Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team

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Triumph TR7V Tiger built under licence by LF Harris after Triumph's Meriden plant closed and used by the Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team.

The Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team (RSMDT), also known as the White Helmets, is a group of serving soldiers from the Royal Corps of Signals of the British Army, who give public displays of motorcycling skills, acrobatics and stunt riding. The team is based at the home of the Royal Signals at Blandford Camp in Dorset. The team is to be disbanded at the end of 2017.[1]


The team's origins lie in precision motorcycling and horseriding demonstrations given by instructors and students from the British Army Signal Training Centre in Yorkshire, beginning in 1927.[2] Riders were normally employed as despatch riders. They have had many names in the past including 'The Red Devils', before the Parachute Regiment team of the same name existed, Mad Signals (on account of the poor brakes on the motorcycles) and only adopted the name 'White Helmets' in 1963.

Today's team[edit]

Today's team consists of 24 soldiers and 1 officer, all volunteers from within the Royal Signals. Potential new members begin with a two-week selection course in October and the whole team spends the winter learning routines and stunts, culminating in an opening display in April where white motorcycle helmets are ceremonially presented to successful new recruits by the Signal Officer-in-Chief.[3] The remainder of the summer is spent touring, giving public performances at events throughout the United Kingdom and abroad such as the Royal Military Tournament. In the 1980s, the team participated prominently in a British television advertisement for Texaco petrol stations.[4]

Dress and equipment[edit]

Team members wear a tailored blue uniform and open-face white motorcycle helmets and traditionally use Triumph motorcycles.[5] Indeed, they still ride 750cc Millennium Triumph TR7V Tiger motorcycles adopted since originally supplied by the Meriden Motorcycle co-operative in the mid-1970s[6] and since by Les Harris.[7]


  1. ^ Marco Giannangeli (5 February 2017). "End of the Road: British Army's Royal Signals team to disband after 90 years". Daily Express. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  2. ^ "White Helmets homepage". Retrieved 11 July 2009. 
  3. ^ "A Year in the Life of the White Helmets". Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ What keeps the White Helmets up ? Classic Bike (March 2012)
  6. ^ Save The Triumph Bonneville! The Inside Story Of The Meriden Co-Operative by John Rosamond (Veloce 2009)
  7. ^ What keeps the White Helmets up ? Classic Bike (March 2012)

External links[edit]