A Club Again

In the last magazine I finished off when the clubroom was finished off – by a bomb. Time passed and still more bombs fell. Then there was the Fire of London; the Doodle-bugs and finally the V.2’s. Then in May 1945 the war in Europe finished to be followed later in the year by the Japs capitulation. Then the boys started to trickle home. p>

December, 1945.  A letter on the mat from Jim Burrow informing me that he would be home and out in about 6 months and had I started the Club up again yet? This started me into action, so I contacted Horace Ireland (he was not called up), Les Brown, Stan Hilditch, Bert Gauntlet, Bernard Martin, Sid Povey, Sid Wimble, Jack Hatton and Bill Tebbutt.  We met in a room at the British Legion and arranged a Sunday run. I could not attend this as I was the proud father of a little girl of four and I never enjoyed going out and leaving her and Joyce behind.  The next move was to contact Charlie Bowtle, which I did. Two weeks later, we again met at the British Legion. There were a few more of us by then and an action committee was formed.  We also drew the cash from the Post Office to pay for some publicity.  A regular Sunday run was agreed on and used as a means of chatting up all lone cyclists with a view to getting them to join the Club. We met quite of few of these and with the boys coming home the Club started to grow.  Joyce relinquished her job as Treasurer and Jim Burrow came home and out.  From then on he was a big factor in bringing in new members.  We had leaflets printed, describing the Club and the clubroom activities. These were handed out in cafes and pushed through letterboxes. The Clubroom was in the basement of the Labour Hall just opposite Mitcham Station and the Crown Inn. Members gathered in the Crown but dead on 9 o’clock left the pub, crossed the road and the ‘Club announcements’ were made. Just about 18 months later I resigned as General Secretary as I could not attend meetings regularly and so felt that I was losing touch with the members. I knew I was handing over the reins to good cyclists and true clubmen.

Before I finish my contribution to the Redmon story I would not like any of us to forget those club members who were also my friends who did not come back from the War. Without them and many others there would have been no coming-back for the Redmon.

Ron Bensley, Killed in action in the Navy
Alfie Cleal, Killed in action in the Navy
Don Wickham, Killed in action in the Navy
Matt Merry, Killed in action. Parachute Regiment
Paddy McFry, Killed in action. RAF.

Ron Martin

(Our thanks to Ron for his Early Years of the Redmon. It is great to know that Ron and Joyce still retain their interest in the Club even from faraway Cornwall. The Club owes them a big debt of gratitude).

Previously Printed in the Redmon Review for April 2005.