Air-Commodore Rodwell Banks, CB, OBE.
We regret to have to report the death, at the age of 87, of Air-Commodore Rodwell Banks, who as one of 13 children progressed from learning his engineering skills in his father’s machine shop to become Director General of Engine Production at the Ministry of Aircraft Production, under Lord Beaverbrook, during the war.
From our standpoint Rodwell Banks is best remembered as the fuel-expert who prescribed the complex brews that suited the Rolls-Royce R-type racing aero- engine so well that this country was able to win the Schneider Trophy seaplane races of 1929 and 1931. This specialist knowledge of racing fuels gained while he was employed by the Anglo-American Oil Company and the Ethyl Gasolene Corporation, having previously worked for Peter Hooker Ltd who made racing engines for Parry Thomas, was invaluable for improving racing engines of all kinds.
A love of fast motor boats from the age of 13 took Banks into the Royal Navy in WWI, when he flew Short seaplanes, once shooting down an enemy Rumpler, and he took his wings with the RAF in 1940. His close associations with Rolls-Royce and the R-REC are well-known. WB.
As we close for Press we learn with great sadness that Dick Batho, that enthusiastic VSCC and Riley Register member, died on September 7th at the wheel of his Amilcar I Riley. Dick was a very good farmer until the foot-and-mouth epidemic of 1969 decided him to give up and concentrate on his vintage-car interest.
The death of this exceptional person leaves a gap in that world that cannot be filled. Nev and Barbara Farquhar were with him when the accident happened, near Lake Vwynay, no other vehicles being involved. WB.
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