The strange chess career of Nicolas Preo

One of the major issues in regard to cheating in correspondence chess is players using strong chess engines and databases to help them work out their next move. While various organising bodies have created rules banning the use of such software, it is virtually impossible to police and prove that someone is using software to help them with their games.

Another form of cheating is for a player to assume a false identity to compete in a tournament. This occurred back in the late 1980’s in England, when a Leigh Strange entered and won the 1986 English Women’s correspondence chess championship. It was later discovered that “Leigh Strange” was in fact a promising young male junior named Nick Down, who received a two-year ban for his dishonesty.

And then there is the case of Nicolas Preo. Born in Russia on the 26th of March 1902, Preo spent some time studying in Harbin, Manchuria, emigrating to the United States in 1923. He took up correspondence chess in 1949 and won the Golden Knights tournament organised by the United States Chess Federation in 1952. Preo started to play internationally under the auspices of the International Correspondence Chess Federation in 1958. He was awarded the International Master title in 1967. He played with distinction on various American teams in international tournaments, and was the only player to feature in all four of the first North American invitational championships. Preo was still an active player in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, according to the ICCF rating database.

In 2002, ICCF tournament director Carlos Flores Gutierrez received news that Preo, a competitor in one of his tournaments, had died. Although it was unusual for a player to continue playing at Master strength into his nineties, this was not unprecedented; fellow American Walter Muir had an even longer career.

When Gutierrez announced Preo’s death, some awkward questions started to arise. Why did the local newspaper, the “Santa Cruz Sentinel”, report that Preo had died of a heart attack at age 72, when the CC world believed he was in his late-nineties? Why was he described as an accountant when all previous articles about Preo had talked about his long working career with the Owens Illinois Glass Company? Why was the second initial in the obituary “N”, and not “A”? Were there two different Nicolas Preos?

After some digging by CC officials, fellow players and family members, it was discovered that the obituary in the “Sentinel” was for Nicolas Preo, Jnr, – Preo’s son.

Preo Jnr was born on the 26th of April 1929, and had learned chess from his father, but he had always used the full surname “Preobrajensky”, which his father had shortened to “Preo”. His second name was “Nikolaevich (son of Nicolas), thus explaining the middle initial of “N” rather than “A”. Preo Jnr was an accountant with a degree in Business Administration of from the University of California in Berkeley. His other chief interest was singing, which he did with various local choirs and operatic societies.

Father and son shared a house in Santa Cruz along with daughter Vera, who was blind. Poor eyesight was feature of the Preo family, and it appears that from the early 1980’s onwards Preo Jnr started helping his father with the games that he was playing, due to his father’s eye issues. This was back in the era of ‘snail mail’ transmission of moves, when Preo Snr needed to write out his moves as well as the postal address of his opponent. Also the rules of CC allow players to consult opening books, so maybe Preo Snr was unable to read properly any of those books, and thus asked his son to help play though opening variations that he might play in his games. So at this point Preo Jnr was just helping with the clerical side of CC.

When Preo Snr died on the 9th of January 1988, aged 86, his son didn’t inform his opponents or the ICCF of his father’s death, but instead just continued playing the games. His opponents had no idea that they were now playing a game with a totally different person making the moves for the other side.

At the time of his death, Preo Snr was playing in one of the semi-finals of the 16th ICCF World Correspondence Chess Championship tournament . After two years of play, Preo Snr had scored 5.5/6 – a very good result for an 85 year old man. He then passed away. What should have happened is that opponents would have stopped receiving moves from Preo Snr, who would have repeated their move, and getting no reply, would have informed the tournament director or the ICCF directly. They would have determined that Preo Snr had died, and all of his uncompleted games would have been adjudicated, or all of his games could be annulled or all of his opponents would be awarded a win.

Preo Jnr now faced a dilemma – should he report his father’s death and begin competition under his own name, or should he just carry on? As mentioned earlier, he decided to carry on, By the time of his father’s death, the outstanding games had taken shape, and he thought that he was as good an analyst/player as his father. The semi-final dragged slowly on, and Preo Jnr dropped out of contention, losing five more games and winning three, to finish with a score of 8.5/14.

His next tournament was the Anglo-Pacific Tournament Championship, which began in August 1994. Preo Jnr only scored 6.5/14, maybe due to the fact that he had to start all his games from scratch without Preo Snr’s analysis. He entered several further tournaments, and had scored 1/5 in one of them when he died on the 9th of February 2002. His opponents thought that some of his behaviour a bit odd; he did not seem to understand the time limits for moves, which is something that his father would have been very familiar with. He also rarely resigned in hopeless positions, instead forcing his opponent to checkmate him, as well as writing “By Air Mail” on the cards that he used to transmit his moves, when this is usually printed on such cards. They obviously had no idea that they were playing Preo Jnr instead of Preo Snr.

