Jump to content


Photo

John Cobb 60th anniversary


  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 Pullman99

Pullman99
  • Member

  • 747 posts
  • Joined: January 09

Posted 27 June 2012 - 07:21

A reminder for the folks on TNF who follow record breaking matters that Saturday 29th September this year will be the 60th anniversary of John Cobb's fatal accident with Crusader at Loch Ness in 1952. He became the first to exceed 400mph on land - in 1947 with the Railton-Mobil-Special at Bonneville - and also the first to exceed 200mph on water as he had recorded a speed of over 206mph on his first run prior to the accident.

Not sure if any special event is planned to mark this anniversary. The link below gives more details about John Cobb and the memorial at Drumnadrochit.

It's a year of 60th anniversaries - first flight of the Avro Vulcan; Lotus; Ferrari's first World Championship; and...The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

John Cobb and Loch Ness

Edited by Pullman99, 21 August 2012 - 12:12.


Advertisement

#2 Lola5000

Lola5000
  • Member

  • 1,178 posts
  • Joined: August 08

Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:06

When i was a child a hero to me,his life is a very good read.

#3 john winfield

john winfield
  • Member

  • 1,046 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:41

When recently collecting together a batch of John Cobb articles, I belatedly realised what an impressive figure he is in British motor sport history.
As a child in the 1960s I had read a little about him, and in the early 1970s my brother and I visited the memorial during a holiday in Scotland. There was nobody about, Loch Ness was very still, and there was a peaceful eeriness surrounding the simple, impressive memorial. We became aware of a faint wailing from further down the lochside, and the occasional flash of movement and colour. A few seconds later a bright yellow Ferrari Dino 246 came swooping past, way over the limit, heading off towards Drumnadrochit. It may not have been as quick as Crusader but it still looked and sounded mighty impressive, and it took a while for silence to return. Perhaps Mr. Cobb would have approved.

Edited by john winfield, 27 June 2012 - 09:42.


#4 Catalina Park

Catalina Park
  • Member

  • 5,730 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:52

Two years ago I stood at the memorial at Loch Ness to pay my respects.
What an incredibly brave man he must have been.

#5 Lola5000

Lola5000
  • Member

  • 1,178 posts
  • Joined: August 08

Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:14

Two years ago I stood at the memorial at Loch Ness to pay my respects.
What an incredibly brave man he must have been.

. :up:

#6 Rob29

Rob29
  • Member

  • 3,118 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 27 June 2012 - 16:31

I remember reading of this sad event at the time-was before we had TV.What I had forgotten was that it was on my 10th birthday-so wil be 70 on this 60th anniversary

#7 f1steveuk

f1steveuk
  • Member

  • 3,199 posts
  • Joined: June 04

Posted 27 June 2012 - 17:03


I have been immersed (no pun intended) with all things Cobb, Crusader and Railton for the last two years, working with Railton's daughter on a biography of her father, although I am only covering the last, ill fated attempt.

Is is staggering the regard he was held in around Loch Ness, before, during, and after the attempt with Crusader, and by those who both knew and competed against him. I can only concur from what I have been privy to see so far, Cobb was one hell of a man.

I had heard that the BBC were filming something, but after their initial inquiry, I never heard another thing from them, but I hope they still went ahead.

#8 Charlieman

Charlieman
  • Member

  • 247 posts
  • Joined: October 09

Posted 27 June 2012 - 18:44

Seventy odd years after it closed, it is hard for many of us to understand Brooklands. It was very English, somewhat exclusive, but catered for anyone (who fitted in) who wished to race. It was largely a wealthy amateur scene with professional outfits turning out for the long distance or prestige races. My apologies if my perception of Brooklands appears to be dismissive or oversimplified.

On top of that, there were real adventurers at Brooklands -- on the track, in the air, in the sheds creating new craft. That is where I place John Cobb -- a fairly wealthy amateur who wanted to do difficult things and assembled crews to make it happen. His achievements took more than bravery and ambition which makes him a remarkable 20th century man.



#9 RogerFrench

RogerFrench
  • Member

  • 396 posts
  • Joined: February 08

Posted 27 June 2012 - 19:08

I remember reading of this sad event at the time-was before we had TV.What I had forgotten was that it was on my 10th birthday-so wil be 70 on this 60th anniversary


I read it on my 11th birthday, the day after it happened. I was at boarding school, and the mail and the newspapers were laid out on a large windowsill. I was looking for birthday cards and the like and saw the headline on the front page - but I cannot remember which paper - the Express maybe?


#10 Allan Lupton

Allan Lupton
  • Member

  • 3,058 posts
  • Joined: March 06

Posted 28 June 2012 - 19:55

There was a boy at school, a year or so younger that I, called Stephen Cobb, and it was only when we heard of John Cobb's death that we found they were related. Had we known earlier I like to think we might have found a way of getting Stephen to get JC to give the school a talk on his exploits.

