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Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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646 of 680  Fri 13th Dec 2019 1:53pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3322

Talking of Coventry dignitaries. I was walking out with a Coventry girl of a well known Coventry family and she was ‘hot, hot, hot', as the saying went in those days. A few months later and we drifted apart. In those days the CET did a supplement weekly/monthly (can't remember) - I bought the paper and there on the front cover was a photo of this girl from waist upwards and close up, she was wearing a see through blouse that was as good as topless. I think the article was she wanted to be Lady Godiva in the carnival. Sometime around that time I’m at an Ascot race meeting - there is a large crowd, mostly photographers, and there is a blue-movie film star Linda Lovelace in the same type of blouse. About six months later and I walk into somewhere full of Coventry councillors, and this girl is there. As soon as she saw me, she clenched her teeth and slightly shook her head - she didn't want me around - so I walked out of the place. She had married the mayor’s son, he was about 5ft 6, skinny as a rake, and I thought he's not going to get through this winter. You just had to love old Cov!
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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647 of 680  Wed 18th Dec 2019 2:13pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3322

About thirty or forty of us standing on Port Said railway platform, an officer came along checking our names, an NCO ticked off our names on a clipboard. "Smith, Sir", "Jones, Sir", and so on. He came to the lad next to me. "Name?". "John Thomas, Sir". The officer wasn't a bit phased. "Well, John Thomas, aren't you an unlucky sod? You're going to the Promised Land and it's out of bounds to you". He completed his rounds, then said, "Right, John Thomas, you will be travelling in the mail van. The rest of you, get aboard the train". The mail van was enclosed, all but a small window and like an oven.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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648 of 680  Thu 26th Dec 2019 3:53pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3322

It was freezing cold in our room one winter’s night when my elder brother slid under the clothes and joined me and my younger brother facing the same way. Normally we slept two one way and one the opposite way, and it was like that until I was nearly seventeen when my elder brother joined the Fleet Air Arm. Then my second younger brother joined us and so kept the three in a bed alive. The sash windows rattled in the wind, icicles on the panes in the winter, warm bricks wrapped in old blankets for hot water bottles that soon got cold, goose grease rubbed on our chests at night to keep out the cold. A spoonful of Cod Liver Oil as well - how could we go wrong? We did have a grate in our room but too poor to buy fuel, unless one of us was ill. We didn't have pyjamas, we wore grandfather nightshirts, trimmed and sewn at the bottom, that came below the knees. Our bed was a giant-sized iron railing bed with big brassknobs on each corner, the board floor was covered with homemade rugs made up of little pieces of old coat strips sewn into an old hessian sack, that dad had made. The mattress was feather - you had to beat it to get it solid. We never had linen sheets, they were all flannelette, we had a large amount of eiderdowns and blankets. Within a few days of being born we were placed in a cot in our room, a few months on and we crawled into the big bed and joined our brothers. The window looked over the garden and across the meadows and trees. The ceiling was whitewashed in the summer with a ball of chalk stirred in a bucket of water. We also had a large set of drawers, the wood being about half-inch planking, stained and polished, about five-feet wide and high. We knew as kids it would never have gone up the narrow winding stairs or through the window, it was assembled in the room, it needed two people to open up the drawers they were so heavy.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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649 of 680  Fri 3rd Jan 2020 12:58pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3322

Harrier, thought you may be interested. In the 1980 jogging became the 'thing' and took off in a big way, so councils took an interest. I believe the 1983 Coventry Marathon was the first people’s jogging marathon in Coventry. The Brighton European Veterans Games was a great honour for the country. The 80 miles South Downs Way was a one-off race, they cannot get the drinks stations and ambulance cover since.
Our Kaga
Harrier
Coventry
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650 of 680  Fri 3rd Jan 2020 6:14pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:198

