Sid and his stunts
AFTER reading my very first Best of British magazine – the March issue – I found it packed with my kind of nostalgia and I really enjoyed it, especially Mike Hodge’s motorcycle photographs (Postbag) and his memories of when he came out of the army in 1958.
Happy memories flooded through my mind to the early 1950s when my oldest brother, Sid’s, passion for motorbikes began; sadly he died suddenly of a heart attack in 1971 at the age of 36.
I don’t know how my mum put up with Sid dismantling motor bike engines night after night on our kitchen floor with the help of his mates, then putting them back together again. I used to watch her tiptoe around the oily rags and piston rings on the floor to put the kettle on to make herself a cup of tea. She must have been delighted when he joined the forces for three years in 1954, aged 19, serving an additional 18 months due to the Suez crisis.
Sid’s love of motorbikes continued in the forces as he became a despatch rider in the Royal signals, riding a Douglas 350cc motorbike, stationed at Hanover in Germany where he liked to perform stunts to entertain his comrades at the barracks.
Perhaps Mike Hodge or some other readers may remember Sid if they were in the forces around that time. I recollect that one of his best friends in the army was called Joe Jones from Southport.
Sid was nearly 25 when he came out of the forces and was still a motorbike fanatic. I captured him kick-starting his Vincent 500cc Comet ready to set off from home to meet his motorbike friends at one of the coffee bars. The next motorbike he bought was a Norton so he handed the Vincent down to my other brother Gordon who was over the moon with it and when his son was born he named him Vincent.
I only ever rode pillion once at the back of Sid because he frightened me to death the way he leaned over riding round the bends. I felt like my head was touching the road and when we arrived home he told me I was no good as a pillion rider because I didn’t lean over enough.
Eventually he renovated a Triumph Tiger Cub for me when I turned 18 (Sid was seven years older than me) at the motorcycle shop in Leyland where he worked. It wasn’t long, though, before I part-exchanged it for a new scooter.
Edna Lydiate, Leyland, Lancashire.