#11 Pullman99

Pullman99
  • Member

  • 747 posts
  • Joined: January 09

Posted 21 August 2012 - 12:23

I believe that the BBC have been making a documentary to coincide with the 60th anniversary of John Cobb's death on 29th September this year. Does anyone have any further information?

#12 f1steveuk

f1steveuk
  • Member

  • 3,199 posts
  • Joined: June 04

Posted 21 August 2012 - 14:57

Hi Ian, both Sally Joslin (nee Railton) and myself were told this may be happening, but even when Sally contacted them directly, she was told it wasn't going to be done. I for one would be very disappointed if they have gone ahead, ignoring some very special contributors.

#13 Bob Riebe

Bob Riebe
  • Member

  • 1,678 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 21 August 2012 - 20:03

Cobb's record run is the first automotive event I ever read about when I found one of my Dad's car magazines in the garage as a very young child (I read well at an early age).

That is the event in both manner's that got me interested in automobiles.
The picture in the magazine is locked in my mind.
Sadly he died 27 days before I was born.

Edited by Bob Riebe, 21 August 2012 - 20:07.


#14 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,363 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 23 August 2012 - 23:21

73 years ago today, John Cobb, at the wheel of Railton Red Lion, became the first man to officially exceed the speed of six miles a minute on land when he set a new Land Speed Record, recording an average of 369.74 mph (595.04 km/h) over the kilometre and 367.91 mph (592.09 km/h) over the mile. He just missed the less important (to him) target of 600 km/h, although on both the outward and return runs his speed was estimated to have peaked at 375 mph or about 603 km/h. Two days earlier he had recorded a one-way speed of 369.23mph (594.22 km/h) but had been unable to start his return run within the allotted hour.

To put that in perspective - in the time it took you to read that paragraph, Cobb would have travelled about 20 miles!

#15 T54

T54
  • Member

  • 2,479 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 24 August 2012 - 02:51

My John Cobb memorabilia:

1/ Child's toy of his Railton special, made in lead by Britains in 1939:

Posted Image

2/ My original painting by Frederic Gordon-Crosby of Cobb in the Brooklands Railton and Pat Driscoll in the tiny Austin:

Posted Image

I have a lot of respect for the man, always have in mind the photo of his car dancing on the banking at Brooklands at a speed few of us would dare trying in a modern car.



#16 David Lawson

David Lawson
  • Member

  • 872 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 24 August 2012 - 08:22

A very brave man

A friend of mine, Dave Jones is working on this scratchbuilt model Crusader in 1/43 scale

Posted Image

My homage to Cobb was my scratchbuilt 1/32 slot car I built about 5 years ago. As Phillipe has said it is hard to imagine the bravery of driving this beast at Brooklands

Posted Image

David

#17 taylov

taylov
  • Member

  • 604 posts
  • Joined: February 05

Posted 24 August 2012 - 15:35

Posted Image


This is the model of K6 produced by the great modeller Fred Harris in his "Replicast" range back in the 1980s. I also have his wonderful model of Sayres' "Slo-mo-shun IV". Alas, Fred Harris stopped work about a decade ago and passed his moulds to another modeller but I haven't seen any of the boats or kits for sale in recent years.

Tony

#18 taylov

taylov
  • Member

  • 604 posts
  • Joined: February 05

Posted 24 August 2012 - 16:20

http://www.britishpa...query/John Cobb

Pathe News footage of the early trials of "Crusader" in 1952. (NOTE This does not include accident footage)

Tony

#19 Paul Parker

Paul Parker
  • Member

  • 1,721 posts
  • Joined: October 02

Posted 24 August 2012 - 17:00

http://www.britishpa...query/John Cobb

Pathe News footage of the early trials of "Crusader" in 1952. (NOTE This does not include accident footage)

Tony


In fact there is another film showing the actual crash from a distance on the Pathe website page.

Unlike Donald Campbell's crash the Crusader seemed to nose dive into Loch Ness, period opinion suggested that Crusader hit the wake of something but does anybody on here have anything more definitive?

Advertisement

#20 taylov

taylov
  • Member

  • 604 posts
  • Joined: February 05

Posted 24 August 2012 - 17:16

Unlike Donald Campbell's crash the Crusader seemed to nose dive into Loch Ness, period opinion suggested that Crusader hit the wake of something but does anybody on here have anything more definitive?


It was claimed at the time that the front planing surface suffered a failure. Desmond in "Power Boat Speed" (1988) states that there was a known weakness in this prior to the fatal run.

Tony

#21 f1steveuk

f1steveuk
  • Member

  • 3,199 posts
  • Joined: June 04

Posted 25 August 2012 - 07:36

Posted Image

1/8th scale, scratch built model of the Napier Railton by John May. The bodywork is just as awesome!

As for why Crusader crashed, I am currently writing a full history, including a crash analysis for Railton's daughter, to be included in a biography of her father. Obviously I want to keep my powder dry, but the front shoe is the main culprit.

Tony, Fred (Harris) is still about, I am in touch with him regularly. He still "dabbles" with model making, and I have to agree, what he achieved, and how he achieved it was genius. Mach 1 Models have his moulds and masters, and still produce models that Fred started.

