Monday, June 12, 2017

Bill Peck, WW2 vet, was reunited with a Harley-Davidson WLA as part of his 97th birthday celebration.

Back in WW2 Bill Peck was a motorbike mechanic on the shores of North Africa, using a tarp for weather protection, and a gas can for his work bench, and the experience left a large imprint on him, and a couple years ago he was asked by a service provider what he wanted for his birthday. He replied a photo with a HD WLA.

And this year a reunion was arranged thanks to the owner of the nearby HD dealership, Don Huffman the retired former owner of Lakeland HD has this one and was way cool to help out a fellow vet.

"I have seen each part on this thing," Peck said, like the leather scabbard, the blackout headlight and the 45-cubic-inch twin cylinder "high compression" motor that would run on 74-octane gas.

"We have repair manuals if you want to go to work," Huffman joked.

"I don't need them," Peck responded.

Peck enlisted in 1940 and became a motorcycle mechanic since he had owned one. He said he preferred working on the bikes to trucks and Jeeps.

Since the war, he had a chance to ride "civilianized" WLAs twice, he said, but hadn't seen one in military trim since 1944.

Peck, a sergeant in the 1st Armored Division, and his two crewmen, were responsible for maintaining 32 of the machines.

Early in the distribution of the motorcycles Peck discovered a flaw, he said: moisture would get trapped in the carburetor after the bikes were washed. He came up with a fix that was later replicated in production.


  1. Great story. What memories for Bill.

  2. Look at the smile on his face...My dad was a tank commander in WW11..He made it back home..That's how I got here...Thanks Bill and my dad and everyone else..

    1. wow... tank commander! Damn, that finally had a decent movie - "Fury" and it looks like it was a hairy situation!

  3. I saw the movie, can you imagine going up against a tank with an 88 and you only have a .22....Brave heros for sure....
    Wish someone would outlaw wars..Wishful thinking..
    All the officers were killed in his company and so he ended up the company commander..

    1. No officers survived? Whoa! That right there deserves a movie! What was your dad's rank? Did your dad influence you toward or away from doing time in the military?

    2. Oh, and I'd love to post your dad's story if you would be okay with that. If you are, can you email me a couple photos of him? And details about his story, and him? To make it out alive is story enough, seriously.... but to survive the officers in your company and become the tank commander? Wow. That's incredible