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Kaye Don


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#1 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 10:43

Kaye Don's racing career seems to have come to a halt after his six month imprisonment having been found guilty of dangerous driving on the Isle of Man in 1934 when a crash killed his passenger. But what became of him after that? Did he try to get back into racing? What did he do during the war? In 1947 he did found the Ambassador Motorcycle Company which built Villiers-engined motorbikes, which was later sold to DMW in 1964, and he died on 29th August 1981 aged 90 in Chobham. I can find no details of his funeral either. :confused:

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#2 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 24 February 2008 - 23:08

No one? You all surprise me :(

#3 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 01:58

If he died in Chobham, then may be the local newspaper would be the place to look for an Obituary. All of the British newspapers are (or were) ay Colindale.

#4 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 08:22

Thanks Robin, I am waiting for an email reply from their local newspaper. I didn't understand your last sentence about Colindale.

#5 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 08:41

What he's referring to is the British Library at Colindale which should - in theory - have copies. But you have to go there, there's no facility for email enquiries.

#6 wdm

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 10:15

A December 1998 article in C&SC about Don's Bugatti T54 suggests that the prison sentence ended his racing career, although it states, "Many regarded his imprisonment as unfair and a celebration dinner was given by fellow racing drivers on his release."

There's no mention as to what he did in WW2 (by my calculation, he'd have been in his late 40s in 1939, so perhaps too old for active service?), but it says he, "experienced unsettling artillery flak over the trenches in his fragile WW1 biplane."

(Funnily enough, I intend to visit Colindale in a couple of weeks, so might get a chance to dig out the appropriate Chobham rag...)

#7 raoul leDuke

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 10:23

There is a bit about Kaye Don at the bottom of this page.....click here

I have emailed the writer to see if he has any information but as yet have not heard back.

#8 rbm

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 10:24

I always thought (read it somewhere) that the death of his riding mechanic was the reason for his retirement from racing rather than prison - Charlie Copper worked with him so I would think that my idea for this came from something about Cooper. (DCN's book??)

#9 f1steveuk

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 16:58

Both a friend of mine (Kevin Desmond) and myself had severe trouble trying to get Kaye Don (Donski) to reveal anyhting to us when we tried to interview him for various projects. The accident mebtioned, and the abject failure of the Silver Bullet land speed car had quite an affect on the man. I do have something on him, but it's at home and I amnot there until March 15th, when I will look.......

#10 Ivan Saxton

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 11:33

Is it correct that he once owned a J model Duesenberg for his personal transport? If so, does anyone have photos which might indicate body type and maker, et cetera. Ray Wolff told me in 1980 that of about 50 J's unidentified and untraceable, he believed most may have gone to Europe. I must confess that the J is not quite the sort of car I ever aspired to, and am very satisfied with ownership of an early A , but it would be nice if someone could help fill gaps in the records.
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#11 Mark Mason

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 04:48

Kaye Don raced in and won the Gold Cup Speedboat championship at Lake George New York in 1936. Don't know much more than that. I have the plans for that speedboat IMPSHI and have built a running reproduction.
I've recently gotten some information that he married an American woman and moved to the States near the beginning of WWII. I have a photo somewhere and maybe a wedding announcement. The woman looked quite a bit younger.
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#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 08:27

Originally posted by Mark Mason
Kaye Don raced in and won the Gold Cup Speedboat championship at Lake George New York in 1936. Don't know much more than that. I have the plans for that speedboat IMPSHI and have built a running reproduction.

Actual date appears to have been July 25th: a brief report (sourced to Reuters) in The Times of July 28th 1936 reveals that this may have been something of a hollow victory:

Lake George NJ, Jul 26. Left with nobody to compete against after half a mile, Kaye Don won the American Gold Cup, America's oldest motor-boat trophy, which was run over 90 miles here yesterday.



Difficult to know whether that means he'd run away from the rest within half a mile or whether they'd all retired!

Originally posted by Mark Mason
I've recently gotten some information that he married an American woman and moved to the States near the beginning of WWII. I have a photo somewhere and maybe a wedding announcement. The woman looked quite a bit younger.
Mark Mason

According to a birth announcement (The Times Nov 6th 1939) her maiden name was Eileen Martin.

