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Story of West Bromwich dad who bought cabin cruiser

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: February 21, 2014

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I WAS born in West Bromwich on July 25, 1936, and my father Joseph Ashmore was a self-made business man.

His group of companies consisted of five garages, two in West Bromwich, one in Birmingham, one in Derby and one in Burton upon Trent.

He also owned The Bromford Iron and Steel Company in Bromford Lane, West Bromwich, a steel construction company and Ashmore Builders. He built the first 500 houses in Powis Avenue, Tipton, after the war and many other houses and buildings all over the Midlands.

He sold out his group of companies in 1960 , but did not like retirement so bought the old ex British Road Services depot in Tipton Road, Dudley, next to the Guest Hospital.

He did all this without any education. However, he could add up and take away and write his name, his word being his bond.

The reason for my contacting you is, my wife also a West Bromwich girl, and I live in Bretagne, France and after I retired from buying and selling cranes and construction equipment, we ran a holiday cottage as our living. But old age and poor health stopped us doing that two years ago.

So I thought I would write a book about a motor cabin cruiser named Sea Watch which my father bought from Jersey in the Channel Islands in 1947. The German Army had taken it off its Dutch owner, guns mounted fore and aft, and sent to Jersey as a patrol boat.

We had lunch with a number of ex-Midlands friends also living here and David Fletcher from Willenhall, whom I met for the first time, started talking to me about the old days.

He sent me three copies of The Bugle, one dated December 12 with an article of three men driving a car to Vienna.

I knew one of them Mr Wharton because he owned a garage in Bearwood and his son Ken was a racing driver as was my father Joe and his brother Fred Ashmore.

They owned 32 racing cars at the end of the war in partnership with the late Reg Parnell.

After the war they hired them out so most of the cars on the starting grid we owned.

Dad was a good driver who finished most times but uncle was very fast but blew up the cars and Reg was a top flight driver pre-war and so he had the best car and won many times.

Then his son Tim and myself started a three-car team in partnership with a Belgium driver Andre Pillette and we called the team the Three Musketeers.

I would like to know if any Bugle readers would like to read my book along with a DVD.

My telephone is 0033 296 27 78 70 mobile 0033 686 27 53 00.

Kindest regards.

Gerald Ashmore,


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