The late Richard Ormonde Shuttleworth

IT is with deep regret that we have to record that R. O. Shuttleworth became a victim of war last month. He was serving as a Pilot Officer in the R.A.F., and was killed in a flying accident, at the age of thirty-one. Shuttleworth was a very great motoring enthusiast. He achieved considerable racing successes with his 2-litre and 2.3-litre Bugattis and a 3-litre monoposto Alfa-Romeo. In his earlier days he got rather a reputation for wild driving, and there was the incident when his Bugatti rammed the pits in the Mannin Moor of 1933. However, Shuttleworth won the 1935 Donington G.P. with his Alfa-Romeo at 63.97 m.p.h. and the Brooklands Mountain Championship at 78.2 m.p.h. There is no doubt but that Shuttleworth was extremely highly strung. The writer has one vivid recollection of him at about this time, rushing excitedly about the shed he used to keep at Brooklands on last-minute jobs, talking at high tempo the whole time, and heaving round with him an immense suitcase, ere he departed in his beautifully kept "30/98" Vauxhall. But once in a car he concentrated on the job in hand, and was a very fine and tenacious driver. At the end of the 1935 season he took the Mountain Lap Record with the Alfa-Romeo, at 82.06 m.p.h., which still stands as a class record, and he lapped the outer circuit at over 120 m.p.h. with a Bugatti. In 1936, he had a bad crash with the Alfa-Romeo in the S. African G.P., in which he started on scratch with Wimille 's Bugatti. He suffered concussion and severe injuries, and announced his retirement from racing. He then concentrated on veteran cars and flying, and flew in several King's Cup races. It was again typical of the man that when he visited Brooklands, he used to land his little Comper Swift monoplane in the road right before his shed, and that on one occasion, when he developed influenza while staying at the Aero Club, he defied the doctor, rose from his bedroom in Butt's Lodge, got out his Comper, and flew to his home at Biggleswade. It was one of his Desoutters which Capt. Holmes got interned for a time in France, when he landed by mistake at a French military aerodrome on the way back from the French G.P. At his home at Old Warden Park, Shuttleworth established a private aerodrome from which full scale charter work was run. In the veteran car field he was a great enthusiast. Commencing in the first run of all in 1929 with an early Panhard, he built up a remarkable collection. He once found on arrival at Brooklands prior to a Veteran Run that the required compression taps for his 1903 de Dietrich were missing. Although he flew his Desoutter home to retrieve them and back again to Brooklands, he still arrived at the starting point on time. This car could do about 60-70 m.p.h. and was sometimes criticised because it had modern high-compression pistons, and a body which was only a replica of those of the Paris-Madrid period, which did not altogether please the purists. However, Shuttleworth later got together a really splendid collection of veterans in the best Veteran C.C. tradition, and was never averse to driving the slowest of them in the Club's competitions. When MOTOR SPORT visited his collection in October, 1934, it comprised an 1898 Benz , 1901 Wolseley, 1898 Mors, a Peugeot of uncertain age, a 1903 Richard-Brasier, a 1901 12 h.p. Panhard, an Arrol-Johnson dog-cart which Shuttleworth drove home from Dumfries, an 1894 Peugeot, an 1896 two-cylinder Daimler, the de Dietrich, which had lapped Brooklands at 58 m.p.h., and a 1911 Morris light car. Since then, he has competed with a Locomobile steam car, and very recently acquired a Singer tricycle. His modern cars included a "30/98" Vauxhall, a 3-litre Bentley, a 6½-litre Bentley, a Railton, two old Rolls-Royces, two Arrol-Asters, some old Morrises, some vans and three Jowetts. Shuttleworth was very fond of the last-named, and would often be seen chugging about Brooklands in an old two-seater Jowett when tired of fast stuff. His racing stable included 2-litre and 2.3-litre Bugattis, and later the Alfa-Romeo. His aeroplanes have included two Desoutters on taxi service, D.H. "Moth," A.B.C.-engined A.N.E.C., and the Comper Swift. Shuttleworth also restored about a dozen pre-1914 aircraft, exhibiting and even flying some at pageants and aircraft gatherings, as R. J. Nash did. Shuttleworth was a very wealthy young man indeed, but it is to his credit that he vented his enthusiasm for all aspects of motoring so thoroughly that his life was far fuller than those of many persons who have a living to earn. Actually, he had several business interests, and was Chairman of Railton Cars. In spite of his position, he is said to have led a quite simple life, often eating a humble supper in the kitchen before retiring to bed, after a long and tiring day amongst his beloved cars and aeroplanes. Moreover, he never lost his excitable, boyish enthusiasm, and from many aspects he was the motoring enthusiast par excellence. It was only natural he should join the R.A.F. That he met with a fatal accident is a tragedy, for we can ill afford to lose young men of Shuttleworth's stamp.