I yield pride of place to no one in my admiration of Raymond Mays, but I do think that Wing-Cdr. Lester does the late Murray Jamieson an injustice when he states that Raymond Mays started him on his specialised career.
I first met Jamieson in 1920 and we were inseparable companions until I left London in 1936. During this time I saw him grow from a slight, retiring schoolboy into far and away the most brilliant car designer England has ever had.
He had an unusually successful academic career—in three years he collected no fewer than fourteen diplomas and medals, with which qualifications, and an altogether unnatural genius, he went to the Green Engine Co. at Twickenham, in 1925, which was the start of his “specialised career.”
His association .firsi with Amherst Villiers and, later, with Raymond Mays, began on June 18th, 1928.
I had the privilege of working with him on the design and production of the supercharged Bentley for Tim Birkin, by whom I was then employed, and was quite overawed by his unreasonable capacity for sustained effort and his very wide knowledge of the science and art of designing.
Incidentally, there are one or two facts about the Birkin stable which make interesting reading if I cared to relate them. They are first-hand facts in my own experience as Birkin’s only designer during the 1929 racing season, and are not to be confused with the fables usually retailed about this particular marque (revolting word l). I also worked under Jamieson’s inspired guidance at Amherst Villiers Superchargers, Ltd., for over two years and helped with the metamorphosis of the 1922 T.T. Vauxhall into the Villiers Supercharge. And how much midnight elec tricity was consumed on that labour of Jove! ” C.A.V.” always had a lastminute brain-wave just before Shelsleyand we never had half enough time in width to sort it out. (But we sometimes got there 1)
I still have a number of letters from ” T.M.J.” outlining his future plans for the camshaft Austin in some detail, which also make interesting, and very exclusive, reading. I believe he would have broken the Land Speed Record with it had he wanted to, as he was proposing to extract 200 b.h.p. from it at 14,000 r.p.m. in its existing form. He had an altogether superior design for a ” real” 750 ready when he had the necessary financial “right-away.
I have often felt like writing a biography Of this not-properly appreciated genius, whose most untimely death was such a blow to British motor racing. He was definitely the presiding genius in the circle in which he moved, and the successes of the Villiers Supercharge, the Austin and the E.R.A. are due almost exclusively to Jarruny’s wizardry.
This is necessarily only a sketchy outline of the career of a very great engineer.
I must apologise for the frequent repetition of the personal pronoun, but as I am writing of him as I knew him, it is unavoidable.
If your readers are interested I should only be too pleased to add to this narrative, and recount a few of my impressions and experiences of those halcyon days of the early thirties, chiefly in eonnection with Tim and the Bentley and other matters and ears touched upon herein (not to mention design generally, which still appears to be so little understood, in spite of 50 odd years’ use of a fundamentally simple mechanism). I am, Yours, etc.,
ERIC G. RICHTER.
Derby. [The suggested amount would be most acceptable.—ED. }