We very deeply regret to report the following instances of motor-racing personnel deceased, killed in action or reported missing. Commando Rodney Seys was killed recently as a result of an accident – it is not clear whether as a result of enemy action or not. Seys, who was engaged to Anne Robertson-Rodger, was typical of the really keen, younger generation of enthusiast. He had owned Austin Seven, M.G., Talbot, Salmson, Lea-Francis and Bentley cars, and was especially fond of the ex-Le Mans and T.T. 4 1/2-litre Bentley 4-seater, which he owned up to the time of his death. Had he lived he would undoubtedly have played a big part in club competition motoring after the war. So spontaneous was his enthusiasm that he would call on any fellow member of the Bentley Drivers’ Club whose car he came upon and introduce himself; in spite of a busy military career he found time to write an article for us and many long news-letters full of infectious enthusiasm. It is very sad to feel that he escaped two nasty motoring accidents only to be killed away from his beloved cars.
Cecil Neve is reported missing on Active Service, the Whitley he was piloting on a Coastal Command patrol having failed to return. An ardent vintage enthusiast, both motor-cycle and car, he had, for the past six years, been enjoying excellent service from the 3-litre Bentley which the Birkins drove into third place in the 1927 Essex M.C. Six Hour Race at Brooklands, when all the other 3-litre Bentleys retired because their experimental duralumin rockers broke. This car he had restored to showroom condition and it must be one of the finest 3-litres in existence. Previous to that Neve owned a special short chassis Sixth Series Lancia “Lambda” – the car now owned by Boddy and still giving sound service – and his brother Kenneth recalls how, on a run from Sevenoaks to Cornwall, the Lancia had the legs of his “30/98” Vauxhall both on traffic-infested narrow roads and on the corners on the road over Dartmoor. It was this car which won a Vintage S.C.C. Buxton Trial. Earlier still, Neve gained a wide experience of vintage cars with a number of widely varying types, “30/98” Vauxhall, Frazer-Nash and 3-litre Sunbeam included.
R.C. Blake lost his life in one of the Southampton air raids. He will be remembered, with his brother, as owner of the 1903 Gordon Bennett Napier, one of the very earliest genuine racing cars still in existence, which he drove in a number of Veteran C.C. events, and with which S.F. Edge opened the Brooklands Campbell Circuit in 1937. He also owned other veteran cars, and about eight years ago the Blake brothers built and flew their own aeroplane. He was frequently abroad on gold mining business and made much use of air travel in this connection.
In Ireland, Stanley Martin, who used to drive a Bugatti so successfully at the Craigantlet hill climb, was killed as a result of a motor-cycle accident while riding to meet a group of enthusiasts for the purpose of tuning Lieut. Heywood’s ex-Seaman 2-litre Bugatti.
Aubrey Birks, well-known member of the Vintage S.C.C. and a veteran exponent with S.A.V.A. and Renault cars, is reported killed, in action we believe.
Flight Lieut. John Scafe is reported missing on Active Service. Scafe belongs to the younger generation of really knowledgeable and sincere enthusiasts and combined a charming personality with a fine character. Some years ago he contributed a series of articles to Speed, rather on the lines of the “Veteran Types” articles then appearing in Motor Sport, and these writings confirmed him as possessing an intimate knowledge of the older racing cars. He joined the R.A.F. some time ago and was recently promoted from Flying Officer to Flight Lieut. Last summer he bought Diana Cowell’s Meadows Frazer-Nash, over which he displayed immense enthusiasm, and more recently he acquired Heal’s o.h.c. Velocette motor-cycle. Tall, handsome and essentially alive, Scafe entered into all his motoring exploits with infectious, boyish enthusiasm. He completed his contribution to the “Evolution” series now being published in Motor Sport, and made the final corrections, some time before his failure to fly home. We devoutly hope that more reassuring news of him will have been received before this article is published.
“Bira’s” brother, Prince Chirasakti, has been killed flying with Air Transport Auxiliary.