The Ton-up Kid, R.I.P. - Ships Nostalgia
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The Ton-up Kid, R.I.P.

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  #1  
Old 20th April 2015, 12:20
Cpt Dick Brooks Cpt Dick Brooks is offline  
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The Ton-up Kid, R.I.P.

It was mid-morning, and the young lad had borrowed his older brother's 650cc Triumph motor cycle. His brother was sleeping it off, after a night out with his mates, so the lad thought he'd go for a run around the town. He drove through Ipswich town centre, keeping a look-out for anyone he knew, especially any young girls. He would take them for a spin, so they could check out his moves.
He'd gunned the powerful motorcycle at each set of traffic lights, causing the exhaust to roar. Although the silencer wasn't straight through, his brother had messed around with it, giving it a growl. As he came down Lloyds Avenue for the second time, he laid on the power to draw attention from the Police Station under the Town Hall. Being chased by a police car was as good as a wet dream, and they had no chance of catching him in the crowded town centre.
The young lad turned right into Westgate Street, to dog the young girls walking about in the shopping centre. He gunned the engine to impress anyone who looked at him. It was in the early spring of 1966, and was a pleasant warm day. He only wore a long-sleeve shirt and jeans. Back in the day, only sissies wore a crash-helmet, and he wanted all the young girls to see his face. The wind was blowing through his long, slicked-back hair. After riding through the new shopping centre at St. Matthews, he forked right into Norwich Road to have a burn-up to the edge of the town.
The lights turned red at Valley Road, but he didn't mind. It would give him a chance to dog any young girls about, and even offer them a lift. He gave a couple of them his cheesiest grin, but they just looked the other way, putting up their noses. Cows! he thought, and gave a back-tyre spin as he pulled away with the green light. He lay flat on the petrol-tank, fully reaching down for the fashionable clip-on handlebars fastened to the forks. He felt just great, like a rider at an Isle-of-Man TT race.
Ahead of him, a bus was pulling into the bus stop by the shopping parade, opposite Sherington Road. He pulled out to pass it, lying flat on the tank, and gave the engine full power to cause it to roar. He was trying to catch sight of any girls on the bus, who might be looking at him doing almost a ton. He couldn't see the speedometer, but reckoned it was right to the end of the gauge. Nor did he see the fully loaded articulated lorry coming towards him in the other direction. He just caught a split second of the large radiator grill, before his face smashed into it at a closing speed of over 130 miles an hour. And then there was nothing.
I'd just finished my breakfast in the canteen at the Police Station, under the Town Hall, and was cycling out to my beat on my trusty double-crossbar Raleigh peddle cycle. Some yob on a motorcycle had gunned it past me, but I couldn't read the index number because it was slicked with mud. Never mind, I thought, it was a wonderful day, and I was thinking about what I'd be doing when I went off-duty in the afternoon on my boat, Blue Bell.
As I rode along the last piece of St. Matthews Street after passing the roundabout, I saw the blue light flashing on the police phone box at Barrack Corner. Back in 1966, we didn't have personal radios, but relied on the old blue light pedestal phones. What now, I mused? I'd only just left the Police Station... why are they flashing me now? I leant my bike against it and unlocked the door. Lifting the receiver, I gave the switchboard my name and number. The desk sergeant came on the line and told me about the road traffic accident in Norwich Road. He said that I'd have to deal with it, as the West Area Car was out on a job, delivering an agony message on the Chantry Housing Estate.
The traffic was backed up down Norwich Road almost to Barrack Corner, so I pulled out into the empty on-coming lane and peddled for all I was worth. Four hundred yards past the Valley Road traffic lights I could see that the road was blocked by a double-decker bus on the nearside lane, and an artic-unit on the outside lane. There was a large crowd of pedestrians gathered around in the street.
After being given a garbled message by the bus driver and the lorry driver, I ran to the nearest public phone-box by the parade of shops, and passed on the situation to the Desk Sergeant. I requested an ambulance for the body, and the Bedford van with a trailer to collect the remains of the motorcycle. After returning to the scene, I began collecting the names and addresses of any witnesses. There was nothing I could do for the motorcyclist, as he was a shapeless mangled mess embedded in the radiator grill of the artic-unit.
Once the remains of the motorcycle rider were taken away in the ambulance, and the mangled remains of the motorcycle were loaded into the trailer, I cycled out to the Rushmere Council Estate to notify the parents of the young lad. In those days, when you were the first person at an incident, you had to deal with it from start to finish. After knocking on the neighbour's, requesting that they give me five minutes to relate my sad news, I asked them come in to offer them support. I pointed out that I couldn't remain myself, as I still had other commitments to do on my beat.
For all the abuse I received from the boy's mother, I might as well have posted a note through the door. She was a single parent of a large family of teenaged boys, who were always in trouble with the police. She called me a liar, and told me to go forth and multiply. She hardly looked at me in the Coroner's Court, a month later when I gave my evidence of the incident, then called me all-sorts when I returned the remains of the motorcycle to her in the Bedford van. I pointed out to her that it was their property, and was up to her what they did with it.
It's a good job that those days of the ton-up boys are now over, and at least leathers and helmets are worn to give some protection... not that they would have given this young lad much protection in a head-on crash at high speed. Let's hope that the current young biker-boys don't rate their ability in how many times they go over a ton. May you rest in peace, Cpt Dick Brooks.
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  #2  
Old 20th April 2015, 13:55
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Basil Basil is online now  
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Not sure if I should thank you for reminding me of how I almost departed over 55 years ago.
"No, Mum, bikes aren't dangerous!" One of the teenage boys' great lies.
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  #3  
Old 20th April 2015, 16:27
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I had to deliver such a message a couple of times on the demise of a seafarer....one was calm, the other blamed me and my companion for the death even though it was 3000 miles away...

