It is with great sadness that I heard today of the death of Hans Werner. I was privileged to meet him a number of times, not least when I photographed him for The Moultoneer cover design shown below. We corresponded from time to time on various cycle history matters relating to Moultons, hub gears and, most recently, Raleigh’s involvement in Germany. I always found him a most knowledgadble and courteous person. It was a pleasure and honour to know him.
His friend Brian Perkins has written the following eulogy:
You will be familiar with Hans from his regular articles in the
Moultoneer. He was one of the few members to appear on the cover, with his
excellent John Woodburn replica. This was how I became friends with him in 2002.
Before this Hans had collected bicycles, beautiful German model trains, classic
cameras and small motorcycles, all meticulously maintained. His first Moulton
purchase was a Super 4 mini.
He was most interested in the history of the 1960s Moulton company,
particularly the works specials and the racing records, and that led him to
create the John Woodburn replica that he brought to BoA in 2003. This project
took many months searching on World eBay for the correct vintage parts. After
that success, Hans built a replica of one of Vic Nicholson’s blue Mk3 machines
which he called “Blue Boy”. He told me that it was his favourite Moulton to ride
and he used it frequently in the Bavarian Alps near to his home.
But undoubtedly Hans’ greatest famous Moulton replica was his Moulton Marathon,
completed around three years ago. Colin Martin owned the original, on which he
cycled to Australia in 1970. The Werner replica took months of planning and
research, and several difficult jobs such as installing the main beam joint.
Again he took great pains to get every detail accurate, gradually collecting the
precise vintage parts for the machine. For example, the wheel rims had to be
dimpled Sturmey-Archer. The result was so good, you cannot tell it from the real
Marathon in Japan.
That is why Hans should to be revered by all Club members. But even if he had
done none of these things, he deserves to be remembered for his ready wit and
humour (most un-German, one would have thought), his unending kindness and
generosity of spirit and his warm-hearted friendliness. He was extremely patient
with me for being slow to do small jobs on his bikes, and most tolerant about
the sometimes imperfect results. He once sent me a beautiful Rollieflex camera
as a gift, because he knew that I liked them. We had a long-running e-mail
conversation often involving the grammar and semantics of English language.
Hans’ job was translating patents for Rolls-Royce.
Hans loved Britain and especially classic British engineering. He cared about
the Club and talked of travelling Europe and coming to live in England. It is a
shock that this dream did not sustain him through very difficult and tragic