We regret to have to record the death, at the age of 75, of Lord de Clifford, OBE, the 26th Baron, last January, the funeral taking place at the end of the month. Lord de Clifford will be remembered for his enthusiasm for competition motoring before the war, and in particular for his frequent onslaughts on the Monte Carlo Rally, usually in big Lagonda cars, one of those using a Gardner diesel engine on one occasion, and frequently being highly placed. He will also he remembered for electing to be tried by his fellow Peers in 1935, following a charge of manslaughter (from which he was acquitted) after his Lagonda had collided with a chain-drive Fencer Nash and killed its driver, D. G. Hopkins, on the Kingston By-Pass.
Lord de Clifford was educated at Eton and studied engineering at London University. He served in the TA and with the RAOC and REME during WW2, reaching the rank of Colonel. He succeeded tribe title of Baron in 1909 and in 1926 married the daughter of Mrs. Kate Meyrick, the London night-club owner. The marriage was dissolved in 1937 and Lord de Clifford married fore second time. The heir is the Hon. John E. Southwell Russell.
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Another memorable link with MG cars has been severed by the death of Hubert N. Charles, the celebrated MG designer. Charles was working at Morris Motors at Cowley when Cecil Kimber persuaded him rode spare-time design work on the new MG models. Before mining Mon, Motors in 1924, having taken an Honours Degree in engineering, Charles had worked for the Royal Air Force. Zenith Carburetters, and he was in at the beginning of Automotive Products Limited. He then joined the MG Car Company at Abingdon-on-Thames and was very closely associated with the development stages of MG, from the 14/40s onwards.
As the MG Company prospered, Charles led the Design and Development Department and was very much related to the design and building of the successful MG record-breaking and racing cars, from the “Double-Twelve” Midgets onwards. The famous R-type all-independently-sprung MG Midget single-seater was his baby and he worked on supercharging for the Q-type MG alpine in conjunction with Michael McEvoy and Laurence Pomeroy. The learned papers Charles read before the IAE must have brought motor racing to the attention of other celebrated engineers. When Lord Nuffield took over the MG Company and banned its motor-racing activities Charles returned to Cowley. Towards the end of the war he joined the Austin design-team, being the instigator of the engine used in the Austin A40, the Company’s first new post-war car, which was also used to power successful MG models, such as the TF MG Midget. H. N. Charles was in his eighties when he died recently and he must have regretted British Leyland, decision to close the MG plant at Abingdon as much as any of us.
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Albert Ludgate who became Chief Engineer of Lea-Francis Limited after joining their drawing office in 1946 and held the position until he ’emigrated to Australia late in 1952, died of a stroke on January 30th a few weeks before the SAE of Australia had planned a tribute evening to him. After going to Australia Mr. Ludgate negotiated the special Lea-Francis engines successfully used for racing in the antipodes by Alfred Bearsley.—W.B.