Looking back for May 9

By Sara Bryce

Friday, May 9, 2014



100 years ago | 75 years ago | 50 years ago | 25 years ago | 10 years ago

100 Years Ago - May 9, 1914

COASTGUARD stations around the Island were decorated with flags in honour of the accession of King George V.

Similar symbols of British loyalty were flown in all parts of the Island.


A near fatal accident occurred when a boat belonging to the admiral’s yacht capsized at Cowes.

As the yacht Firequeen, which had the commander-in-chief at Portsmouth, Admiral Sir Hedworth Meux on board, approached the royal yacht moorings a gig was lowered.

A strong current was running and the gig was swamped, pitching four sailors head-first into the water. The men were strong swimmers and were able to clamber back on board.


Excitement was caused by a horse, with saddle hanging beneath it, that dashed through the busy Newport High Street. The displaced saddle suggested the rider may have had a nasty fall but fortunately this proved wrong. The horse was being exercised by an officer’s servant of the Royal Fusiliers, who was thrown off at Coppins Bridge. He was uninjured.

75 Years Ago - May 13, 1939

The tulip and iris fields at Yaverland Manor proved to be a great attraction to Islanders and mainland visitors alike.

So many visitors headed to view the 20 acres of colourful flowers, police were sent from Sandown to control the traffic. The best views of the flowers were from Morton Common and the top of Brading Down.


Mystery surrounded the abandonment at the Eastern Esplanade, Ryde, of an 18ft auxiliary yacht named Venus. Fisherman noticed the yacht was inexpertly handled and shortly afterwards a young man and a young woman came ashore in a 12ft dinghy and were not seen again.

It transpired the pair, who were brother and sister, had come ashore as the yacht was leaky and had left for London the following morning.


In honour of the anniversary of the coronation of King George VI — admiral of the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes — a royal salute of 21 guns were fired from the battery.

50 Years Ago - May 9, 1964

A Newport man developed an interesting new horticultural pastime.

Bob Lawn, of College Road, foreman machine minder for the County Press, discovered his interest in the ancient art of Japanese bonsai — creating dwarf potted trees — after his father visited an Anglo-Japanese exhibition in London in 1910.

After returning in 1945 from military service, Mr Lawn’s interest grew and he began experimenting with the art. In 1964, he had 25 specimens, ranging from 15 to 25 years old, including bonsai ash, elm and oak trees. None were more than 14ins tall.


A new 28-bed Hassall chest ward at St Mary’s Hospital was opened by MP Mark Woodnutt. The £80,000 ward was named after Arthur Hill Hassall, the founder of the Royal National Hospital at Ventnor, which it largely replaced after the lung disease hospital closed.


An Island-built Decca transistor marine radar was ordered and installed on the Condor I, the first commercially used hydrofoil in the Britain.

The radar would enable crew to maintain strict schedules on the passenger service between the Channel Islands and France in the event of fog or bad weather.

25 Years Ago - May 5, 1989

Two barn owlets, born in mainland captivity, were brought to the Island to be reared by a farmer and wife in secret.

The five-week-old owlets were nesting in a man-made aviary built high above the rafters in a barn.

The adopted parents were carefully chosen as part of a programme to increase the British number of the owls. In 1922, the number was 36,000 and in 1989 it had reduced to just 6,000 barn owls.


As the last war came to an end, a young German soldier was captured, billeted to the Island and sent to work at a burgeoning Yarmouth family business.

Nearly 45 years on, that business, Hopkins C. F. in Yarmouth High Street, celebrated its 50th year of trading and the former German PoW returned for the celebration. Far from being a prisoner, Gerhard Trubitz became close friends with business owners Mildred Hopkins and husband, Cecil.

10 Years Ago - May 7, 2004

Public spirited passengers came to the aid of a bus driver who was attacked after he tried to eject a fare dodger.

The fight broke out at Newport Bus Station when the 64-year-old driver was kicked as he tried to get the man to leave the bus. After the driver ushered him off, he was hit in the head by one of the man’s friends.


Mother of twins Paula Burke was grateful to a lifelong friend who underwent a three-hour operation to donate his kidney to save her life.

When Paula, who was born with kidney disease, needed a second transplant to prevent renal failure, friend Chris Davidson did not hesitate to donate a kidney. The pair had known each other since Sandown High School.

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