Christopher Jennings, MBE
Lt.-Col. Christopher Jennings died recently at the age of 71. He was the Editor of The Motor from 1946 to 1960, and came to that journal with long experience of the Motor Industry, having been with Riley (Coventry) Ltd. from 1931, before becoming Midlands Editor of The Motor by 1937. The war interfered with Jennings’ journalistic career, and he served instead with REME in the Western Desert, Greece, Syria and in northern Europe, returning to “civvy street” with the military rank of Lt.-Colonel. He was High Sheriff of Carmarthenshire in 1957 and was made Deputy Lieutenant in 1960.
Jennings had always liked the competition side of motoring, and in 1937 married the boyishly attractive Miss Margaret Allen, who drove fearlessly at Brooklands in the 6 ½-litre Marker-Bentley and also went very fast indeed in a single-seater Frazer Nash. After the war was over Jennings became a Director of several important companies, including Trust Houses, for whom he had the LSR plaque erected on the wall of the Beach Hotel at Pendine. Motoring and sailing were among his relaxations, and this gentleman of outwardly somewhat forbidding demeanour and military bearing lived at Kidwelly, in Wales, where he had built a fine new house adjacent to the crumbling family mansion.
Jennings’ friends were assured of a friendly, cheerful welcome there and one of his ploys was to invite his dinner-guests to the lakeside after dusk and get them to try to berth his model paddle-steamer correctly, using only the navigation lights and colour signals which full-scale paddle-steamer Captains relied on. (This model boat was some six feet long and I used to marvel at how Jennings managed to keep on their sprockets the Meccano chains driving the various bilge pumps, feed-pumps, etc.)
Apart from associations with real paddle-steamers, Jennings used to roll his drive with his own steam-roller, and he was keen on sailing. His work in Wales for the National Trust is also well known. But it was his memories of Brooklands and pre-war competition motoring in general and his knowledge of Rileys and so many personalities in the Industry that appealed to those in our world. — W.B.
A GALLANT fight against impossible ill-health ended on June 29th when Paul Courtney died in Bourton-on-the Water Cottage Hospital. Paul was 68. His father, who had 6 ½-litre and 8-litre Bentleys, gave Paul an Aston Martin International for his 21st birthday when he was at Queens College, Cambridge. He used this car in competition, until he sold trio buy the only offset-single-seater Amilcar Six in this country, from Vernon Balls. He campaigned this ex-Widengren car at Booklands and other pre-war venues, with success. He also ran a 3-litre Bentley.
During the last war whilst a Captain in the Army, he contracted diabetes and two years ago, in declining health, he suffered the amputation of both legs. Paul Courtney want gentleman and a sportsman and still took the greatest interest in motorsport right up to the end, attending Brooklands Re-Unions, Silverstone and Prescott regularly, until his deteriorating health prevented such pursuits. He was a stern critic, but generous to a fault. He leaves a widow, Isabel, to whom he was devoted, and two daughters and a stepson, to whom we send our deepest sympathy.