Day 2 – Meeting an Outback Motorcyclist on his own WWI Journey


We meet some interesting people on the road during The Borella Ride. John Wheeler is one such man. His Yamaha Tenere motorcycle carries three military medal illustrations, all dating from World War I.

They are in memory of John’s grandfather, Battery Sergeant-Major Ted Wheeler, who served in the Boer War and then the Great War.

The reason for them adorning the motorbike is that 2015 is an Anzac Centenary year and John simply wishes to remember his grandfather. He spends a few months a year touring on the big single cylinder bike.

Sergeant Wheeler served in the African War despite being almost too young for it. He stepped forward again when 1914 saw the new crisis break out. The artillery was his choice: a dangerous occupation but the backbone of the combat arms of the land forces. At the end of the World War I he was given three medals: the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

John was pleased to have his photograph taken with the Borella family as they retrace the footsteps of Albert Borella VC in his quest to join up. Pictured from the left is Richard, Rowan and Mary Borella, and John Wheeler.

The Borella Ride continues up the Stuart Highway.

By Dr Tom Lewis, Lead Historian for The Borella Ride.