Preo Jnr’s involvement with his father’s games was confirmed in two ways:

  1. The printed existing scores of Preo Snr’s games are written in the handwriting of Preo Jnr.
  2. The game scores are written in the now-abandoned descriptive notation, which was still widely used in the United States when Preo Jnr was learning how to play chess. In Russia, Preo Snr would have learned algebraic notation, and would have found descriptive notation confusing.

Analysis by CC player and author Tim Harding suggests that Preo Jnr started playing some of his father’s games in the early 1980’s. It appears that he lacked strategic knowledge, and was also prone to launching premature attacks. Yet if he could survive the opening and reach an unclear middle game, he became a wily tactician and could score victories against quite strong opponents – just like his father.

This blog post was based on Tim Harding’s article “The strange CC career of Nicholas Preo”,  in his book “The Write Move”, Chess Mail Ltd, Dublin, Ireland, 2005, pp. 142-149.

Christmas wishes

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of the followers of my blog a safe and peaceful Christmas, and hope that 2017 will be a good year for all of you.

I am humbled that there are 271 people who follow my blog – I had no idea that what I publish would be of interest to so many people. I also want to thank everyone who has taken the time to post a comment about the stories that I have posted.

I look forward to your contributions in 2017!

 

 

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Poperinghe execution cells and shooting post

One of the lesser-known facts of the First World War was that 320 men of the British and Imperial Forces  were executed between August 1914 and November 1918 – 308 for military offences such as desertion and cowardice, and 12 for murder. No Australians serving with the AIF never met this fate, although two Australians who were serving with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force were executed.

One of the major places where these executions were carried out was in the small Belgian town of Poperinghe, located seven miles due west of Ypres. 70 executions – 50 British and 20 French were executed in the area.

During the First World War Poperinghe was the centre of a large concentration of troops, and there were many camps in the countryside around it. There was generally at least one Division billeted in the town, and it was described in a very early battlefield guide as “a [wartime] centre for recreation, for shopping and for rest”. The population before the War was about 12,000, but in 1917 there were as many as 250,000 soldiers billeted in the area. The imposing Town Hall, built in 1911, can be found on the main square. It was used as a Divisional Headquarters during the War.

Within the town hall are execution cells where some of the British soldiers condemned to execution during the Great War were kept awaiting their fate – to be shot at dawn. There were originally four cells, which were used by the police here before the war. Two of these small rooms have been restored; one with a simple pallisade bed and a lavatory bucket.

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Exterior view of Poperinghe execution cell.

Although the exact number of men shot here at the Town Hall is unknown, there is firm evidence for five. There are photographs of some of those executed on the wall, part of an artwork located here. The two small rooms have small barred windows and are very dark, even on a bright sunny day.

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Interior of Poperinghe execution cell.

The cells have brick floors, and many people have left wreaths here. On the walls are graffiti, scratched into the surface, much of which dates back to the Great War. The cells were used to hold many men who were taken into custody for a number of reasons, such as drunkeness, as well as to hold some of those awaiting execution.

In the courtyard outside stands a very grim reminder of the Great War – the post to which at least one soldier was tied before he was executed.  The execution post stands next to a large silvered panel on which a few words from a Kipling poem (The Coward) are inscribed – including the words ‘blindfold and alone’.

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Poperinghe execution post.

The executions of British soldiers during the Great War is a subject on which emotions run high. There are many viewpoints; often today the men are seen as those who simply could not cope with the horrors of warfare and were victims. However amongst those executed were murderers, and also some who had deserted many times and been given many previous chances. It is also true that some of those executed were men who deserved another chance, or who perhaps should not have been at war at all. But it is easy to judge this by the standards of our own times and forget that this was a time when the country was quite literally fighting for its future, and even in peacetime at that period the laws and punishments seem harsh to us today.

The nearby Poperinghe New British Military Cemetery has the graves of 18 executed soldiers – more than any of the many other British military cemeteries that are located along the site of the Western Front.

The book “Guide to Australian Battlefields of the Western Front – 1916-1918” by John Laffin, Kangaroo Press, Sydney, 1999, p. 196 was used as the source for this blog post.

The “Timeless” Test match

In the southern summer of 1938/39, the England cricket team toured South Africa, to play five Test matches as well as games against various provincial teams.

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The England party that toured South Africa during the summer of 1938/39.

