Obituary: Betty Haig

We are grievously saddened to hear that Betty Haig, great-niece of Field Marshall The Earl Haig, died in an Inverness nursing home on April 31. She became an all-out motoring enthusiast after her early love of horses and hunting, starting (after a Douglas motorcycle) with a 1922 ABC, and going on to own A7s, another ABC, HE, MG, HRG, Frazer Nashes of both kinds, BMW 328 and many others, numbering some 60 cars by the time I interviewed her in 1965.

Betty Haig did well in rallies, winning an Olympic Medal in her first pre-war rally, in Germany, with a 11/2-litre six-cylinder Singer, a car also used for a WASA trial and Brooklands driving. She then won outright the Paris-St Raphael Feminin Rally in her PB MG, and after the war she won the Ladies’ Cup and her class in the fantastic 1948 Alpine Trial in an AC. She went on a Monte Carlo Rally in an experimental Morris Minor with Elsie Wisdom and Barbara Marshall, and won the 11/2-litre class in the very tough 1949 Alpine Trial with a works TC MG.

Betty Haig drove her HRG to a class-win in a Swiss hill-climb, changed to a Healey-Silverstone, raced a Cooper-JAP and a vee-twin Cooper 1000, drove the highest placed foreign car, a Triumph TR2, in the 1952 San Remo Rally, raced her AC Ace at Goodwood and Brands Hatch, a Turner in Italy and took Ladies’ Cups at Prescott and Shelsley Walsh with a Lotus Eleven. Then there was a TT MG Magnette raced at Goodwood and Silverstone, gaining a Coupe de Vitesse with an Austin-Healey 100 inn later Paris-St Raphael Rally, and breaking the Ladies’ record at Prescott in a Lotus 23.

Her road cars included a number of Porsches and, driving to qualifying orders, she and Mme Simon finished halfway down the field, as intended, in a V12 Ferrari at Le Mans in 1951. This reflects Betty Haig’s great enthusiasm for cars of all kinds and how they played a major part in her life. I recall how she once enthralled her audience at a Club evening when, without prior warning or notes, she stood in for the absent guest-speaker. Her remarkable story has been told in these pages; which does not make the sad news of her death any easier to bear. WB