Thanks for that Kaga. As Peacehaven where you live is only about 5 miles from Lewes, you may be interested to know that some of the photos on these Historic Coventry pages were taken by a Lewes born and bred photographer!! For example:- Number 13 in the 'Coventry Mystery Photos'! His name was Charles Winterbourne. There are several references to him on the forum - however to add a little more… Born in 1873, he got a job as an assistant to a photographer in Brighton (I have dates and names somewhere if there is an interest). He also joined the local running club and became a good county class cross country runner, so much so that when he realised that he was not going to progress much in his trade in Brighton, he up sticks and moved to Birmingham in 1897 to become an assistant manager in a photographic shop. Despite his having to work many Saturdays, his athletic ability progressed, benefitting from his joining Birchfield Harriers, the premier club in the country. In 1899 he was 4th in the Midland Cross Country Championships. In the next few years he won a team National Championship Cross Country medals when he finished in the counting six runners for Birchfield Harriers. He moved to Leamington in the early years of the century. Pressure came from raising a family and opening his first shop in Coventry, and, although he joined Godiva Harriers, Saturday photographic assignments meant that his athletics had to take a back seat. When Godiva were financially bailed out by the Triumph founder, Siefreid Bettmann, in 1908, Winterbourne was hired for many years by the industrialist to photograph the winners of the perpetual solid silver trophy he donated to the club. Bettmann's generosity meant that the winner of the Annie Bettmann Trophy won a solid gold medal, a framed portrait of himself (measuring about 2ft by 1ft) and a dozen replicas in postcard format. The Godiva Harriers club was given a slightly larger version to hang in their current pub headquarters. 2nd and 3rd placers of the season long cross country competition were awarded solid silver medals - each of the winter series of cross country competitions took the format of handicap races whereby, the slowest runner started first, followed at intervals by faster runners, the fastest (the scratch man) setting off last giving as much as 10 minutes start to the first starter, depending on the distance to be run. I must have well over 50 of Winterbourne's photographs depicting runners either in races, posed in groups, or Bettmann award winners.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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651 of 680  Sat 4th Jan 2020 10:47am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3322

Harrier. Thanks for your reply. Interesting - I never really understood the difference in the cross-country runs and the old paper chases, but in either case there were no drinks or checking in stations to my knowledge? Long ago before all this computer era I checked some old races down here for a northern guy asking about his granddad running in Sussex it was really interesting, but the years have passed and the papers lost. In 1983 I believe was Coventry's first peoples marathon run, the badge was unusual, it was 'outward bound' what was that about? Regards, Kaga.
Our Kaga
Harrier
Coventry
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652 of 680  Sat 4th Jan 2020 3:49pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:198

