An eventful night

In 1942 Bert Morris, a fitter and turner by trade, was working at Chevertons garage in Newport. He installed new machinery in part of the garage given over to war work, producing thousands of component parts for Spitfires, landing craft, pumps for floating pontoons for bridges, etc, he worked from 8.00am to 8.00pm with a motorcycle journey to and from Newport on the top of it.

Bert and his friend Sid Higgins described an eventful journey home to Brook one night: it started at Bowcombe when their motorbike got entangled with a cat: we were alright, but sad to say the cat came off worse.

They slowly approached Shorwell where a road block was manned by soldiers of the Black Watch regiment. A soldier wanted to read some papers so he asked them for their headlamp, which consisted of a hood with thin strips of light. As they did this, one of the sentries discharged his rifle. Luckily no one was injured or killed. A court martial was later held about the incident and Mr Frank Cheverton said: I am disturbed to think the Army could shoot my men going home from work.

Bert and Sid then proceeded to the next checkpoint by the Crown Inn, Shorwell, only to be told there was a red alert and it would be best to put out what little light they had and carry on.

They managed to get almost to Brighstone, but had to stop in the road because there were strings of flares coming down followed by bombs near to Grange Farm and what is now the holiday camp. Sadly on this occasion, many soldiers who were billeted there were killed.

Bert and Sid were left struggling in the middle of the road pushing and pulling the motor cycle to get it under a hedge and out of sight. They eventually arrived home unscathed.