Monday, March 19, 2018

Eric Fenihough's last resting place

Eric Crudgington Fernihough. 17 February
1905 to 21 April 1938.
Following the recent article on Eric Fernihough's bible I took the time visit his grave in Bournemouth. I have relatives who live quite close to the Bournemouth East cemetery in King's Park so it was easy to slip away from the post Sunday lunch torpor and pay my respects.

It was a drizzly afternoon and in the distance I could hear the crowd cheering on Bournemouth at the nearby football stadium. Entering the cemetery I was dubious that I would be able to find Ferni's gravestone. Bournemouth East is after all quite a large cemetery and I only had limited time before I needed to return to the familial duties. I had found a picture of the gravestone online and it seemed to be quite distinctive, I quickly found though that the design was a popular one in 1930s Bournemouth. Providence however shone down on me: I had entered the cemetery through the northern gate by the Jewish gravestones and walking past these I stumbled upon Fernihough's gravestone quite swiftly.

The inscription on Eric Fernihough's headstone.
Ferni's widow, Florence Dorothy, was also buried on the same plot after she passed in 1982 and her name is inscribed below his.

On the side of the stone is marked:
'Also Florence A. Penrose
Died April 21. 1948
Aged 81 Years
Beloved Mother of 
Dorothy Fernihough.'

On the side of Eric Fernihough's headstone is marked the
grave of his mother-in-law Florence Penrose.
Unfortunately the two Florences, widow and in-law, knew great loss in their family as Florence Penrose's husband John was killed on the Titanic when it went down 15 April 1912. John Penrose was a steward on board.

The Penroses were a Liverpool family and perhaps it is this connection that was a common bond between Florence and Eric. The family moved down to Southampton when the White Star Line relocated their headquarters from Liverpool to Southampton. Florence Dorothy had a brother, Reginald who was married in Southampton in 1917 but unfortunately died just a short while later whilst fighting with the Hampshire Regiment in Belgium.

The information on the Penrose family I found on the Encyclopedia Titanica site.

It is a fascinating and somewhat tragic history. So far I have not been able to trace the link to Bournemouth for an explanation of why Eric Fernihough is buried there. Perhaps Florence Penrose moved to Bournemouth after her husband was lost at sea? It seems that she moved to Surrey later on in her life, perhaps after Eric's passing.

The view across Bournemouth East cemetery from Ferni's
headstone. It is a peaceful place.
The eightieth anniversary of Fernihough's death at Gyon in Hungary is coming up soon - April 21st to be precise. Some sources quote Ferni's death as April 23rd, though the headstone clearly states 21st. I found it strangely moving to visit his grave and it would be nice to think that it will be visited and flowers left on the eightieth anniversary. Apparently Florence Fernihough did not have any surviving children. Unfortunately I cannot be the one to mark the anniversary as I shall be at sea on the date, perhaps another local enthusiast can step in?

Looking from behind Ferni's headstone across
to the Jewish section of the cemetery.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Small Tiger Cub attached to large fairing

Looks like whoever had this 'droop snoot' fairing decided to attach a Tiger Cub to it.

Tiger Cub, alpha fairing.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Fernihough's bible

Eric Fernihough with the Brough Superior on
which he broke land speed records and ultimately
met his demise in Hungary.

I was lucky enough to recently find for a modest sum this relic of the great Eric Crudgington Fernihough. It is his Bible which the previous owner purchased as part of a house clearance back in 1982 when his widow passed away. Her name was Florence Dorothy Fernihough and she lived in a lovely 1930s house by the name of Crosby in Clock House Close, Byfleet, not far from Brooklands circuit.

'Crosby', Byfleet in Surrey, close to the Brooklands Circuit.
Ferni's racing and record breaking achievements are well documented but there is scant information available about the man himself. He was born February 17th 1905 in Birkenhead the son of a tobacco warehousing and manufacturing family. As a lad from a well to do family Ferni enrolled at Magdalene College in Cambridge. The Bible is dated as October 1923 at which age Ferni would have been 18, it came with a postcard of Magdalene College within its pages. Presumably the Bible was a gift for when he left home and went to University. Within the cover of the Bible, 'See Joshua 1.7' is also annotated (in a different hand - perhaps that of a parent?).

