Remembrance Ride 2016

Sunday 13th November

Remembrance Ride 2016

It’s a mantra that they are ‘not forgotten’. The reality is that a lot of the casualties from the 20th Century conflicts are tucked away in odd corners of country churchyards where they become more invisible as the years go by. One such is an 18-year-old buried at St Mary and St Nicholas in Leatherhead.

On 1st June 1941, Lance Corporal Thomas Piper was shot dead in barracks in Dover as the result of an accident with a loaded rifle. He had joined the army as a boy soldier the previous year, but because he was under age for active service he was posted to a boy’s battalion which was guarding the port of Dover during the invasion scare. Following his untimely death, he was buried at his local parish church, his parents having moved to Leatherhead from Bexley to escape the blitz. I came across this grave by chance and a little bit of research uncovered a sad story not involving heroism in the face of the foe but a stupid piece of misadventure.

Remembrance Ride 2016

Two years ago we were in Ypres in Belgium, visiting Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in the world. Last year we went to Brookwood in Surrey, the largest such cemetery in the United Kingdom. This year it was a sole grave in a corner of an English churchyard. On arrival we were met by Ian Stonehouse, the assistant curate, who kindly accompanied us to the grave and expressed himself well satisfied with the decorum of our ceremony. I shall be submitting a short report to the Parish magazine in due course.

One of the forgotten was this year remembered. Interestingly, I discovered that the vicar of the parish was paid 5 shillings a year to perform the upkeep of the grave. It was certainly nicely kept.

Next year will require some careful thought as to what to do.

As ever it was a pleasure to lead the Chapter out into the Autumn sunshine. I was ably supported by DOF as last man, Les, Jonathan, Steve, Fred and Nick as roving marshals. Special thanks to Nigel Gaskin for going ahead to mark a tricky turn-off from the A3 towards Effingham.

There were upwards of 65 bikes on the run, several riders were assiduously collecting stickers and signatures for precious metal rocker applications, the last chance of the year to do so.

Thanks are also due to the staffs at The Parrott in Forest Green and The Stepping Stones in West Humble for catering for us.

Next Chapter events are the social night on 1st December, and breakfast at Smiths of Smithfield on Sunday 11th. After that, 2017 beckons. Keep an eye on the Chapter’s web-page and Facebook page for emerging details of next year’s events.

Remembrance Ride 2016

Michael Howers - C&F Road Captain


Please note: one rider was turned away as he arrived after the gates were closed at 09.30? The no-brief no-ride policy will be enforced for the safety of all.