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Cockfosters - July 1945


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#1 Odseybod

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 22:37

As threatened, here are my father's pics from the 1945 Cockfosters 'Grand Prix', held on the site of a future housing estate shortly after the cessation of WW2 hostilities (at least in Europe).

Apologies for the quality of the first half-dozen - my father was never happier than when having at least two cameras on the go, each with a different film format. So the first few pics were shot on roll film and have been scanned on a flatbed device - not ideal - whereas the last 8 were 35mm so could be fed into my dedicated film scanner.

Previous TNF threads on Cockfosters have done a lot of the spadework on the Cockfosters event, for which many thanks. So I wonder if it's fair to assume that this Bugatti is Louis Giron in the 2.3 llitre T55:

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And on the return run?

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This MAY be H. James in the Mercedes 38/250:

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Tony Crook in the Frazer Nash-BMW?

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A very blurry Issigonis Lightweight Special, I think:

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Your thoughts, please!

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Earl Howe opening the course in the T57S?

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Or is THIS Tony Crook in a Frazer Nash-BMW?

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Phew! Now we're on to 35mm - and Earl Howe?

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Obviously an ERA - but Bob Gerard or St John Horsfall?

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Le Mans Peugeot?

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I suspect John Bolster in Bloody Mary:

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The other ERA, which by a process of elimination means ...

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And finally, an airfield shot from the same film, which may have nothing to do with Cockfosters (except as a pit-stop en route?). Two Mk IV Blenheims and an Anson, I think:

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Feel free to amend and elucidate, as required.








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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 22:57

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"Pom" in the 1914 GP Mercedes, I think.

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Yes, Lightweight Special, but it could be Issigonis or Dowson. Both drove it.

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Aston Martin Atom

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Gerard in R14B

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Horsfall's car, but probably Rolt driving

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Not a Peugeot but an Indianapolis Ballot, I believe ...

And you're correct on Bloody Mary too.

#3 David McKinney

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 05:36

I was tucked up in my little bed when these two posts were made, but I can't disagree with anything said

The Aston Martin was driven by Gordon Sutherland, the company MD and co-designer of the car (with Claude Hill)

I presume the GP Mercedes was Peter Clark's?

#4 Graham Gauld

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 05:46

To help out with identification here is the entry list for Cockfosters taken from the programme. It is from my book on Bob Gerard as this was the first event in which Bob ran with one of his ERAs

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#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 05:54

Here's the earlier Cockfosters thread:

The Cockfosters Grand Prix

According to this Bonham's blurb the Bugatti used by Earl Howe at Cockfosters was a T57S Atalante Coupe, registration DYK 5:

http://www.autoweek..../free/902089986

so isn't the car in Tony's photos.

#6 Odseybod

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 06:22

Here's the earlier Cockfosters thread:

The Cockfosters Grand Prix

According to this Bonham's blurb the Bugatti used by Earl Howe at Cockfosters was a T57S Atalante Coupe, registration DYK 5:

http://www.autoweek..../free/902089986

so isn't the car in Tony's photos.


Thank you, all - please keep 'em coming.

Kicking myself about the Aston Martin Atom, I really should have got that.

According to the entry list kindly submitted by Graham, we seem to have a bonus Bugatti - I assume it's the one I mis-identified as the Earl's and that Giron is driving Mr Monkhouse's T51 - or have I got that upside down?

Thanks again.

Edited by Odseybod, 12 September 2012 - 06:34.


#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 09:07

A bit of googling suggests that this is probably Giron. AUL 23 is a T55, c/n 55223, and there are several pictures of it in the Bugatti Trust albums (google "AUL 23" + "Bugatti")

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I think these two are probably both the same car - the T51

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However, this is a third chassis. Can't read the registration, but I think it's either a T43 or T44

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#8 Dutchy

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 11:56

The ERA have been identified incorrectly I believe. The white one is Gerard's R4A and Jock Horsfall is in the darker one which is R5B 'Remus'



#9 David McKinney

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 14:55

Afraid I disagree, Dutchy :)

#10 Allan Lupton

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 15:29

Afraid I disagree, Dutchy :)

So do I: I think that R4A had the high track-rod which R5B did not.

#11 Graham Gauld

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 15:30

Afraid I disagree, Dutchy :)



David, I am not sure what you are disagreeing with but I can assure you the car Bob Gerard ran at Cockfosters was R4A because R14B was still being rebuilt and ran for the first time in June 1945. Honest Jimmy !