I do like those circular badges, Kaga - would you mind if I copied them for my records please? The marathon race has a curious background in Coventry. I have written a few notes about it before, the marathons of the 60s around eastern Coventry. In 1979 as part of the Coventry Godiva Harriers Centenary Celebrations, the club organised the Amateur Athletic Associations national marathon championships in Coventry - it was the premier marathon race of the time. The route was four laps which started from the race headquarters at Woodlands School, up Broad Lane, then Back Lane, left on the Meriden road towards Berkswell, then Tanners Lane and up Banner Lane, finishing near the school. This was just before the jogging boom started. When the jogging boom unexpectedly burst onto the surprised athletics world, all kinds of organisations jumped on the marathon running bandwagon as a cheap, easy way to raise money for charity with very little effort. As a result, many races left a lot to be desired, many putting the health and safety of their entrants at risk, many organisers being gung-ho and didn't care too much, sad to say. They had no restrictions to comply with and few sought advice from experienced running clubs who themselves had a strict code of conduct to follow before they were allowed by their governing body to promote any type of road race. Back then, established running clubs faced all kinds of difficulties, mostly to do with the road traffic! Most had the advantage of financial clout and connections in the community which running clubs lacked. In Coventry, it was the Outward Bound who facilitated the joggers' urge to run 26 miles. The Outward Bound Trust is a not-for-profit trust, established to create better people, better communities and a better world. The course they chose for their race was unfortunate as it took in a very hilly route. The date was equally inappropriate as summer conditions of sweltering heat is not in the best interests of competitors, especially those not used to the rigours of a marathon. The race did not last more than a couple of years because of the trying conditions. I do not know who chose the course but it involved a regular training spin used by the Godiva lads. Now it is one thing for a group of highly trained world class athletes as was the case at Godiva, to run over such a difficult course on a weekly 22 mile Sunday morning run but quite another for an untrained jogger to spend four or five hours suffering on the hot tarmac, quiet country roads to the south of Coventry. What a missed opportunity! Coventry could have had the chance to have had an iconic marathon race on a par with the London Marathon or the Great North Run if only the clubs like Coventry Godiva Harriers and Massey Ferguson Runners had been consulted and involved in this promotion. It is hardly surprising that the Coventry Marathon failed, not only because of the heat and the route, but also because of other events being promoted at that time - who would shell out a wad of cash to suffer the lonely countryside lanes getting a sun burn when the alternative was to run around the historic roads of London supported by huge crowds of enthusiastic supporters?? As to your first sentence Kaga - cross country is the generic term used to cover that type of activity. Originally the 19th century newspapers headlined the reports on the sport with 'Across Country' which is precisely what the competitors did, they ran across the countryside, climbing fences, leaping streams and ditches, struggling through hedges, all being par for the course. Specific types of runs could be classified, often each type merging in with another. 1. A ‘Paper Chase’ saw a couple of runners set off a good time before the other runners, carrying bags of shredded paper waste, laying a trail for the persuing group to pick out and follow. As the tickertape was white and more than one club was using the same area of countryside, trails could cross and confusion caused, often leading to abandonment of proceedings! A strong wind was another hazard, the tape being scattered before the chasing pack arrived! 2a. A ‘Hare and Hounds’ was almost the same but the idea was for the hounds (the following group) to catch the hares (the paper trail layers) if possible. The hares were not given much start and it was up to them to use all kinds of tricks to avoid being caught. A 'Fox and Beagles' was a lower middle class name variant!! The 'Tally Ho' was a middle class term. In Scotland it could be 'Stag and Hounds'! 2b. Similar to above but the hounds were split into two or three packs depending on athletic ability. The 'slows' were first to set off after the hares, say 5 minutes, the 'fast' pack after ten. The 'through' pack (mostly a Yorkshire term) set off at 15 minutes and were the elite runners. ...... and of course, it all ended up at the pub headquarters for a Saturday night booze up. The church and non conformist clubs, often had a café to attend for the evening concert. All were a working class imitation of the upper class Fox Hunt, even to the extent of using a hunting horn, a whipper in and hunting cap for the equivalent of the Head Huntsman. This paraphernalia was soon abandoned although local historians writing on the subject like to cling onto the Victorian image! As kids we had a similar game with a stick of chalk used by 'two rats' to mark with an arrow on the pavement the direction they took from each street corner. They were allowed to use multiple arrows on an occasional corner (number agreed before the start of the game). The rats decided where the chase ended with a symbol chalked on the pavement; the actual symbol used I cannot for the life of me recall, meaning the rats were hidden close by. The cats set off later and attempted to find the rats. In fact we could not afford chalk and used plaster board instead!!! Was there a similar game in Coventry used by the kids? I am talking 70 years ago in the slums of industrialised Yorkshire. Apologies, Kaga - I get carried away sometimes…. THE IMPORTANT BIT FOR YOU July 24th saw the usual start of frenetic activity with the period of the Bank Holiday, and the plethora of flower shows coming on stream, all vying for the maximum number of paying spectators. Foleshill Flower Show kicked off proceedings - having an interesting finale. Mile.- 1. A.H. Maning (120) (Brinklow), 2. A. Simpson (165) (Hawkesbury), 3. H. Jones (163) (Walsgrave). (11 starters). ‘In this event, the first home was a competitor whose name in the programme was given as ‘T.J. Ward’ of Glascote. He was disqualified however, the allegation of the officers being that he ran in a fictitious name. The incident gave rise to a ‘scene’, a crowd gathering around the officials and at one period, there was a promise of a disturbance. Eventually the decision of the officials was accepted without resort to disorder.’ Strong reporting! Presumably the reason for the crowd unrest was a result of bets placed and payouts not being in accord with expectations... speculation of course, but a member who was with Coventry Birchfield before they folded in the late 30s, recalls a similar incident in which he was involved as the guilty party while on holiday away from the city and confirms it was the bookies who were the instigators of the unhappiness, fearing that they would be hit hard in the pocket. The athlete lived for years in fear of being exposed in Coventry for his ‘crime’ and only felt a little relief when he became a Godiva member, feeling the severance with Birchfield somehow expunged his misdeeds! Edited by member, 4th Jan 2020 4:05 pm
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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653 of 680  Sun 5th Jan 2020 2:29pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3322

Harrier. Brilliant! That had to be my dad - thank you. Please use whatever suits you. So do I, get carried away, so much so I would like to tell you of that 80 mile race on the hottest day of the 20th century, with the mods’ permission. SOUTH DOWNS WAY. Petersfield to Eastbourne The wild and natural beauty of the range of hills betwixt sea and Weald is as ancient as can be recorded, the green of the turf, the miniature flowers, the yellow/gold of the gorse, the blue of the scabious and rampion, the scent of wild thyme. The course was as beautiful as any in the world. We would race through farmsteads, hamlets, across four tidal smugglers’ rivers, through cemeteries, churchyards, scores of bridal gates, deer parks, across centuries old bridges, tumuli, Saxon burial grounds, past dew ponds, the oldest barns, plantations, up hill and down dale, windmills of unknown date, across a few roads. We assembled on a field near Petersfield at 9am, the sun already up and in the high 70's. The first 12 miles, a lot of woodland, emerging through the trees the spire of Chichester Cathedral and beyond the harbour were clearly visible. Crossing the 15th century bridge over the Arun we arrived at Amberley railway station and our second drinks and checking in point. Here, our first ambulance casualty, many exhausted and blisters. We had covered well over twenty miles, the temp way up in the 80s now. Up Rackham Hill (634ft), along the top, through farms to Chanctonbury Ring - people now dropping out. The sun relentless, passing the wooded slopes of Wiston deer park, and so the panorama of the Adur valley and Tinpots Cottage, dropped down to the River Adur and a road across a rickety bridge, another field gate and up Beeding Hill and Truleigh Hostel. Here there were meals and drinks provided. It was now in the evening and only approx halfway. I ate beans and sausage, rice pudding and a number of cups of tea, but the worst was over for me - the sun was going down. Exhausted, loss of weight and over a score of people around me dropping out, I needed all my willpower to get going again, the food and the 15 mins rest I needed to complete this. Past Devils Dyke and onward, the power of the sun now dropping, I felt more energy flowing, this was now my practise ground and I knew every inch of the way. At the side of Newmarket pub the drinks/check in station on the Lewes Road, my family had left me my track suit and torch. Up another monster hill and on to the old ancient Jugs road from the bronze age, it was now dark and a number had lost the way. I called to them as we passed a dew pond and windmills to Ditchling Beacon. On through a cemetery where owls hooted and by a Norman church across the River Ouse to Blackcap, both in front and behind at long distance were the bobbing torches of competitors. We stumbled through cattle, sheep and wildlife, up and over Windover Hill and the Long Man, all the time the sea breezes swept over the Downs. Down into Jevington, a quaint village of considerable age, up and over the golf course and Eastbourne lay in the valley and I collapsed in a schoolroom chair at the finish. I had lost about 14lbs in weight.
Our Kaga
Harrier
Coventry
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654 of 680  Sun 5th Jan 2020 5:18pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:198