#13 wdm

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 10:06

Originally posted by wdm

(Funnily enough, I intend to visit Colindale in a couple of weeks, so might get a chance to dig out the appropriate Chobham rag...) [/B]


Checked the Chobham and Windlesham News and Mail while at Colindale on Saturday, for the months around 29 Aug '81: to no avail, I'm afraid. :|

#14 275 GTB-4

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 10:55

Some quotes....

I also found photos of Kaye Don and John Cobb.
If you go to Altavista and do the 'image search', type in their names between brackets and you'll find them

and (re Birkit)

He bought the red "Blower" and for 1931 he also purchased a Maserati for Grand Prix events and an Alfa Romeo for sports car racing. He won the Irish Grand Prix in the Alfa and Le Mans in partnership with Earl Howe. In partnership with George Eyston he used the Maserati to take fourth place in the French Grand Prix.

He continued to race the red "Blower" in which on the 24th March 1932 he raised the Brooklands Outer Circuit lap record to 137.96 m.p.h., beating Kaye Don’s Sunbeam record by 3.8 seconds. This record stood for another two years before being beaten by John Cobb’s Napier Railton and the Blower Bentley remains the fourth fastest car around Brooklands, having also ultimately been beaten by Whitney Straight’s Duesenberg and Chris Staniland’s Multi-Union in latter years.

#15 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 07:18

wdm

Thanks for doing that research. The local newspaper also failed to reply to my email too.

Paul

#16 scheivlak

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 12:38

Originally posted by Vitesse2


Difficult to know whether that means he'd run away from the rest within half a mile or whether they'd all retired!

This Dutch newspaper article ("Kaye Don wint den Gold Cup" - middle of the page) mentions that seven competitors withdrew before the start and that the only other one soon retired, so the only thing he had to was finishing the race - which he did at the lowest winning speed since 1923.
http://kranten.kb.nl.....=Results page

That article gave me the clue to look further:
http://www.lesliefie...le_joy_ride.htm

#17 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 22:31

I posted a query on the Kent Family History E mail site, and have had one reply. This said: "There is a fairly short obituary in the "Times" of 2 September 1981, but it gives no details of the cause of death or the funeral. Nor does it mention his conviction for manslaughter" This from an Alan Foster.

I did a search on the Manchester Guardian on line archive, but it presently only goes up to 1975. There were 324 entries in response to my search. I quickly scanned them and they all seemed to be in the 1930's.

#18 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 16:35

Here is the Obituary from the Times on September 2, 1981:

Posted Image

This does not give any information about his trial or what he did after the war.

#19 AdamFerrington

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 14:41

Reviving another old thread....

 

Kay Don died on 29th August 1981, in St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey.

His death certificate gives his cause of death as Pulmonary Embolus.

 

Interestingly, the death certificate gives his date of birth as 10th April 1892

The informant was his widow, Valerie.

This agrees with the Oxford DNB.


Edited by AdamFerrington, 18 July 2021 - 14:45.


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#20 cooper997

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 04:29

At Brooklands in 1975 - from Dec 75 Thoroughbred & Classic Cars inside front cover (also with KD feature within this issue).

1975-T-CC-Dec-Kay-Don.jpg

 

 

Stephen


Edited by cooper997, 19 July 2021 - 07:18.


#21 sabrejet

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 05:35

Kaye Don enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps late in 1916, giving his date of birth as 10 April 1892; this may have been done to make him seem younger (when the general trend at this time was the reverse!), giving his age as 24 years rather than 25.

 

His first posting was to Cadet Wing at Denham on 28 December 1916 for ‘square bashing’, then to No.2 School of Military Aeronautics, Oxford on 2 March 1917 to begin the theory side of his pilot training.

 

His initial flight training began with one of the Hendon-based civilian flying schools on 5 April 1917 and he progressed from there, after his first solo, to 65 Reserve Squadron at Croydon on 25 May 1917 to begin Higher Training as an artillery pilot. He’d have flown the deHavilland DH.6 and RAF BE.2e at Croydon, as well as possibly the RE.8. He graduated on 21 July 1917 as a Second Lieutenant.

 

He was then posted to the BEF in France, marching-in to 16 Squadron there on 28 July 1917 and flying sorties in RE.8s, where he would have teamed up with an Observer.

