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It comes to that time of the year when we get the chance to set aside some time to remember those who surrendered much or all of what they had because their country asked them to make the ultimate sacrifice. In times where we seem to find more time to watch the future than recall the past, a recent series of posts on Facebook from friends disconcerted that FIFA were blocking the wearing of red poppies at a future football match on Remembrance Sunday, many were silenced when one voice pipped up that in real respect every sport should follow the stance of the ACU and to take the day out of the annual event calendar. I for one shall be at my village war memorial again come rain or shine thinking about and thanking those from all sides who lay down their lives in a national cause, I do not focus on the good or bad of how they got to that point as for many there was no choice but to obey their call up for national service.

Oliver Godfrey 1914

Photo – Oliver Godfrey #112 500cc Indian [BL 90] taken 1914,  completed a lap of the Snaefell circuit at an average speed of 47.63 mph to win the first IoM mountain circuit TT race 1911 and was lost in the earth of Flanders 1916

A motorcycle sport legend Oliver Godfrey, a Londoner, was the winner of the first TT race held on the often considered ‘off-road’ mountain circuit in the Isle of Man in 1911 and part founder of Godfrey’s Motorcycles, Great Portland St., London.

Four years later in 1915 he swopped is bike goggles for pilots goggles and his saddle for a cockpit to fly bombing and reconnaissance missions over German lines. During the Battle of the Somme on the 23 September 1916 he flew with the 27 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps on a mission over Cambrai.

pilot license

Photo – @nd Lieutenant Oliver Cyril Godfrey’s pilots license 1916

Five German fighters intercepted them, led by the famous Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen. In the dog fight Godfrey was shot down crashing into the Flanders earth and his body was never recovered remaining one of the lost sons of war.

Oliver Godfrey 1911

Photo – Oliver Godfrey#26 Indian 500cc 3 3/4hp winner of the 1911 IoM TT and placed the name of Indian Motorcycles from Massachusetts in the forefront of motorcycle racing in the UK

Oliver Godfrey wins TT

Photo – Oliver Godfrey crosses the finish line to win the Isle of Man TT race in 1911

red indian

Photo – replica of Oliver Godfrey’s IoM TT wining Indian 500cc

This year the British Royal Legion is running a campaign to hilight the sportsmen and women who lost their lives in the wars which has provided some of the information for this article and you can read this and more here.


Battle of the Somme 1916 – 2016

To see more about the Battle of the Somme, below I feature a video conversion of a silent film made by Geoffrey Malins of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, a 77 minute film was made from 8,000 ft of film taken on the battlefield. The film features a few recreations but is considered to be a fairly authentic documentary of the battle in the new media of film. The film does not just concentrate on the trenches but has the War Horses as well as the motorised army with trucks and motorcycles in use. The evacuation of injured and prisoners from the battle field shows that the opposing sides were able to work side by side with compassion.


Replica of Oliver Godfrey’s Indian 500 Bonham Auction Stafford Oct 2011

100 years after the Indian Summer: Oliver Godfrey

Oliver Godfrey: First TT Mountain Course champion

Isle of Man TT Event History 1907 – 1930