The 1st Test in Johannesburg in late December was drawn, as was the 2nd Test in Cape Town in late December-early January. England won the 3rd Test at Durban in late January by an innings and 13 runs, while the 4th Test in Johannesburg in late February was drawn, leaving England 1-0 up in the series with one Test left to play. As there was a chance of South Africa winning the 5th Test and drawing the series 1-1, it was decided that the match would not be restricted to five days play, and instead would be played to a result, thus becoming a ‘Timeless” match.

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The South African team for the “Timeless” Test at Durban in March 1939.

The match started at the Kingsmead Ground at Durban on Friday, the 3rd of March. South Africa won the coin toss, and decided to bat first. At the end of the first day, they were 229 runs for the loss of two wickets. Peter van der Bijl was 105 not out, taking nearly all day to score his century, which included a 45 minute session where he didn’t score a run at all.

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Peter van der Bijl plays a rare attacking shot during his century in the first South African innings.

William Pollock, a writer for the “Daily Express”, wasn’t impressed by South Africa’s slow play:

“The South Africans have got this timeless Test all wrong. Evidently they think that the big idea is to stay in as long as you can and score as slowly as you like. They have not though enough about it. The thing is to get as many runs as possible, preferably as soon as possible. Runs count, not how long the team batted…..There is no reason why England should not make 1,000 runs….Anyhow the boat still sails on March 17.” We will hear more about the boat later in this post.

Only 17 runs were added in the first hour on day 2, and then van der Bijl was dismissed for 125 , which took over 7 hours. The scoring increased when Dalton and Nourse were at the wicket, and South Africa finished the day at 432 runs for the loss of six wickets.

Sunday was a rest day, and there was rain, which freshened the pitch and made it still perfect for batting. South Africa were dismissed late on day 3 for 530, and England had scored 35 runs for the loss of one wicket when play ended early due to rain and poor light. Daily Mail correspondent and former South African player Bob Crisp though that England at this early stage had no chance of winning, writing:

“England are still holding out, but their fall is imminent. Even allowing for all the traditional uncertainties of cricket it seems impossible that they can extricate themselves from their difficult position.”

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Ground staff prepare the Kingsmead pitch prior to the start of play.

On day 4, scoring was especially slow, with England ending at 268 runs scored for the loss of seven wickets. The England innings finished early on Day 5 for 316, giving South Africa a lead of 214. As they were over 200 hundred runs in front, they could have asked England to follow-on and bat again, but due to there being no time restrictions, instead they decided to build their lead and tire the England players out by having them field. South Africa finished the day scoring 193 runs for the loss of three wickets. Amazingly, in a match where batting conditions were perfect, all three South African wickets fell when the score was 191.

 

On the sixth day, South Africa took their score to 481 all out. By this stage, fatigue had started to take its toll on the England team. Wicketkeeper Les Ames was replaced behind the stumps by Paul Gibb for the final session, so that he could have a break from having to concentrate on every ball bowled. England finished the day having scored no runs and lost no wickets after facing only one ball of their 2nd innings, and the 4th of the match. England needed to score the huge figure of 696 runs to win the game. In normal circumstances this would have been impossible, but the pitch had played perfectly for the whole of the match, and there was no time limit on how long England could take to score those runs.

England went about their task with determination. Paul Gibb played the “anchor” at one end, scoring 78, while Len Hutton (55) and Bill Edrich (107 not out) also scored well. Edrich had never scored more than 29 runs before in an innings for England, and his previous scores in the series had been 4, 10, 0 & 6 batting down the order. England captain Wally Hammond promoted him up the order, and the move paid off, with England scoring 253 runs for the loss of just one wicket.

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Bill Edrich cuts a delivery through the slips cordon during his innings of 219.

On the eighth day, the 11th of March, rain washed out the entire day’s play. There were now signs that the England party could be pressed for time. William Pollock’s article mentioned that the boat would be leaving on the 17th of March. This was the SS Athlone Castle, which would return the England team back home. It was a two-day train trip from Durban to Cape Town, so England would need to catch a train on the evening of the 14th of March in order to make it back to catch the boat. The three England players who had not been chosen for the match had already left for Cape Town. If the England party missed the boat, then they would have to wait a fortnight for the next boat to arrive.

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The Athlone Castle, which played an unexpected part in the conclusion of the match.

The next day was a scheduled rest day, with the match recommencing on Monday, the 13th of March. Edrich and Gibb took their partnership to 280 runs before Gibb was dismissed for 120, scored in 9 hours and over 5 separate days. Edrich continued on until he was dismissed for 219, and now there was a distinct possibility that England could pull off a remarkable victory. At the end of the ninth day, England had scored 496 runs for the loss of only three wickets, needing a further 200 runs to win.

