'Despatch Rider' is now available in paperback! 


Lots of 5* reviews  on  Amazon - see 'Reviews' page

New content added to 'Sgt Raymond Alvey RAF' page


Over 1300 hardback copies sold (and a similar quantity of Kindle/ebooks)


Articles on 'Vintage British Bikes' and Pen and Sword's 'Warfare magazine' websites


Review by Ian Hay- Campbell, Friends of the National Archives


Review by Paul Norman in Books Monthly


Review in Nacelle (Triumph Owners'  magazine)


'Despatch Rider' is spotted on the (bottom) shelves at Foyles - and the top shelf at The National Archives!


'Despatch Rider' is featured in Classic Motorcycle magazine


Forthcoming talks and events - see EVENTS

Buy the book!

Despatch Rider on the Western Front 1915-18, in both hardback and paperback versions, can be bought direct from the editor - please email as below. The publishers, Pen and Sword Books, can also supply E-Pub and Kindle versions of the book.


If you have any queries please email me:


Welcome to the website of Sgt Albert Simpkin's "Despatch Rider on the Western Front, 1915-18", set up and managed by the diarist's great nephew, David Venner. There is also a page on David's uncle, Sgt Raymond Alvey, who was a Wirelss Operator/Air Gunner in WW2.


You can read extracts from Albert Simpkin's diary and find details of talks, book signings etc via these webpages.  The full typescript of the diary has been deposited with the Imperial War Museum, London and can be consulted there by appointment. Better still, buy a copy of the book!

Albert Simpkin was born near Manchester in 1885. He was an early motorcycle enthusiast and rode his Douglas Twin all over Britain both on business and for pleasure.

Albert joined the Royal Engineers (31st Signal Company) in 1914 and served as a motorcycle despatch rider with the HQ of the 37th Division He survived four years on the Western Front & was demobilised in Feb. 1919

Albert Simpkin in Feb. 1915, on being promoted to sergeant. In June 1917 he was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the Battle of Arras.

Albert kept a detailed diary of his many and varied experiences during the War.

"Despatch Rider on the Western Front 1915-18" is an abridged version of the diary,

published by Pen & Sword Books in May 2015.

Albert Simpkin on his army issue Triumph Model H, known as the Triumph Trusty because of its reliability. Albert noted in his diary: "I find it handles rather heavily compared with my light Douglas machine."

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor the gloom

of night stays these Couriers from the swift 

accomplishment of their appointed routes". 


Next project ...

My next project is a biography of my uncle Sgt Raymond Alvey, RAF, (left) based on his WW2 diaries. The 75th anniversary of his death in Norway in November 1942 was recently commemorated at the crash site, involving the local community as well as relatives of the four crew members who lost their lives.

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© Diary of a Despatch Rider