Edited by f1steveuk, 25 August 2012 - 07:41.


#22 Paul Parker

Paul Parker
  • Member

  • 1,721 posts
  • Joined: October 02

Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:38

Posted Image

1/8th scale, scratch built model of the Napier Railton by John May. The bodywork is just as awesome!

As for why Crusader crashed, I am currently writing a full history, including a crash analysis for Railton's daughter, to be included in a biography of her father. Obviously I want to keep my powder dry, but the front shoe is the main culprit.

Tony, Fred (Harris) is still about, I am in touch with him regularly. He still "dabbles" with model making, and I have to agree, what he achieved, and how he achieved it was genius. Mach 1 Models have his moulds and masters, and still produce models that Fred started.


Thank you taylov for your response and I very much look forward to your book f1steveuk.

Looking at the Pathe footage it struck me how incongruous the figure of John Cobb looked with his linen flying 'helmet' and goggles climbing into what resembled the middle section of a period jet plane. Indeed, and without meaning to be critical, he looks much older than his near 53 years and not at all like the person capable of such outstanding bravery, derring do and consummate skill.

Different times and different people.

#23 taylov

taylov
  • Member

  • 604 posts
  • Joined: February 05

Posted 25 August 2012 - 12:41

Thank you taylov for your response and I very much look forward to your book f1steveuk.

Looking at the Pathe footage it struck me how incongruous the figure of John Cobb looked with his linen flying 'helmet' and goggles climbing into what resembled the middle section of a period jet plane. Indeed, and without meaning to be critical, he looks much older than his near 53 years and not at all like the person capable of such outstanding bravery, derring do and consummate skill.

Different times and different people.



This photo (source unknown - from a 1940s magazine, I think) shows just how safety was almost non-existant in Cobb's LSR car, too

No roll bars, no crash helmet, no protection, even in a low speed crash. Still, he came from a generation in which many of his school pals would have been slaughtered in the Great War, which greatly affected attitudes to risk.

Tony

Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us



#24 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,408 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 25 August 2012 - 13:29

John Cobb was absolutely one of my earliest heroes through the late-'40s/ early-'50s. I later found he was one of Cyril Posthumus's, Bill Boddy's and Denis Jenkinson's too. I have never, ever, heard anybody I had cause to respect have a bad word to say about him. Come to that, I have never heard anybody have a bad word to say about him, full stop. Even now I must say I find the film of Crusader's final dive most affecting...

The late Andrew Whyte - the great Jaguar authority and press officer - recalled meeting Cobb at Loch Ness's Temple Pier beside 'Crusader'. Andrew's Dad was manager of the Caledonian Canal at Inverness. His Mum was Constance Whyte who wrote the first proper book covering the Loch Ness Monster phenomenon. I think the book was entitled 'More than a Legend'.

Andrew told me he recalled being introduced to Cobb, who struck him as a huge, silent figure, forbidding simply by reason of his height and bulk and beetle brows, until the introduction was made. Then Cobb beamed, bent down and shook the schoolboy by the hand, and spent much time showing him the boat. According to Andrew he absolutely radiated calm, friendly, assurance. And he also recalled the friendly mutual respect with which the entire team around Cobb operated there. But within a few days the great man was gone. At least he was recovered immediately from the Loch...and his wife, family and friends were not left with the gnawing unknowingness of Donald Campbell's people...

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 25 August 2012 - 13:37.


#25 f1steveuk

f1steveuk
  • Member

  • 3,199 posts
  • Joined: June 04

Posted 25 August 2012 - 18:26

Cobb certainly didn't look his age, but then look at Segrave at his final attempt, 33 and looking much older, and for that matter Donald Campbell looked far older and more haggered than his 45 years!

Having read an awful lot of Cobb's correspondence with Railton leading up to that September, there is an awful sense of dread. Not premonition, but definitely that there was a distinct possibility that the attempt may not end well, and not once did Cobb deviate or falter.

I met Vicky Cobb once, a glorious woman, who stated quite bluntly, that although once quite meek and shy, her life with Cobb had taught her strength of character, application and determination, her husband had nothing but a positive effect on those that he met, especially children, who he seemed to have a special affinity with.



#26 Pullman99

Pullman99
  • Member

  • 747 posts
  • Joined: January 09

Posted 29 September 2012 - 07:21

Today, 29th September 2012, is the 60th anniversary of the death of John Cobb at Loch Ness in 1952. His initial run with Crusader that day resulted in a recorded speed of 206.89mph thus making Cobb the first person to set a speed in excess of 200mph on water. Sadly, on his return run, it is believed that a major structural weakness in the design of Crusader's forward planing shoe caused the craft to crash. A truly Great Briton who is remeberd by many today.

I understand that the Speed Record Club is holding a gathering at the Cobb Memorial at Drumnadrochit today so, hopefully, any Forum members present may be able to contribute a further post or two.

Edited by Pullman99, 29 September 2012 - 07:22.