geoff
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  #4  
Old 20th April 2015, 17:46
Cpt Dick Brooks Cpt Dick Brooks is offline  
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For Basil and Erimus.

Thanks for your threads, lads, I can still remember every agony message I had to deliver as a police officer going back fifty years ago. When I had to deliver my first one as a young probationary constable, the older guy who was showing me the ropes told me that I would never forget everyone... and he was right. All the best, Cpt Dick Brooks.
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  #5  
Old 21st April 2015, 00:46
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good day cpt dick brooks.a sad tale.the ton-up kid.may he rest in peace,regards ben27
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  #6  
Old 21st April 2015, 06:37
Dartskipper Dartskipper is offline  
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A sad tale, but not uncommon unfortunately. The impetuosity of youthful inexperience often has tragic consequences, even today. It used to be powerful motorbikes, now it is mostly powerful small cars. May the young tearaway RIP.

Roy.
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  #7  
Old 21st April 2015, 08:54
E.Martin E.Martin is offline  
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The Terror of Highway 101

He took off like a devil there was fire in his eyes
He said I'll go a thousand miles before the sun could rise
But he hit a screaming Diesel that was California bound
When they cleared the wreckage all they found

Was his black denim trousers and motor cycle boots
Black leather jacket with a Eagle on the back
But they never found the Sickle that took off like a gun
And they never found the Terror of Highway 101.
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  #8  
Old 21st April 2015, 10:22
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An airline pilot friend, well old enough to know better, went to India and bought a Royal Enfield with the intention of riding it back to the UK.
He did pretty well, making it as far as Italy before being plastered across the front of a truck.
His story had a happier ending; a weak moan from the mangled heap allerted onlookers to the fact that he was still alive and he eventually recovered.
He couldn't bear to scrap the bike on which he'd almost died and had it rebuilt in the UK, at considerably greater expense than when first purchased.

Some years later, the same gentleman had both knees replaced and, a couple of weeks later, I was surprised to pass him on the M25 driving his XK 120, probably not the best choice with dodgy knees. No surprise that he had a very famous motor rallying mum
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  #9  
Old 21st April 2015, 13:47
Cpt Dick Brooks Cpt Dick Brooks is offline  
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For Basil, ben27, Dartskipper and E. Martin.

