Bill Boddy

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Speed dynasty commemorated
A blue plaque has been erected to remind people of the family with racing blood coursing through its veins
In November an English Heritage blue plaque was unveiled at Canbury School, Kingston-upon Thames, in memory of Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell, the father and son who between them set 10 Land Speed Records and 11 records on water.
Malcolm was born in Kent in March 1885 and started racing in 1910. In 1921 when driving a Darracq in a race at Brooklands he suffered the first of many near-fatal accidents. The car was christened ‘Blue Bird’ after a stage play by Maurice Maeterlinck, and the name was used for all his subsequent cars and boats, and later those raced by Donald. Malcolm Campbell first broke the Land Speed Record on Pendine Sands, in Carmarthenshire, in September 1924, and in the following July, on the same course, he was the first driver to exceed 150mph. The late 1920s saw him compete repeatedly for the record with Sir Henry Segrave, the two men swapping the honours several times. The ninth and last Land Speed Record, at the Utah salt flats in 1935, saw him in a Rolls-Roycepowered car, again named ‘Bluebird’, in which he became the first person exceed 300mph. He then turned his attention to breaking the Water Speed Record which he did four times between 1937-39 in a to hydroplane named ‘Bluebird’, like his racing cars. On the last occasion he reached 141.74mph on Coniston Water in the Lake District.
During the Second World War he worked for Combined Operations but subsequently he suffered from glaucoma — possibly from not wearing goggles during his record attempts. He died in his Surrey home in 1948.
Donald followed in his father’s footsteps, making his first unsuccessful attempt on the then American-held Water Speed Record in August 1949. Six years later he took this record in a new jet-powered boat named ‘Bluebird’ to 202.32mph on Coniston Water.
This was followed by further records in speedboats, achieving 260.32mph in May 1959. He then returned to Land Speed Records, taking the prize at Lake Eyre salt flats in Australia with a speed of 403.14mph in the fourwheel-drive gas turbine car. Back to the water, on which he raised the record to 276.33mph on Lake Dumbleyung, Western Australia, on New Year’s Eve in 1964. He was the first and so far only driver to set both records in a single calendar year. These triumphs were an improvement on his father’s attempts but on January 4, 1967 his life and career ended when he was killed in the attempt to raise the record on Coniston Water. The wreckage of his last ‘Bluebird’ and his body were only recovered in 2001.
Donald’s daughter Gina went on to race and set records in power boats, while his nephew Don Wales holds the Electric Speed Record.
Malcolm Campbell lived in and around London but the only house where he and his son could be commemorated together is Canbury, a detached house on Kingston Hill dating from the late nineteenth century, which is now used as a school. This is where Donald was born in March 1921. His parents had hoped to live there for many years but Malcolm became restless and late in 1922 they moved to Povey Cross, near Horley, Surrey. At one time Kingston Hill was the address of Campbell, John Cobb, Sir Henry Segrave, Archie Frazer-Nash and Kenelm Lee Guinness, whose KLG spark plug factory was down the hill by the Robin Hood roundabout.
Unveiled by Don Wales, the grandson of Sir Malcolm, the new plaque will help to keep their names and achievements in the public eye.

*

Brooklands’ uphill challenge
In 1909 Major F Lindsay Lloyd took over from Ernst de Rodakowski as Clerk of the Course for Brooklands circuit. He had a sound knowledge of electrical and civil engineering and went into his new task with enthusiasm. He did not retire until well after the First World War and did more than words can tell for the Surrey Track. He was also well liked for his keenness and his discipline.
His first new venture was to have a Test Hill built from the top of the Finishing Straight opposite the Paddock and up the Members’ Hill. It was a concrete strip wide enough to accommodate a car, totalling 352rt 3in long, with an average gradient of 1 in 5.027. Because there was a road from the top to the bridge over the banking for spectators to reach the Hill from the entrances, drivers could continue back to the Paddock after making an ascent. With the new Holden electrical timing apparatus now in operation, Brooklands offered the industry a valuable testing ground, which the Test Hill enhanced. I believe the first car to try a climb failed ignominiously; then an 18/22hp Armstrong-Whitworth went up, then down to test its brakes. On March 26 the first certificate was issued stating that Kidner’s 20hp Vauxhall had climbed from a standing start in 15.041seconds. When RGJ Nash’s Frazer Nash established the ultimate hill record of 7.45sec in 1932, it became airborne for a short distance at the top as he was going so fast.
The Test Hill was in frequent use thereafter by the motor industry and by private motorists who wished to establish and then improve on their own ‘to the top’ time. There was a small charge for the public to use it though members could use it for free, but all received a certificate which recorded their ascent time. The Test Hill also became increasingly incorporated into the courses for road car trials. In 1925 the Junior Car Club organised an event involving the Test Hill called the High Speed Trial, in which competitors were asked not only to negotiate the major portion of the Outer Circuit, but were required to turn off at the Paddock return road and hairpin on to this delightful road section at the bridge leading to the top of the Test Hill, down which, in single file and under a strict speed limit, they would then descend to the Finishing Straight, there to commence another joyous lap.

You may also like

Related products