More motorcycle memories

SPEED king Monty Lockwood was featured in Kindred Spirits recently. Monty a member of the Triangle (Ipswich) Motor Cycle Club raced in the Isle of Man TT in the 1950s and won the Junior Clubman's event in 1948.

SPEED king Monty Lockwood was featured in Kindred Spirits recently.

Monty a member of the Triangle (Ipswich) Motor Cycle Club raced in the Isle of Man TT in the 1950s and won the Junior Clubman's event in 1948. Monty, who is now ninety-one and lives near the Norwich Road, Ipswich, also recalled his days in the RAF and with the Indian Air Force when he flew a Hurricane.

Jack Jay of Arundel Way, Ipswich, has memories of motor-cycling in the past and of meeting Monty in the RAF.

Jack said: “I first met Monty somewhere around 1936, when several members of the Triangle Motorcycle Club visited my parents' home in Dover Road for social evenings. The club secretary at that time was Eric Sparrow. With Monty in the grass track racing photograph you featured is Len Corder. Len worked with his father in a garage business in Schreiber Road.

“Another friend Arthur Mothersole, lived in “digs” in Ipswich, and my parents gave him permission to strip and thoroughly clean his 500cc Sunbeam in the large shed in the back of our house. At around 15 years old I was a willing helper and my reward came when Arthur taught me to ride his motorcycle along Foxhall Road, from where the speedway now stands, to Dobbs Lane and back. Though of course I had no licence!

“In September 1939 I volunteered to serve in the RAF, and in December of that year I was “called up” and went to RAF Uxbridge. To a young 18-year-old, on his first time trip from home, this introduction to an unknown world was made considerably easier when the first man I saw in the NAFFI was Monty! Sadly that was the last time we met.

Most Read

“Arthur Mothersole took me a few times on Saturday evenings to the Speedway Stadium, just outside Norwich, and one such evening we were bowling along on our way home at 50mph or so, when the headlight suddenly went out! We finished in the hedge, luckily without damage, and continued a sedate journey home using just the pilot light, but there was little or no traffic in those days at such a late hour.

“I agree with Monty about the difference that modern tyres have made to the speeds of present day motorcycle racing, as the riders of his era could never have heeled their machines over to the almost suicidal angles that we can now watch with great interest on our television screens, which I confess to finding more interesting than Formula One racing.”

AJS: Four of the five Stevens brothers who were sons of a blacksmith produced their first motorcycle in 1897 using a proprietary engine. In 1910 they decided to introduce a new name for their motorcycles. They chose to use initials only, and as only one brother, Jack, had two Christian names (Albert John), the new name became A.J.S. Up until the take-over by Colliers in 1931 they produced a wide range of machines, some of which gained distinction in the Isle of Man TT races. By 1930 the company held 117 world records. .

BSA: The Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) was founded in 1861 by fourteen gunsmiths in Birmingham, England, to supply arms to the British government during the Crimean War. The company continued after the conflict but branched out into other fields; in the 1880s the company began to manufacture bicycles and in 1903 the company's first experimental motorcycle was constructed.

ARIEL: The company dates back to 1847 when Ariel made an early pneumatic-tyred wheel for horse drawn carriages. The name was revived by James Starley and William Hillman in 1870 when they invented the wire-spoke wheel which allowed them to build a lighter weight bicycle naming it Ariel. The first Ariel vehicle was a Tricycle In 1901 as Ariel moved into car production. In 1902 Components Ltd., owned by Charles Sangster bought the company and began producing motorcycles.

NORTON: The original company was formed by James Norton in Birmingham in 1898. In 1902 Norton began building motorcycles with French and Swiss engines. In 1907 Norton won the twin-cylinder class in the first Isle of Man TT race beginning a sporting tradition that went on until the 1960s. The Senior TT, the most prestigious of events, was won by Nortons ten times between the world wars and then every year from 1947 to 1954.

I recalled the days of marching men, horse drawn gun carriages and military parades in Kindred Spirits recently when I featured photographs of the Ipswich Barracks.

There are still local family connections to the barracks, which stood where Geneva and Cecil Roads are today until the end of the 1920s.

Paul Scully of Henslow Road, Ipswich, said: “I read your feature about the barracks with mixed feelings, both with great interest and regrettably, much dismay.

“My great grandfather, Charles Plumb, was posted there. He was born in Brackley, Northamptonshire in 1867. He joined the army and at some time was posted to Ipswich where he met a young lady, Jessie Webber. Charles married Jessie a stay hand of Dove Lane, Ipswich at the Register Office on May 22, 1888. By coincidence 110 years to the day before the feature was in 'Kindred Spirits'.

“At the time of the 1891 census, Charles and Jessie lived in Woolwich. After moving with the Royal Artillery, Charles and Jessie returned to settle in Ipswich, if settle is the right word after having ten surviving children! There were many descendant Plumbs in Ipswich with at least five of the seven sons remaining there, my grandfather, also Charles Plumb, my mother was his daughter, Iris Plumb.

“Subsequent generations with the Plumb family name have become somewhat diluted in Ipswich because of the lack of males and also because of movements out of the town. However, those that are here can thank a young soldier from Brackley.

“My dismay on reading your feature? It was the thought of what might have been; your poignant reminder of the great loss of so many grand and wonderful buildings to Ipswich. The demise of this richness of character to the Town's heritage is irreplaceable.”

A Wallis of Heathercroft Road, Ipswich said: “I was very interested in your story about the Royal Horse Artillery at the barracks. My late father was stationed there before the First World War. He was born at Greenwich and was enlisted in the army by my late grandfather at 15 at Woolwich Barracks on September 1 1905. He was in the Royal Garrison Artillery for 12 years.

“I don't know when or how long he was at the Ipswich barracks, but he met my mother there. They married October 1918 in London, after he served in France during World War One.

“My father helped to keep the guns in working order, his rank when he left the Royal Horse Artillery was Fitter Staff Sergeant. I seem to remember horses were tethered along the walls of the barracks, where they were groomed.”

R Wheeler of Sandringham Close, Ipswich, is another reader who has family connections with the Ipswich Barracks. They said: “My great, great grandfather was based at Ipswich Barracks and appears on the 1851 census at the barracks. He was a private in the 11th Hussars. He was Henry Edell born in 1830 in Windsor, Berkshire. He enlisted in 1849. He was posted to the Crimea in May 1854 and on October 25 1854 fought in the Charge of the Light Brigade. He served at the Barrack Hospital at Scutari, Florence Nightingale's base during the Crimean War until he was invalided to England on June 6, 1855.

Pat Elis (nee Garrod) of St Augustine's Gardens, Ipswich, added “My grandfather, Peter Augustus Francis Vasselin, of French origin, but born in Jersey, Channel Islands, was a Bombardier in the 73rd Battalion Royal Artillery in the early 1890s. The Battalion used to parade at Tower Ramparts regularly on weekdays.

“Annie Grainger, who lived in Kemball Street, was employed nearby at Phillips and Piper as a corset-maker and often went to watch the drill during her dinner hour. One day she caught Peter's eye and they met and started courting.

“She did not have an engagement ring. Peter wore earrings and she made a hole through her ear with a hatpin and put one of his earrings into her ear. It remained there until she died.

“Peter and Annie Kate married at St John's Church in Cauldwell Hall Road on January 9, 1893 and had a daughter Florence May, my mother in 1910.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter