100 Years Ago - September 20, 1913
THE army airship Eta passed over the Island during an eight-hour trial flight from Aldershot.
The dirigible airship flew over Portsmouth and The Solent and proceeded as far as Yarmouth before turning south, passing over the forts and returned directly over Yarmouth and Cowes.
It was the first time many people had seen an airship and it was flying so low the words Eta 1913 could be easily read.
Reports of a fire in a Cowes shipyard, which caused much excitement in the area, were found to be wildly exaggerated.
Reports that George Marvin’s yard in Upper Arctic Road was ablaze proved to be false and it was found one small bush near the railings had caught fire where a cigarette butt had been dropped.
An Osborne College Marine set a British record after playing the piano for 36 hours without stopping.
It was not the first impressive feat of piano playing by Pte George Doughty, of the Royal Navy College, who had played non-stop for 25 hours the previous July, beating his own previous record by 13 hours.
The marine played around 400 tunes and survived the time nibbling on boiled eggs, chocolate and grapes and taking an occasional sip of milk.
75 Years Ago - September 24, 1938
Searchlight demonstrations were held around the Island to help rally recruits for anti-aircraft defence.
One demonstration was performed on East Cowes Esplanade and involved live action of a defence station in action.
It gave the public a chance to see how the modern searchlight and sound-locating equipment worked. Lt E. J. Cole gave a running commentary explaining the operation.
An emergency exercise involving 200 wardens, 52 cars driven by volunteers, the fire brigade, decontamination squads and telephone girls assisting from headquarters was performed in Cowes. Respirators were handed out during the exercise and passers-by were enthralled watching the air raid precaution teams in action.
HMS Jersey — a destroyer built in Cowes at Messrs J. Samuel White and Co’s yard in East Cowes — was launched.
The J-class Royal Navy ship was sunk on May 2, 1941, after hitting an aircraft-dropped mine off Malta’s Grand Harbour, sinking next to the breakwater, resulting in the death of 35 crew members.
50 Years Ago - September 21, 1963
Honorary citizenship was bestowed on a Shanklin soldier by the little town of Le Cateau in northern France.
Gunner Herbert Wright, of St John’s Road, was 19 when he served with the 93 Le Cateau Battery 25 Regiment Royal Artillery in Germany in 1914.
The honour was bestowed on men of the battery when they made a three-day visit to Le Cateau on the 49th anniversary of the battle there in 1914.
Transistor radar and echo-sounder equipment proved their worth during a search for two missing schoolboys.
The boys, aged 13, went missing at Tennyson Down and were found clinging to a ledge after going fossil hunting.
After a long search, lifeboats headed close to shore and used the radar equipment to pick out the boys, who were 'not unduly worried’ by their predicament.
A giant hovercraft was under construction in the Westland hangar at Cowes.
The 37.5-ton craft, which was built for the Ministry of Aviation, dwarfed the first British hovercraft, which was also in the hangar.
The 77ft-long, 31ft-wide craft boasted a flexible skirt to give over-wave and obstacle clearance capability and was thought to demonstrate the rapid hovercraft progress by Westland.
25 Years Ago - September 23, 1988
A family of three escaped serious injury when their single-propellor fixed-wing aircraft made a forced landing in a ploughed field at Niton.
On touchdown, the Piper P28’s nose wheel dug into the soft ground and the aircraft flipped over onto its roof causing superficial damage to the wing and tail plane.
On board were a family from Middlesex, who received minor injuries and were treated at Royal IW County Hospital at Ryde.
Albany prison officer Harry Jackson won the prison service’s national dog handlers’ championship — at his seventh attempt.
Mr Jackson, 43, had competed in the national finals since 1979 with three different dogs and had been placed three times.
Mr Jackson and his German shepherd, Rambo, who was owned by the prison service, beat dogs and handlers from all over the country to take home the prestigious Silver Alsatian Trophy.
The chance to do a parachute jump was offered to Island youngsters through the county youth and community service.
Youngsters between the ages of 14 and 21 were eligible and were invited to write their reasons for wanting to jump and why they should be chosen.
The opportunity arose because Bob Chapman won the chance to jump and decided to give the prize to a deserving young Islander.
10 Years Ago - September 19, 2003
A new £7.3 million, three-storey retail development creating more than 100 jobs was planned for the Newport Bus Station site.
The scheme sought permission for 60,000 sq ft of retail space to be housed in a striking glass-fronted building.
The plan showed eight retail units on the ground floor, a major retailer on the first floor and a mixture of retail, leisure and offices on the second floor. It was planned to be finished in 2005.
Millionaire businessman Peter Harrison’s 115ft superyacht, which cost £8.7 million to build, was named and blessed at Cowes with a champagne celebration for guests and the 70-strong Island build team.
The sleek luxury yacht, named Sojana after the first three syllables of Mr Harrison’s grandchildren’s names, was described as a racing boat with overtones of a gentleman’s club and took 100,000 man-hours to build.