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Classic Lightweights UK
        Reminiscences
 

Buckshee Wheelers - LAC G. M. Garth 

Author Peter Underwood

Mike Wilson from Bridlington recently contacted me saying he had a pile of black and white photographs taken in Cairo, Palestine, and other places in the Middle East during the 1940s, many of which show cyclists taking part in races such as the Grand Prix Du Firdan, Grand Prix De Gezira and the Aboukir 25-mile time trial. For serving members of the armed forces, recreation in the desert was a problem which was eased by both football matches and cycle racing.  Photographs show how popular these events were with big crowds watching the events and prize-givings.  More on cycling  in the Middle East can be found in Reminiscences by John Basell, Alan Colburn , Sid Ellis and Ken Lowson.

With the photographs were three interesting documents. First LAC Garth's RAF Form 69, an identification card for RAF drivers valid from 26.2.1946 to 25.2.1947 and showing his F 1250 (Identification Card) as No. 1375747.  Shown beneath this card is G M Garth's Membership Card of the Services Supporters Club of the BLRC.

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Also included in this cache is a Buckshee Wheelers Winter Racing Programme for 1945/45.  It seems to be annotated by GMG showing him as winning or coming second in many of the events of October to December.  It seems as if he didn't race after Christmas, or if he did, he didn't note his results down.

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The verso of this document shows that the Buckshee Wheelers held a BAR (Best All-Rounder) over distances of 25, 50 and 100 miles, which would be quite a feat on these roads and in this heat.

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Left: GMG competing in Aboukir 25, October 14th, 1945 where he posted winning time of 1.7.30 on fixed-wheel
(see card above)
Right: Probably taken after the event when he was declared the winner - note strapped knee

Below: GMG about to pass the timekeepers at the finish

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Left: Buckshee Wheelers 50K massed-start Grand Prix de Gezira - 29 April 1945. The winner, Wally Morris
Right: Claud Butler fixed in the desert


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Grand Prix du Firdan - 17 June 1945
Stan Hilditch, Bert Brown, GMG and Geordie Nicholson

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Not all time in the Middle East was spent on duty (or riding bikes). These two images show bathing in the Dead Sea with
Empire Class Flying Boat (fore-runner of the Sunderland Flying Boat) in background, and camel riding near the Pryamids outside Cairo.
They also visited Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa as well as doing duty trips to Suez Harbour.
Being a driver in the RAF, GMG would have travelled much more than most during his tour of duty.

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Trips in the Sinai desert would have their own hazards such as punctures plus many reminders of earlier battles including
crashed aircraft and wrecked and burnt out tanks.