#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 17:00

Yes, my error in identifying the darker car as R14B. I was somewhat misled by the grille surround, which appears chromed in the style of R14B: R4A now has a painted grille. Had I examined the front suspension properly I'd have realised it wasn't R14B :blush: Added to which I actually knew Gerard had driven R4A at Cockfosters - it made for a nice pre-Naish House bit of exercise! But, like David, I should have been tucked up in bed by then ;)

The other one is indeed Remus - painted grey at the time, I believe?

#13 uechtel

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 17:12

Absolutely fantastic!

Tony Crook in the Frazer Nash-BMW?

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Well to me that number plate does not look like "EYW 3", which I think the car had already when it was in possession of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas. Also the funny thing is that it seems to have left hand steering! So either the picture might be mirrored or it may be the car of Gordon Claridge, which I think was also participating in the event. But I have never seen a photo of his car so I don´t know whether he had a "continental" model.


#14 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 17:22

ISTR a story about Aldy managing to "liberate" a 328 while serving in Germany and bringing it back to Britain? When was that?

#15 JtP1

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 17:26

bottom photo. Empty airfield, Blenhiem with no sqd markings, uncamoflauged Anson and hanger. Pre war photo?

Edited by JtP1, 12 September 2012 - 17:27.


#16 David McKinney

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 19:08

David, I am not sure what you are disagreeing with but I can assure you the car Bob Gerard ran at Cockfosters was R4A because R14B was still being rebuilt and ran for the first time in June 1945. Honest Jimmy !

My excuse is the same as Vitesse2's...

#17 uechtel

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 19:20

ISTR a story about Aldy managing to "liberate" a 328 while serving in Germany and bringing it back to Britain? When was that?


In brief, according to Simons´ BMW 328 book, the story is, that H.J. Aldington had owned #85003, the third works prototype, registration GMV 618. This was with slightly different bodywork than the later production models. With his car Aldibgton had suffered a crash at Hamburg in May 1939, after which the car was brought to the BMW factory at Munich for repair. Then war broke out before Aldington could bring the car home so it had to remain in Germany. Shortly after the war he came to Germany, must have been around June 1945 or so, to get the car. But then he discovered one of the surviving Mille Miglia roadsters at the BMW plant and decided to claim this one as his property instead and brought it back to Britain under #85003 paperwork. This meant, that the original #85003 remained in Germany until Aldington came back and managed to get this one back, too. For this Simons does not give a date but I think it is unlikely that it would be in time for the Cockfosters GP and anyway, the car is clearly not the one on the picture (right hand steering and a single full-width windscreen).

But remember, in his position as Frazer Nash manager, Aldington had received delivery of eight or so BMW 328 just immediately before the war which were retained by the British authorities just until the end of the war. So he could have driven one of them or of course also one of some earlier export cars, which had obviously also been property of the Aldington brothers before the war. But all of them still should have been with right-hand steering.

Edited by uechtel, 12 September 2012 - 19:21.


#18 Odseybod

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 20:35

bottom photo. Empty airfield, Blenhiem with no sqd markings, uncamoflauged Anson and hanger. Pre war photo?


It's not impossible! Though in the same packet as the Cockfosters 35mm negatives, this one's on Agfa film, whereas all the others are on Kodak. Amongst the roll-film negatives in the same packet, there are also two of a Blenheim on the ground and airborne, which unlike the Cockfosters negatives have no corresponding prints, again suggesting they might have sneaked in there from another packet (the cardboard box they were unearthed from is a bit of a hotch-potch). Unfortunately, my flatbed can't cope with scanning such negs, without introducing more scratches and blemishes than image.

That 'roll-film Blenheim' incidentally looks to have too short a nose for a Mk IV, so could indeed be a pre-war Mark 1 - and Imay have jumped to conclusions by dubbing the 35mm ones as Mk IVs, as the nose on the nearest looks little if any longer on closer inspection. I'm now rummaging through assorted sources to see if the Anson had an optional dorsal turret pre-war,as this one certainly has one. If not, may be a post-war selling off of surplus stock, hence the lack of squadron markings?

#19 Odseybod

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 20:42

...
Well to me that number plate does not look like "EYW 3", which I think the car had already when it was in possession of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas.
...


