant that all the left-over german equipment, weapons and infrastructure in reality was british property. Most of this enormous amount of war-time production was subseqently destroyed. To tell a long story short: This is how the Norwegian post-war army started out with equipment bought from the british (up until, of course, the 1948 US Marshall plan virtually landed on us). While a rather rotten business trick, this ensured the 16H an afterlife in the cold north. And that is what this page is all about. Any info, pictures on the use of Nortons in the post-war Norwegian Army would be appreciated!

If you own an ex-Norwegian Army Norton, please get in touch with me! I'm also on the look-out for any piece of information - pictures, documents, stories, etc - on these bikes and their use in post-war Norway!  My e-mail can be found at the bottom of this page. Thanks!   Ketil.


My other pages:


Norton cont´d:

Frykt og avsky! Sørland! 

Fear and loathing! Southern Norway! My go at the Motorcycle diaries-meets-Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance-meets-Fear and loathing in Las Vegas-meets-What I did last summer, 5th grade. Sort of.     Norwegian only. 


Norwegian only manual pdf


1990 Classic Bike roadtest of Norton, BSA and Matchless, all WD. pdf.


Newsreel footage from King Haakon VII's return to Norway in 1945, with a small fleet of 16h's. 

  • Crown Prince Olav's return (link)
  • The Gov't returns (link)
  • King Haakon VII returns (link)

Buy - Sell - Swap

Mainly 16h/WD. To come.

Norwegian owners

Get in touch with other owners.

For international owners, check out Rob's Norton page (below).

External links 

Be sure to visit Rob van den Brink's excellent page on the war-era Nortons

For english language manuals for your bike, ask Groucho. 

Classic Bike Owners Club Bergen. 


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