David Gaze 1949-52

Exhibition Weekend Accident

“Otto Lai Kiaow arranged to take me and Peter Sykes to King’s School Exhibition Weekend in his Father’s car. Picking me up at my parent’s home at Surbiton we progressed on the lengthy journey to the school at Sherborne, Glos. There were no motorways then, and we had to use many different roads across London’s outer suburban area to reach the main A40 route via Oxford and Witney to Sherborne.

“We eventually arrived, and were coming down the driveway to the school. Otto was going too fast, and the car was skidding on the loose surface material on the road. Otto was in a show-off mood with boys watching from the side of the driveway, and yelling at them. This distracted his concentration as he applied his brakes and the car pulled sharply to one side. Unable to correct it we felt the car go quickly over on to its side with a bang. We knew nothing more as we became momentarily concussed. (Our hands probably hit the roof.) I can’t remember if there were seat belts in the car. [It is I feel unlikely that they had seat belts as these only became compulsory fittings to the front seats in the mid 60’s but it was some time later that people were made to use them.]

“I can’t remember if the car was upside down or back on its four wheels when I came round. Otto was still at the driving wheel and dazed. I shook him on the shoulder and told him to get out quickly as I feared the car might catch fire. Otto was able to open his door and I followed, easing myself through between the front seats.

“Once out of the car Otto became aware that Peter was not to be seen. ‘Where’s Peter her shouted?’ We both looked around and saw a figure slumped down on the driveway further towards the house. Half running we hurried towards the figure fearing the worst. It was thought that as the car went over on its side, Peter was propelled forward through the open sunroof aperture, and along the road as the car flew off the road to the side. We saw his cut lip and blood on his face and noted his dazed look and movements as he came round. We gently lifted him with an arm round each of our shoulders and we slowly walked to the school and up the stairs to the Sick Bay. We felt guilt about our reckless accident. Peter Sykes was taken to the hospital at Bourton-on-the-Water, and made an excellent recovery.

“Mrs Mosey kindly offered to put us up at the school for the night, for which Otto and I were both grateful. Otto and I were both relieved that none of us suffered worse injuries. Fred Bates, whose father ran a Ford Dealers Garage at Evesham, was able to do an estimate for repairs to the Morris 8.

“Otto had to explain the accident to his father when he got home. I did hear, by a phone call, that there were frayed relations, but hoped that time would have repaired any rift and a normal family relationship restored.

[This account leaves me wondering ‘Where are Otto and Peter now?’]

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