From the full-size scan, I think it's FOU 50 (but scanning a stipple-surface print is not the perfect recipe for clarity!).




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#20 uechtel

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 21:15

From the full-size scan, I think it's FOU 50 (but scanning a stipple-surface print is not the perfect recipe for clarity!).


Unfortunately I do not find anything similar in my records. But on a second look mybe that dark spot which I thought to be the driver may be something behind the car and it is indeed a right hand drive model? It´s very hard for me to recognize.

#21 JtP1

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 00:25

It's not impossible! Though in the same packet as the Cockfosters 35mm negatives, this one's on Agfa film, whereas all the others are on Kodak. Amongst the roll-film negatives in the same packet, there are also two of a Blenheim on the ground and airborne, which unlike the Cockfosters negatives have no corresponding prints, again suggesting they might have sneaked in there from another packet (the cardboard box they were unearthed from is a bit of a hotch-potch). Unfortunately, my flatbed can't cope with scanning such negs, without introducing more scratches and blemishes than image.

That 'roll-film Blenheim' incidentally looks to have too short a nose for a Mk IV, so could indeed be a pre-war Mark 1 - and Imay have jumped to conclusions by dubbing the 35mm ones as Mk IVs, as the nose on the nearest looks little if any longer on closer inspection. I'm now rummaging through assorted sources to see if the Anson had an optional dorsal turret pre-war,as this one certainly has one. If not, may be a post-war selling off of surplus stock, hence the lack of squadron markings?


Unfortunately the photo doesn't show great detail in my screen. All Blenhiems had the dorsal turret for all the good it did them. Highly unlikely to be a Mk1 in the late part of the war, they had all been shot down by then or probably used as target tugs and that Blenhiem doesn't look converted. The hanger doesn't look RAF std either.

Just noticed the 3rd aircraft behind the Blenhiem which is a camofladged Anson, hence the longer nose.

Edited by JtP1, 14 September 2012 - 00:28.


#22 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:31

As before, this is a fascinating thread. What really narks me though, is that I was a car crazy kid living about three miles away in High Barnet and I knew nothing about all of this!. ):

#23 Odseybod

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 10:51

Unfortunately the photo doesn't show great detail in my screen. All Blenhiems had the dorsal turret for all the good it did them. Highly unlikely to be a Mk1 in the late part of the war, they had all been shot down by then or probably used as target tugs and that Blenhiem doesn't look converted. The hanger doesn't look RAF std either.

Just noticed the 3rd aircraft behind the Blenhiem which is a camofladged Anson, hence the longer nose.


Thanks again for your input, much appreciated. My readings suggest that Ansons could be specified from the start as the military version with the dorsal turret, so no help there dating the silver (Coastal?) one. And I think the windy-windy undercarriage of the Mk 1 looked outwardly similar to the later hydraulic type.

Probably clutching at straws but doesn't the bit of motorcar in the foreground look more post-war than pre-?

#24 JtP1

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 16:46

Thanks again for your input, much appreciated. My readings suggest that Ansons could be specified from the start as the military version with the dorsal turret, so no help there dating the silver (Coastal?) one. And I think the windy-windy undercarriage of the Mk 1 looked outwardly similar to the later hydraulic type.

Probably clutching at straws but doesn't the bit of motorcar in the foreground look more post-war than pre-?



Ok found the reference book, I was looking for something else. Blenhiem has prewar markings, no coloured tail flashes. Most Mk1s apart from the 200 1F night fighters were not in home based sqds by the start of the war. Production of Mk1s had changed to Mk1Vs by the end of 38. A V Roe built early Blenhiems. So an A V Roe airfield or production facility prewar? Prewar Agfa film?

Occam's razor. :)

Edited by JtP1, 19 September 2012 - 16:48.


#25 Odseybod

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 10:06

Ok found the reference book, I was looking for something else. Blenhiem has prewar markings, no coloured tail flashes. Most Mk1s apart from the 200 1F night fighters were not in home based sqds by the start of the war. Production of Mk1s had changed to Mk1Vs by the end of 38. A V Roe built early Blenhiems. So an A V Roe airfield or production facility prewar? Prewar Agfa film?

Occam's razor. :)


A-ha, many thanks, superb bit of delving. My father's parents lived in Wilmslow before the war, so certainly not a million miles from (say) Woodford - wonder if their hangars would tally?






