Flesh on the Bones.

The story of a lost motorcycle

By Tom Gilby

  

     About 1951, Alf “Fella” Andrews who then ran the Motorbike Shop in Stanstead Abbotts High Street, told me a story about a motorcycle buried many years ago at premises in

Cappell Lane. Nothing specific about the location, but a rough indication and reason for the Interment was given over a mug of tea and general chat about Matters motorcycling. Apparently a young man had a fatal accident in the 1930’s at a place which was never specified, but the make of bike was rumoured to be a SCOTT, at this time it had little impact on me but each time I rode down Cappell Lane I would wonder where exactly this bike was buried and how much of it would still be useable.

     Many years on I became friendly with an elderly chap, by name Alfred Dearman, who was in the same motorcycle club as myself, with a special interest in early models, he told me that had recently found a 1921 New Hudson, and the location was Cappel Lane. During the purchase of his latest find, it was disclosed that a younger brother of the seller had been involved in a fatal accident, and the same story was unfolded again, still without a specific location of the Grave, but at least now we knew the area.

 

    Ten more years elapsed, and sadly Alf Dearman died, After some time I purchased all his old bikes, and the New Hudson became mine, checking back through the Log book I found a family name, Bunyan, this was the name of the family that had lived at the suspected Motorcycle Graveyard.

     After the passing of a further 15 years the property changed hands. I knew the buyers through my engineering trade contacts, so I was able to relate the past rumours to Brian Thomas, the new owner. He was extremely interested, and keen to know where this relic might be buried, but it was not reasonable to expect that someone would want to have their estate excavated for such a scantily fleshed out story.

     During September 2017 on a Saturday afternoon I received a telephone call from a wildly excited Brian Thomas, it worked out that his neighbour had been digging a hole to plant a new Apple tree, and struck something hard, thinking it might be some old brickwork, carried on until the remains of a wheel was evident.

Now really committed to clearing this obstruction, he also found the remains of a frame section, and parts of a fuel tank, "Can you come over and see this?" Brian asked. I promptly set off and found the mystery item to be the remains of the Scott, in a very bad state of decay, and also that the front end of the frame had been sawn off at the point where the full impact of a collision had bent the frame. So now we had the Bones!

    The mystery of exactly when, and where the accident occurred, and who made the decision to bury it minus the Engine/Gearbox still remains. I have made some enquiries through an elderly family relative {97 years old}, but we gleaned no further info.

 

    So after nearly 70 years and Dozens of times when I had passed by the property, I had wondered about the truth of this story. It had been true, but now has raised even more questions.

Who was the Man ? Where was the accident? When and why was it buried? Year of manufacture of the bike is approx 1929, and has laid in its place quietly... RIP, (not to be confused with RUST IN PEACE).

                                                                  Tom Gilby Dec. 2017


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