"Sixty Years On" - 1939

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A Mr. Stewart of Horsell put a large room in his house at Woking Section's disposal for club nights and this became well established and attended for the rest of the year.

The D.A.s 11th A.G.M. was held at The Crown & Anchor, Old Woking with 42 present and Bernard Reeves burst into flames when he put a still-hot pipe in his pocket!  Tom Paveley came on to the committee of Woking Section and Miss Siggins of Kingston was appointed Map-Revision Officer for Surrey by map makers Bartholomews.  Don Field was outstanding in a rough-stuff event while the "100", staged in May, had 28 starters, Woking girls Winnie Cable and May Garrett being granted Hardriders Badges in spite of being half an hour outside the 8 hour limit.

The usual round of activities - Y.H.A. week-ends, boating and night rides plus a train-assisted tour in the Winchester area filled the programme until, on 3 September, war was declared on Germany and a planned Invitation Run to Frensham Ponds was abandoned though why is not now clear unless it was the fear of destructive air raids.  Numerous members were called up, among them, Reg Best who resigned from Woking Section committee and giving up the Secretaryship and Chairmanship.  Dennis Gray was elected Chairman of the D.A. committee and Bernard Reeves became Hon. Secretary of the Woking Section.  Kingston reported that Y.H.A. week-ends were carried out every week from mid-August to the end of October.  Some events were cancelled but club nights continued to be well supported.

Woking reported that, in spite of "black-out" regulations, there was an all-night ride on 30 September;  there was also a map-reading contest at the end of October though a picnic supper had to be cancelled because of the "black-out".  Soon, over 12% of regular riders were on National Service and the importance of keeping sections alive in spite of restrictions and loss of members was stressed as was the desirability of keeping in touch with members in the Forces.  Mr. Benstead gave less time to the D.A. having been appointed A.R.P. Transport Officer, Don Field took over as Hon. Secretary and Treasurer of Woking Section and the services of Les Gray as Auditor, as photograph competition judge, time-keeper and organiser of Benstead Cup events were invaluable.  The Christmas morning run to Godalming that year included Terry Collins, Jack Taylor and George Alesbury in Navy, Army and Airforce uniforms respectively.

Outside Mr. Messenger's shop, Godalming, Christmas morning 1939.  (Although most cycling gear was then available, there were no specially designed jackets.  Most riders wore ordinary lounge suit or sports jackets.  Hence, in cold weather, scarves, mufflers and high-necked sweaters were a "must" to protect the open fronts.)

In 2004 George Alesbury identified many of the people in the above photograph as follows:  from left to right, in the shop doorway is the shop proprietor (probably), next two unidentified, Norman Pearce in front of the conspicuous white mudguard, Cyril Corps, Bernard Reeves(?), Terry Collins (Runs Secretary?) (in naval uniform), "Creamy" Hammond, George Alesbury (in RAF uniform), unidentified, Jack Taylor (in army uniform), Jack Thompson, Ken Gale, Reg Best, unidentified, "Barmy" Pearce (Norman's brother), Ron ?, and Cab Stanley.

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Web page by Chris Jeggo.  Last revised:  12 February 2011.