Some say there’s no such thing as coincidence, and, really, I suppose there isn’t, but just sometimes you think, ‘Wow, really, that’s a bit too much.’ I’ve had two such instances this month, one of which was particularly close to home.
First was the case of the Lamacraft Mk.VIII KTT, the motorcycle sold by Bonhams at the recent Ally Pally show, and featured overleaf. First of all, the Lamacraft machine is one engine number away from that of another 1939 Mk.VIII belonging to a friend of mine, but that’s not so unusual – the batch of KTTs delivered for the 1939 races are all close together numerically.
Even odder was when I looked through and researched Harry Lamacraft, specifically as I found out the air base he flew from on his fateful 1943 mission – Methwold in Norfolk. I went to school in Methwold; it’s a village that happens to host a high school serving many of the supporting villages, of varying sizes. The truth is, I didn’t even know there had been an air base there, though it all makes sense now; the vegetable packing place that employed many of my friends over the years is on the site. What also now makes sense is that there’s one of the RAF ‘markers’ fixed there too – it looks like a model aeroplane stuck to the nearest telegraph pole. This, I’ve learned, signifies the site of an old airbase and is a Norfolk initiative to mark the previous bases.
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The second was in some ways stranger, and came as I researched ‘Oily’ Karslake, for the ‘Men who mattered’ feature, on page 74. I trail through old magazines to find obituaries, notices, anything really, that can add more to ‘flesh out’ the character of the long departed. Oily’s obituary was in the October 19, 1961 issue of Motor Cycling – and on the facing page was the death notice for C F Edwards, the one and same Cyril Edwards whose Brough Superior sold at Stafford; indeed, that’s how I know Mr Edwards’ first name. It’s funny how things work out.
Also this month we managed a couple of late summer/autumn rides, me putting 100-odd miles on my cousin’s ohc K10 AJS, the freshly restored beauty that has done service at the shows, but will now be ridden. It seems cousin Peter will leave it with me for next year, so I’m making a list of events to try and take part in for 2019, which should be good fun. First thing to do is either strengthen my hand (not likely) or make the clutch lighter – I was in agony!