The postcard found in Ferni's Bible of his college, Magdalene,
at Cambridge.
Joshua 1.7
Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that though mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest.

In all honesty the Bible is not very well thumbed though there is a chocolate wrapper marking a page (606-607) so perhaps he did get stuck in some way.

Through the interwar years motor sport was very much a part of the Cambridge scene, and just as the Oxford / Cambridge boat race now is so varsity motor sport events were also big occasions. Much of Ferni's motor sport activities were under the umbrella of the Cambridge University Automobile Club, predominantly a motor cycle competitor he also dabbled heavily with Morgan three wheelers and shortly before his accident he became involved in four wheeler sport.

Speed racing was very much Ferni's thing though he did enter one IOM TT. Very active and part of the scene at Brooklands, he ran a garage by the perimeter of the track on Byfleet Road. Through the thirties Ferni became more involved in ultimate speed racing, both at Brooklands and in land speed record bids, he was motorcycle land speed record holder in 1936 and 1937. Sadly he was killed in Gyón, Hungary April 23 1938 aged just 33 whilst trying to regain his title. He had been clocked at 180 mph just before he lost control of his Brough Superior and fatally crashed.

Eric Fernihough is buried in Bournemouth East cemetery, I am not sure of his connection with Bournemouth as he was born in Birkenhead and, as far as I can see, lived in Surrey. I aim to visit his gravestone in the near future.

As a final note, the above information is collected from secondary sources and to the best of my knowledge is correct. If anyone out there can elaborate further please do get in touch. One mystery I have not found the answer to is that I have seen mentioned that in the twenties he was engaged to a Kathleen Butler who sometimes passengered his Morgan at Brooklands. This seems at odds with his widow being Florence Fernihough, perhaps someone knows the answer and will get in touch?

Eric Fernihough's signature and
the note to see Joshua 1.7

Thursday, March 8, 2018

First year BSA

Here's a really cracking image. It's the first production model of BSA from 1910 / 1911. Look carefully and the bike is quite well used, the trumpet has fallen off the bulb horn and the toolbox is a bit battered. There's a cushion on the rear carrier for the lucky passenger!

veteran BSA 1910 / 1911
BSA 3.5hp 1910 / 1911.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Rudge Bicycles 1958 brochure

Another bicycle brochure emigrated over from the Vintage Bicycling site. The Rudge range for 1958.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Tschiffely's Royal Enfield

A few days back I published a post on the subject of A F Tschifelly's travel book , Round and About Spain, this was spotted by Basha O'Reilly who is the executrix of the Tschiffely Literary Estate.

Basha has been kind enough to forward these two images of Tschiffely taken from Motor Cycling magazine. The first is of Tschiffely meeting with Major Mountford and other big wigs of the Royal Enfield company. The little Ensign looks quite new in this image and one assumes that it was before he set off. Note too the comedically large 'L' plate.

In the second image (presumably also taken at or near the Royal Enfield works) Tschiffely lassoes Graham Walker, editor of Motor Cycling magazine, who is riding an Enfield Model G. Tschiffely was a horseman of great note, well known for his long distance riding exploits, motor cycle travel was a new departure for him.

If you care to find out more about Tschiffely the man and his travels visit the Official Tschiffely website.

Many thanks to Basha O'Reilly, the Tschiffely Literary Estate for forwarding these images for publication on this site.

A F Tschiffely meets the Royal Enfield top brass prior
to riding an Ensign model around Spain for his book
Round and About Spain.

A staged publicity shot in which Tschiffely lassoes Graham
Walker, then Motor Cycling magazine Editor.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Yamaha AG200 vs Beast from the East

For non-UK readers, 'Beast from the East' is the name British media gave to the cold weather system currently engulfing the UK on account of it coming from an Easterly direction and being particularly harsh for this time of year...

Round these parts we had a snowfall of slightly more than six inches: many other countries would consider that to be a minor flurry but over here it is a code red emergency. Seemed like a good chance to get out on the Yamaha AG and play.

Yamaha AG200 in the snow

Yamaha AG200 in the snow

Yamaha AG200 in the snow

Yamaha AG200 in the snow

Yamaha AG200 in the snow

Yamaha AG200 in the snow

Yamaha AG200 in the snow