...of Captain Eric 'Killer' Steerforth MC, the famed Hurley-Pugh development rider and six-times TT challenger. Educated at Eton, a variety of crammers and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, 'Killer' soon became well-known within his circle for his robust attitude to discipline and his enjoyment of the more esoteric field sports. A fine horseman, he was renowned throughout the Rutland country for his keenness to be in at the kill, often joining hounds on the ground and tussling them for a crack at the fox.
After a gallant career in the Army, serving throughout the First World War on the Western Front in a variety of roles, ranging from command of a rifle platoon at First Ypres, to command of a company on the first day of the Somme, to command of a battalion at Paschendaele, to a platoon command in Flintshire after an incident at the Bull Ring in Arras,
'Killer' accepted his discharge and was immediately recruited by the RIC Auxiliaries - the Black and Tans - and enjoyed a short, but exciting, time in Ireland, before approaching Old JH [Sir John Hurley], whose younger and feeble-minded brother had been his fag at school, for a job at the Scunthorpe Proving Sheds in 1924.
Still suffering from what were indubitably, in retrospect, the effects of shell shock, 'Killer' had found his true spiritual home at Scunthorpe and he remained there, as Chief Test Rider, from 1924 until the outbreak of War in 1939, with only two interruptions - in 1926, when he volunteered for service during the General Strike and 1937, when, fired by idealistic zeal as so many other young men were, he left for Spain to fight for his principles, returning with the Iron Cross Second Class, the Military Order of King Ferdinand, 3rd Class, awarded personally by General Millan de Astray, and the official thanks of Generalissimo Franco for his services in the Spanish Foreign Legion.
Who can forget that rangy, black-shirted figure on the howling Hurley-Pugh Manxman Excalibur Clubman as it wallowed through Ramsey, spreading its characteristic slick of waste oil over the road behind it, or the unforgettable sight of the tall figure, in its trademark long black leather coat, playfully shooting at the Scunthorpe apprentices with a Mauser Model 1892? Who will ever forget his Christmas party game of 'Pin The Tail On The Hebrew'? Certainly not Nat from Assembly!
The entire Works shed a silent tear when 'Killer' left to answer his country's call again in 1939, to serve gallantly throughout the war in the Palestine Police. It was a tragedy beyond the telling when the Stern Gang brutally put an untimely end to the existence of this courageous, deeply troubled man.
'At the going down of the sun and in the morning... we will remember them'.
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