Sorry Kaga, I never mentioned the year.... 1920. The handicap start of 165 yards for the mile indicates that your dad was not a bad runner. He would have held his own in a club situation. More later.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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655 of 680  Tue 7th Jan 2020 2:52pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3322

Harrier. Wow! My dad was in a 'fixed' race, stewards were right to throw the winner out. Wonder if he got paid before the race?
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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656 of 680  Tue 7th Jan 2020 3:45pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3322

I went to 'Brum' races one day. When we got there the runners were down to two horses. I'd backed the 2nd fav (forget the name) but declared non-runner. It was a flag start in those days, over one mile five furlongs. The starter dropped the flag but they did not move, it was clear they both had instructions not to lead. The starter shouted at the two runners to move - they walked, the jockeys worked hard to restrain them. He sent his assistants to crack the whip behind them. They broke into a trot, later into a canter. Richards sitting upright to restrain his horse, the crowd began to jeer - three or four furlongs from home they raced, but with a furlong to go Richards came to the front and won by three lengths. The crowd booed. It was clear Richards rode to the letter and came from behind. Later I backed the horse to win the big race - this was a trial for it. The time was over five minutes, twice the time for the race. The stewards spoke to both jockeys but they had both ridden to instructions.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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657 of 680  Wed 8th Jan 2020 11:19am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3322

It was a lovely July morning as the coach rolled towards Ascot. This was England at its best, the ladies in short-sleeved summer frocks, the gents in top hat and tails, the colourful silks of the jockeys. By mid-afternoon the weather changed sharply, and by about 4pm it started to rain. Crowds rushed to the covered area - suddenly there was a deluge, people soaked to the skin, gone was the mascara, the beautiful dresses, despite the heat. Next it thundered quite loud, the lighting struck, two/three flashes together - it struck a fence where people were crowded. People fell to the ground like a pack of cards, suffered a moment’s blackout, people were screaming and panic set in. There were more flashes, two people died, and many more kept in hospital. The races went on, the 4.20 delayed till five o'clock, but the last two races were postponed.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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658 of 680  Mon 3rd Feb 2020 10:28am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3322

Pixrobin, You must know that aerial photos were first by Zeppelin then the Air Corps of WWI. But there were observation balloons, but they weren't very good or clear, so a number of high ranking officers preferred sketch artists - a detailed panoramic sketch of the enemy trenches, this took four days, hiding in shell holes near the enemy. One special spot for observation and listening was the stump of a tree, they made a very detailed sketch, sent it back to workshops, made an iron steel tree with a ladder running up centre, painted in natural colours. In the darkness of one night, removed tree stump, planted new steel tree, ran a tunnel to it, and bingo they had a close hearing and observation post. The Great British Tommy.
Our Kaga
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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659 of 680  Mon 3rd Feb 2020 4:46pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3413

Kaga, Is there anything you can tell us about the fake cut out tanks that were placed in various locations to fox the enemy, or have I been watching too many movies.
Our Kaga
Helen F
Warrington
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660 of 680  Mon 3rd Feb 2020 4:50pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:1830

Two of the films about the bombing of Coventry talk about how much aerial photographic recon the Germans did both during and before the war. At first it was done by the pilot/co pilot leaning out of the plane with a hand held camera but later it was done with fixed cameras underneath. They processed the film in production like efficiency.
Our Kaga

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