Wally Hammond, 58 not out overnight, played atttractively in the morning session of the tenth day. South Africa’s attempts to slow the scoring were not working – Jack Gage in the “Daily Tribune” said that “it was like a small boy trying frantically to stop the water from gushing out of a tap after he had mischievously unscrewed by the washer.”

Eddie Paynter scored (75) before being dismissed with the score at 611. A couple of brief rain delays interrupted Hammond’s concentration, and he was dismissed for 140, with the score at 650 –only 47 more runs required to win. At the tea break, England were only 42 runs short of their target, when it rained again- except this time the rain was prolonged and didn’t stop.

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The Kingsmead scoreboard, showing how close England were to an improbable victory before the match was abandoned.

The South African Board of Control meet with the two captains (Hammond and Alan Melville) and issued the following statement:

“The South African Cricket Association Control Board, in consultation with the captains, agreed that the match should be abandoned, the Board recognising that the England party would otherwise not have the requisite number of hours in Cape Town before sailing home.”

So the match that was designed to produce a result ended up producing no result, being abandoned as a draw. England were incredibly disappointed to have been so close to an improbable victory, but were unable to win due to circumstances that were not considered a possibility prior to the match starting. This was the last “Timeless” Test match played – since World War 2 all Test matches have a time limit of five days play.

Here is the full scorecard of this extraordinary match:

timelesstest

The following books were used for this blog post:

Andrew Ward, “Cricket’s Strangest Matches – Extraordinary but true stories from 150 years of cricket”, Robson Books, London, 2000, pp. 126-129

Peter Hayter, “Great Tests Recalled”, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, 1990, pp. 56-75.

The goalpost Grand Final of 1967

Grand Finals of any code of football code in Australia usually provide suspense and excitement, but few of them could match the drama and chaos that occurred at the end of the 1967 Tasmanian State Championship game.

Despite being the smallest state in Australia with the smallest population, Tasmania has never had a truly statewide Australian rules football competition. This is due to the way that the population is spread – based on the State capital, Hobart in the south and on Launceston and other towns in the north. Thus there were three major football competitions – the Tasmanian Football League (TFL), based around Hobart, and two competitions based in the north of the state – the Northern Tasmanian Football Association (NTFA), based around Launceston,  and the North West Football Union (NTFU), based on the towns on Tasmania’s north coast.

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Map of Tasmania – the TFL based in the south, the NTFA in the north and the NTFU on the north-west coast.

To determine which team was the best in the state, a play-off between the premiers of each league was held at the end of the year. In 1967, it was the turn of the NWFU to host the final, so the NWFU premiers, the Wynyard Cats qualified directly for the championship game. In the Preliminary Final, TFL premiers North Hobart defeated NTFA premiers East Launceston to qualify as Wynyard’s opponents. The State Championship match was scheduled to be played at West Park Oval, home ground of the Burnie Dockers, on the 30th of September 1967.

With the aid of a strong breeze, North Hobart established a 19 point lead at quarter time – 3.8 (26) to 1.1 (7). Now kicking with the breeze in the second quarter, Wynyard dominated, and turned the 19 point deficit into a 20 point lead – 9.7 (61) to 5.11 (41).

Once again kicking with the breeze, it was North Hobart’s turn to dominate, and they had established a 14 point lead at three-quarter time – 11.17 (83) to 10.9 (69). 122 of the match total of 152 points had been kicked to the eastern end of the ground, but just prior to the start of the final quarter, the breeze died down, giving neither team an advantage. Wynyard scored two early goals to close the gap to a couple of points, and with only behinds being kicked from then on, Wynyard lead 13.14 (92) to 12.19 (91) with the final siren about to sound. The stage was now set for one of the most incredible and bizarre finishes to a major Grand Final in Australian football history.

After being awarded a free kick, North Hobart player-coach John Devine kicked into the goal square, where a mark was taken by North Hobart full-forward David Collins. Just after Collins took the mark, the final siren sounded, but as Collins had taken the mark prior to the siren, he was allowed to take his kick. Being only 10-20 yards from goal, and on a slight angle, it looked certain that Collins would kick the goal and win the match and the State Championship title for North Hobart.

But before Collins could take his kick, thousands of Wynyard supporters invaded the field, and to make sure that Collins couldn’t take his kick, proceeded to remove the goalposts. With the police unable to get the spectators off the ground, and with the goalposts no longer being in place, umpire Jack Pilgrim abandoned the game, and left the field. Collins stayed on the field, with the ball tucked under his jumper, for another ten minutes, in the vain hope that he would somehow be allowed to take his kick.

