welcome to two newly affiliated clubs
Kimber House welcomes the following two North American clubs which have affiliated to the UK ‘mother’ club.
The MG Car Club of Florida
PO Box 410471
President: Linda Knoblock-Raupp
The Arizona MG Car Club
14950 Poinsettia Drive
The North American MMM Register Newsletter
Below are various technical articles published in a number of MMM newsletters. All articles are by Chris Leydon, and our thanks to him for allowing us to reproduce them. Peter Cook
An interesting seasonal story published by the North American MMM Register in their Newsletter, Spring 2016.
Taken from North American MMM Register Newsletter, Spring 2016.
A Cold Dark Night on the Moors: An English Christmas Ghost Story
Looking back, it must have been Christmas 1946. I had studied engineering at Sheffield during the war and after graduating I decided to take employment in this city of engineers. Although I was from the south my mother was a Yorkshire lass and as often as I could I visited her sister and family in the village of Skelpton, about two and a half hours travel by car. My father had given me his old M type MG Midget after he “fettled“it for me. With petrol available again it was a most welcome gift.
On the rolling roads of the moors it was difficult for the MG’s tiny engine to maintain an average of forty mph but I loved that car. I had left Sheffield right after work, just a day before Christmas. The late afternoon was grey and chilly. As darkness came the weather became colder with freezing rain which occasionally changed to sleet. Of course the car had no heater, but with warm clothes and the top up it was liveable. I stopped numerous times to clean off the windscreen, and at one stop I used an old trick of Dad’s – I undid the bonnet catches and lifted each wing of the bonnet and placed a matchbox under each wing right in front of the windscreen. The weight of the bonnet held the matchboxes in place, allowing warm air from the engine to warm up the freezing tiny windscreen.
I was having problems with landmarks in the sleety darkness and the headlights were only so so, the car having a very basic electrical system. I set the moveable third brush in the dynamo to maximum and crossed my fingers.
As I began to get back into the car I saw someone approaching. It was a man in Royal Air Force apparel, in fact he had insulated aircrew clothing and boots. In what I thought was an American accent he said “Not the nicest weather to be out in.” I concurred and in an honest moment I told him I was heading for Skelpton but with no visible landmarks and most of the signposts still removed for the war. I was lost. With an engaging smile he said “My base is just down the road a bit, I’ll show you the way and I’m sure the boys will put you up for the night, it’s not worth carrying on.”
Conversation wasn’t easy in the noisy little car but eventually he directed me into a lighted area at the entrance to the base. Getting out of the car he held up the barrier for me and I drove through to a well-lit Quonset hut he had indicated to me. As I closed the car door I turned to thank my saviour but he was gone. I thought perhaps he had gone to another hut.
As I opened the door of the Quonset I stepped into a warm mixture of cigarette smoke and food. Two men seated at one of the tables playing cards looked up, surprised. I explained I was lost and one of them said “I think you need warming up!”. I was about to accept but I suddenly remembered that I had better drain the block on the MG before it froze. “No problem” said the smoker, “come with me”. I followed him to a workshop where we put my car and he then produced a round squat safety kerosene car heater. He lit the wick, closed the gauze safety cover and slid the heater under sump of the MG. “She’ll be fine all night” he said.
As we left the workshop I asked him where the airman who guided me in had gone, “What airman?” he replied. I told him about the new friend I had met on the road. “Well,” he said, “first of all he’s not a yank, he is a Canadian and his name is Gary. Let’s get back to the kitchen”. Once inside the kitchen my helper said to his partner who was preparing a meal for me on the stove, “He’s seen Gary.” The cook seemed startled and said “Give the young feller a scotch”.
I can’t recall what was on my plate, it must have been delicious but I was shaken by the story they told me. It seemed the base was home to Lancaster bombers during the war. In 1943 or 44, I can’t remember which, Gary Miller was a Lancaster pilot. What I do remember was his age, he was just twenty-three, not a lot older than me. Returning late to the base from a raid over Germany, their plane was running low on fuel and badly shot up. Approaching where Gary and his navigator figured the runway should be, when the runway lights came on the damaged instruments had them off course and the engines were misfiring from lack of fuel. Gary stayed at his post and ordered his crew to bail out. They obeyed and watched the stricken Lancaster lose height and crash off the runway. Gary died in the cockpit.
My two companions said they were posted to the base only recently, and although they were told of the ghost of the young pilot they had never seen it. The pair were to mothball the base which had been closed a year ago, with the help of local labour. It was a while before I fell asleep that night.
I awoke to a bright sunny morning, the sleet was melting and dripping off the window frames. After breakfast we got out the Ordnance Survey maps and my hosts showed how to get back onto the Skelpton road.
My uncle and Aunt’s home was the usual happy, riotous place I had come to know. After the youngsters were put to bed the three of us sat in the cozy kitchen and I told them about my encounter with Gary. My uncle said “Aye lad, there’s bin all kind of ghosts on t’moors, there’s bin wars fought since before the Romans come”.
With my trusty little MG I often drove the narrow roads and at least once a year I would go to the outcrop about a hundred feet from the runway. The locals never disturbed the remains of the wreckage, however they did erect a cairn to Gary Miller’s memory. On one of my visits to the site I ran into the farmer who grazed his sheep there. He said, “I see thee up here once int’ while, thee might like to know there’s a pub in Skipton on Swale were forces lads liked to go. Inside there’s a glass mirror ont’ wall. Along with other forces lad’s names scratched ont’ mirror thee’ll find Gary’s”.
I found the pub, still there, and I was looking for the mirror. A young barman said, pointing, “If you are looking for the mirror, it’s around the corner.” I looked at all the names and there it was “Gary Miller”. Returning to the bar the barman presented me with a fresh pulled pint. I reached for my money, but an older man behind the bar said. “Nay, man, it’s on the house for them that remember.”
The Last Word: This story is fiction, but if you ever get to Skipton on Swale, there is a pub with servicemen’s names scratched on a mirror. And as far as I know, if someone is moved by it, the publican still pulls a free pint for them!
Joe Carroll, Canadian Classic MG Club
Credits: Special thanks to Jennifer Orum for working with our member Dan Shockey for permission to print this wonderful story.
Jennifer Orum, Senior Editor, ‘Classical Gas’.
Canadian Classic MG Club; Canadian XK Jaguar Register.
On The Marque – San Diego Magazine 2016
MG Car Club Houston
Following on from the success of the All Register Meet in Louisville in June 2016, we are pleased to announce that the MG Club of Houston has re Affiliated with the MG Car Club in the UK. We wish to welcome them back to the Worldwide Marque of Friendship, and wish them well under their President Gordon D Smith.
South American clubs
This microsite covers our Affiliated Centres in North America and Canada.
The Affiliated Clubs in South America (Argentina) is found in the Rest of the World (ROW) microsite.
Welcome to the MG Car Club’s North American Microsite
Here you’ll find lots of information on the MG Car Club’s North American centre. (more…)