The photograph in your November issue of Etancelin racing his Maserati in the 1934 Dieppe Grand Prix was simply superb. Somewhere in the crowd on the hill behind was my father and five of his chums. He had somewhat daringly chartered a six-seater De Havilland Dragon Moth to take them to France for the day. Leaving Braintree, Essex at 6am in two cars, the party arrived at Heston Airport at 7.30am and were airborne at 7.40am. They put down at Dieppe aerodrome at 9am right next to the circuit. There were two one-hour heats in the morning and a two-hour final in the afternoon. Etancelin being from Rouen, his was a popular victory.
Leaving Dieppe at 6.30pm they hit a storm so severe that the pilot was forced down to within 30 feet of the sea when approaching the English coast. The final approach to Heston (when it was found) was hazardous in the extreme and the plane only narrowly missed hitting a high fence. The landing was made at 8pm but so torrential was the rain that all were trapped in the plane for twenty minutes! Roads were flooded, but after a meal in London they got home by midnight. Wrightson and Pearse of Heston charged £16 including waiting time, making the cost just £32-13/4d each! Not surprisingly they all did it again in 1935.
I AM, YOURS, ETC
Brian Joscelyne, Braintree, Essex