Great threads, lads. I only spent six years as a police officer, stationed at Ipswich, in Suffolk. In 1971, I left to start my tall-ship charter business on my second ship, Biche, but those six years meant a great deal to me. I was the first person to run a tall-ship charter business out of Ipswich, and the lock-gate employees put the present day harbour chocker with yachts down to me. Guilty, as charged. All the best, Cpt Dick Brooks.
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  #10  
Old 23rd April 2015, 11:37
Leratty Leratty is offline  
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Dick that is one horrific story. We were in no uncertain manner told never ever to get on or ride a bike. Teckon that is for sure why I'm almost three score + 7
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  #11  
Old 23rd April 2015, 12:04
Bill.B Bill.B is offline  
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Very vivid story Dick and having lived in Ashcroft road from 1962 to 1980 know the Norwich road of that era well. Lots of heavy traffic and loads of bikes, mopeds and motor bikes. There was a lot of motorcycle speeding in those days and a lot of accidents as had to go up to Revetts area from Ashcroft to get my papers from Mays newsagents and back to do the Norwich Road Crofts round every day. Remember the police phone box at the Bridge. My grandfather was a "special" though mainly to get in to see the town play for nothing. Valley road was another good race route.
Cheers
Bill B
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  #12  
Old 23rd April 2015, 17:55
Cpt Dick Brooks Cpt Dick Brooks is offline  
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For Leratty and Bill B.

Good to hear from you, Leratty and Bill B. Its good to hear from someone in Oz, Leratty, especially as my ship, Debut, rests in peace on Emily Reef, 25 miles south-east of Cooktown, in FNQ, with only the hundreds of terns and boobies for company. I'll make a visit one day. As you're only a couple of years younger than me, Bill B, our paths may have crossed, although I spent fifteen years deep-sea, all over the world on my ships. I worked home-trade out of Ipswich on my two earlier ships, mainly with Biche. I was the first person chartering a tall-ship out of Ipswich dock, back in the early seventies, apart from working as a police officer in the late sixties. All the best to you both, Cpt Dick Brooks.
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  #13  
Old 24th April 2015, 17:34
Leratty Leratty is offline  
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Capt. Dick, I sent you a PM oh maybe June last year asked a couple of questions re Cook Town your vessel etc to no response?

We have sailed all up that area in a couple of largish yachts so no it well. Also Melanesia, PNG, Micronesia + Pacific Islands.

We live in Paris now after a No of years in Hong Kong & Shanghai.
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  #14  
Old 24th April 2015, 17:56
Cpt Dick Brooks Cpt Dick Brooks is offline  
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For Leretty.

Hi, Leratty, most apologies if I missed your earlier threads, but they don't always flash up if there are more than one. I only noticed this one, as I checked the number of hits on the thread, as your thread didn't flash up. My e-mail doesn't flash up immediately, so I check on my threads on Shipsnostalgia first. Good to hear from you, and please ask anything you want. I'm still getting used to all this electricary! It sounds as if you've had a run around the South Seas yourself. Good on you, mate. What a wonderful place on this earth. My first little ship, Blue Bell, went to the Maritime Museum in Paris, so you might want to look her up. She's a 42 foot Whitstable ouster smack, and disappeared on a low-loader just as I arrived back in the in 1990. All the best, Cpt Dick Brooks. Ps. You can contact me direct on 01473-421742 or e-mail [email protected]

Last edited by Cpt Dick Brooks; 24th April 2015 at 19:53.. Reason: adition
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  #15  
Old 4th May 2015, 11:46
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kevjacko kevjacko is offline  
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It's a good thread this. I lost a good friend in a bike accident in 1985 the events of which were pretty tragic. I gave up motorbikes in the mid 90's but still retain an interest. I'm going to get my lad to read this who is at the tender age of 16 hankering after his first bike. Mrs Kevjacko is beside herself with worry. The message we give him is 'bikes are dangerous, and cars are dangerous, always remember you are tasked with controlling a machine that can kill, not just you but other people'. They are only as safe as the driver or rider.
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