Tom Lush - the man with the hush-hush pass...

When my friend Tom Lush and I ran Austin Sevens I recall some amusing episodes with them. On one occasion I went to see him and parked behind his Austin 7 in the quiet road where he lived. He asked where I had parked and I said, behind his Austin. “Oh, no!”, he replied, and rushed out to move my car round the corner. When I queried why, he said, “did you not notice they had the same number plates?”.

On another occasion he was in his garage working hard on his Austin when a girl came up to me and said her car had a puncture, and could I help her to change the wheel. I went in to tell Tom. He was very busy but said, “I suppose I should help”, and he emerged after combing his hair and washing his hands. He came out with a jack and changed the flat tyre with the spare. The girl thanked him and as she was about to drive away she said, “I hope it will not come off”. Tom said “I will tighten it a bit more”. He was a very strong man and as he tightened the wheel nuts his muscles stood out as he exerted all his strength to the job. Turning to me he said, “she will never get that off again”.

During WWII Tom had a special identity pass, which gave no address but said if contact was required the London telephone number on the card was to be used. This pass was given to him when he had a government job of a secret nature, which was to do with the construction of decoy bomb sites and repairing these if they were bombed. They were very realistic, even down to dummy rivers and overhead tram lines which sparked to suggest that real trams were in operation.

On a pouring wet night we went to the local cinema and when we came out we found a very bedraggled policeman. He had been waiting a long time to apprehend the driver of the car parked there, which he assumed must be using illicit petrol. He was not very pleased when Tom used his special pass.

On another occasion when Tom, I and our wives were having a picnic on a local common, the police arrived, convinced they had found someone who should not be using petrol for pleasure in war time, but they were easily dispersed when Tom again showed his special pass.