The King's Cup and the prince's pilot

On July 8-9, 1932 the important King’s Cup Handicap Aeroplane Race was based at Brooklands. Compared to the 1930 King’s Cup which had over 100 entrants the new rules brought in for 1931, stipulating a 110mph lowest handicap speed and amateur status only, reduced the entry to 42 starters. For 1932, however, the ban on professionals was lifted once more, though entrants had to have 100 solo hours on their logs.

Starting at Brooklands, the event made a circuit of England which included Northampton, Ipswich, Desford, Woodford, Hooton Park, Birmingham, Whitchurch, Portsmouth, Shoreham, Abingdon and back to Brooklands – a distance of 1223 miles over a two-day period. The winner was Walter Hope flying a De Havilland Fox Moth at 124.24mph, this being his third King’s Cup win. Flight Lieutenant Edward Fielden, the Prince of Wales’ personal pilot, came in second at 156mph in a Comper Swift, entered by the Prince. Third place went to W L Runciman in a DH80A Puss Moth at 130mph, but the fastest speed was set by H A Brown in an Avro 627 Mailplane at 176mph. Fielden also that year set the fastest time in the same aircraft in the London to Newcastle race, which also started from Brooklands.

In the same year a new Brooklands Aviation Clubhouse was built to the designs of Graham Dawbarn. The ultra-modern concrete structure contained a control tower, restaurant, lounges, showers and offi ces, of which I had one for a very short time until O V Holmes, who owned the Brooklands Track and Air magazine for whom I then worked, could no longer afford the rent, so moved me to one of the wartime buildings. The successful flying school moved into a new larger hangar directly behind the new Clubhouse and the winter dances were transferred from the Paddock building to this new Clubhouse.