 

His service career then goes:

Course at 1st Army School of Instruction, 6 to 8 August 1917 (back to 16 Sqn)

Engine Repair Shops on temporary duty, 10 to 13 December 1917

Attached to Royal Artillery 31 December 1917 to 4 January 1918 (most likely as liaison officer to the troops in the trenches that 16 Sqn was spotting for)

To HQ Flight 20 March 1918 (regular temporary duties by air to UK)

To British Mission, French GHQ 9 June 1918

14 General Hospital, Wimereux 18 December 1918 (influenza)

Sick leave following Medical Board 23 December 1918

Struck off strength of BEF whilst on sick leave, 13 January 1919

To 11 (Irish) Group for dispersal 14 February 1919; transferred to unemployed list 12 April 1919

 

To Bristol Flying School for re-qualifying course 12 May to 15 July 1924 (Bristol Primary trainer?) and engaged in the RAF Reserve.

 

A further 4-day refresher at Bristol (Bristol Fighter with Jupiter engine) 4 to 7 May 1925 and graded “good pilot – Category 1”. Then regular refreshers until his last in March 1927, always graded as “good pilot”. He relinquished his commission at the end of his service on 20 December 1927.

 

So he was one of those lucky enough to survive the awful 1918/1919 flu epidemic.



#22 Vitesse2

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 10:00

Kaye Don enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps late in 1916, giving his date of birth as 10 April 1892; this may have been done to make him seem younger (when the general trend at this time was the reverse!), giving his age as 24 years rather than 25.

My maternal grandfather fiddled his date of birth to be exactly four years younger when he enlisted in 1914! He was born in 1885 but his enlistment form for the Canadian Expeditionary Force says 1889. At the time the CEF were only taking volunteers aged under 26. It seems to have taken at least a couple of years before he got it corrected - possibly not until he was evacuated back to Blighty in 1916 after breaking his arm.



#23 sabrejet

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 11:11

My maternal grandfather fiddled his date of birth to be exactly four years younger when he enlisted in 1914! He was born in 1885 but his enlistment form for the Canadian Expeditionary Force says 1889. At the time the CEF were only taking volunteers aged under 26. It seems to have taken at least a couple of years before he got it corrected - possibly not until he was evacuated back to Blighty in 1916 after breaking his arm.

 

Band-leader and sometime ERA racer Billy Cotton forged his age too: he was actually 14 when he enlisted. He served at the Front before being discovered and sent back to Blighty. By that time he was only 18 months off being eligible again!



#24 AdamFerrington

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 16:31

Kaye Don enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps late in 1916, giving his date of birth as 10 April 1892; this may have been done to make him seem younger (when the general trend at this time was the reverse!), giving his age as 24 years rather than 25.

 

The reliable evidence now available indicates that Kaye Don's birth year was 1892, and not 1891 as shown on Wikipedia and some other 'net sources.

In which case the DOB which he stated upon his enrolment in the RFC would be correct, and not 'adjusted'..

 

BTW - many thanks for posting his service history - very interesting.



#25 cooper997

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Posted 16 August 2021 - 09:30

From the pages of November 1991 (Thoroughbred &) Classic Cars

 

1991-T-CC-Nov-TNF.jpg

 

 

Edit: Just for the record I circulated this page to some of the Melbourne-based Ballot enthusiasts, who then circulated it internationally. Back came the response that It is a 2LT, not 2LS model and from Ballot author, Daniel Cabart that it's still in the same family. If you have his book it's covered on page 465.

 

 

Stephen


Edited by cooper997, 17 August 2021 - 01:51.


#26 Odseybod

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Posted 16 August 2021 - 10:05

What an elegant motor car - very Dornford Yates!



#27 68targa

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Posted 16 August 2021 - 13:06

From the Ramsey Courier and Northern Advertiser - Friday 4 Dec 1934. He was released after ten weeks. 

 

Kaye-Don.jpg



#28 ensign14

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Posted 16 August 2021 - 14:31

Heh, that last paragraph would have seen him cancelled sine die...



#29 Vitesse2

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Posted 16 August 2021 - 15:00

Heh, that last paragraph would have seen him cancelled sine die...

General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett, VC, KCB, DSO would probably have had something to say about the pooh-pooh as well.