#26 oliver heal

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 18:32

Just to confirm that no. 24 was my father Anthony Heal driving the 1919 4.9 litre Indianapolis Ballot. His passenger was Len Gibbs who used to fettle the car.

Very interesting to see from the entry list that John Wyer was down to drive the 3 litre 1922 TT Sunbeam. Is there any indication that it actually ran on the day or was it a non-starter? I have not found anything to suggest that it was operational in that year.

#27 Odseybod

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 10:09

Just to confirm that no. 24 was my father Anthony Heal driving the 1919 4.9 litre Indianapolis Ballot. His passenger was Len Gibbs who used to fettle the car.

Very interesting to see from the entry list that John Wyer was down to drive the 3 litre 1922 TT Sunbeam. Is there any indication that it actually ran on the day or was it a non-starter? I have not found anything to suggest that it was operational in that year.


Thank you Oliver - 'duly noted'.

#28 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 19:12

...it may be the car of Gordon Claridge, which I think was also participating in the event. But I have never seen a photo of his car so I don´t know whether he had a "continental" model.

"Claridge next came round in a left-hand-drive 328 BMW, with very noisy exhaust."

Very interesting to see from the entry list that John Wyer was down to drive the 3 litre 1922 TT Sunbeam. Is there any indication that it actually ran on the day or was it a non-starter? I have not found anything to suggest that it was operational in that year.

"Heal's 1921 Sunbeam was absent ..."

Motor Sport, August 1945, p155

#29 bradbury west

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 23:03

I have remembered that there is quite a comprehensive report of this event in Rivers Fletcher's "More Motor Racing" along with some good photographs, incl one of the lovely Lagonda aero-coupe, - very Poulin/Embiricos Bentley in style- so will check in the morning for details. Certainly ISTRl there is stuff about Gerard's ERAs all being in bits.
Roger Lund

#30 uechtel

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:05

"Claridge next came round in a left-hand-drive 328 BMW, with very noisy exhaust."

Motor Sport, August 1945, p155


:up:

#31 Dutchy

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 17:55

So do I: I think that R4A had the high track-rod which R5B did not.


I've just dug out my copy of Rivers- Fletcher's "More Motor Racing" and it very clearly shows a picture of Gerard in R4A at Cockfosters painted white with a Gerard sloping radiator grille and no. 22 above the front dumb irons. There is also a photo of Tony Rolt in Remus at the same event and in a much darker colour.
I believe I am correct in my original assertion.

Edited by Dutchy, 13 December 2012 - 14:34.


#32 David McKinney

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 18:36

I'm not saying you're wrong, dutchy, but David Weguelin's ERA bible has Gerard in R4A at Cockfosters and Rolt and Horsfall in R5B

But no photos...

#33 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 19:30

I'm not saying you're wrong, dutchy, but David Weguelin's ERA bible has Gerard in R4A at Cockfosters and Rolt and Horsfall in R5B

... and Rolt and Horsfall had been joint owners of R5B in 1939. I believe Rolt eventually sold the car outright to Horsfall after he was offered the second works ERA drive post-Mays - which of course never materialised, despite several provisional entries being made in his name. Gerard also ran R4A at Naish.

#34 Geoff E

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:46

From the full-size scan, I think it's FOU 50 (but scanning a stipple-surface print is not the perfect recipe for clarity!).


The number FOU 50 was issued in 1947 (Hampshire).


#35 Dutchy

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 14:34

I'm not saying you're wrong, dutchy, but David Weguelin's ERA bible has Gerard in R4A at Cockfosters and Rolt and Horsfall in R5B

But no photos...


We are in agreement then :)


#36 RTH

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 07:42

Fascinating talk last night over 4 hrs by Jeremy Rivers-Fletcher in Wheathampstead to members of the Herts County Auto & Aero club and he related the tale of how his father was the prime organiser of this event in Cockfosters.
Well worth catching one of his talks if you get the chance . Rivers Fletcher was PR man for BRM in the 50s had something like 30 racing cars over time himself in a 60 year span , he seemed to be well known by just about everyone in the sport. A good evening.

#37 david5

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 11:17

bottom photo. Empty airfield, Blenhiem with no sqd markings, uncamoflauged Anson and hanger. Pre war photo?

 

Could it be a Beaufighter ? The glass on the top looks to be an observation blister rather than a turret, just a thought.