On Monday, the 2nd of October, the Standing Committee of the TFL met to decide on a course of action. A full replay was suggested – Wynyard agreed, but North Hobart said that a full replay would vindicate the actions of the Wynyard supporters who invaded the pitch. Another option discarded was for the match to be restarted at the point where it was abandoned, with Collins ready to kick for goal. Instead the TFL recommended that no replay should be held, and that the 1967 State Premiership title should not be awarded.

To this day, this is still the only major Grand Final of any football code in Australia that was abandoned and never replayed. Collins took the ball home with him. I believe a few years later he was invited back to West Park Oval to have his kick. He scored a goal, but unfortunately it had no bearing on the result (or non-result) of the game.

Here is a video showing the pitch invasion after Collin’s mark, as well as recollections from several players and umpires:

 

The source for this blog post was “The 3AW Book of Footy Records” by Graeme Atkinson and Michael Halon, Magistra Publishing, Melbourne, 1989, p. 10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The disappearance of Andrew Carnegie Whitfield

One of the more interesting examples of a person disappearing while in an aircraft is the case of Andrew Carnegie Whitfield over New York city in April 1938.

Whitfield was the nephew of the famous steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, and had graduated from Princeton University. He was working as a businessman, and had recently married Elizabeth Halsey.

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Andrew Carnegie Whitfield, who disappeared in the sky above New York City in 1938.

 

Whitfield was a keen pilot, and had logged over 200 hours of flying in his Taylor Cub monoplane. On the 17th of April, Whitfield departed in his small plane from Roosevelt Field on Long Island. He planned to land at an airfield at Brentwood, approximately 22 miles away. The weather was perfect for flying, and Whitfield’s plane had more than enough fuel for a flight that should have taken approximately fifteen minutes. Whitfield never arrived as scheduled and has never been heard from again. An extensive search for him and his plane produced no evidence as to his whereabouts. There were unconfirmed sightings of Whitfield after his disappearance. The most bizarre was in August 1939, at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Railway police said that an unkempt Whitfield, still wearing his flying suit, was seen in a freight car on the outskirts of town. Whitfield saw the police, grinned and held out a bundle of money, before the train disappeared down the tracks.

 

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Roosevelt Field, Long Island – the starting point of Andrew Whitfield’s final flight.

 

After Andrew had disappeared, it was discovered that he checked into a hotel in Garden City on Long Island under the alias Albert C. White on the day he vanished. He paid $4 in advance for the room and never checked out. His personal belongings, including his passport; clothing; cuff links engraved with his initials; two $6000 life insurance policies in his name listing his wife, Elizabeth Halsey Whitfield, as the beneficiary; and several stocks and bonds made out in Andrew’s and Elizabeth’s names; were left behind in the hotel room. Phone records also indicated that he called his home while his family was out looking for him, and a telephone operator says she heard him say over the phone, “Well, I am going to carry out my plan.”

Based on this alleged comment, police and other investigators believed that instead of travelling to Brentwood, Whitfield had turned the Cub over the Atlantic Ocean, and committed suicide by crashing the plane into the water. However, despite an extensive search, no wreckage was ever found. There was also no evidence that at the time of Whitfield’s disappearance that he was having any personal or business problems, which may have lead him to consider taking his own life. Whitfield was planning on moving to Pennsylvania with his new bride later in the year.

I think that based on the evidence found in the hotel room and the comment overhead by the telephone operator, that Whitfield had decided to take his own life. With the amount of fuel that the plane had, I think that Whitfield would have flown west until he was in a mountainous and inaccessible area, and then crashed the plane. There are several examples of planes which disappeared in remote and uninhabited parts of the United States – is Whitfield’s plane one of those?

The source for this blog post was Jay Robert Nash’s book “Among The Missing: An Anecdotal History of Missing Persons from 1800 to the Present”, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Maryland, USA, 1978, pp. 333-334.

 

 

A bizarre place to “park” a car…….

I have come across some unusual accidents and incidents through my reading of and watching motor racing events over many years, but one of the most unusual that I have ever come across was Major Peter Braid’s accident at the Blandford Army Camp in 1949.

Due to the rarity of purpose-built motor racing circuits in the UK in the late 1940’s, any venue that had sealed roads was pressed into service for racing, even if this was just a single airfield runway. The Blandford Army Camp in south-western Dorset was one of the better venues available, as its perimeter access road around the camp of just over 3 miles in length meant that a layout which was similar to purpose-built circuits could be used. The layout was fast and challenging, with competitors reaching over 100 mph on the two straights.

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The Blandford circuit layout.

 

After several motorcycle events were held from mid-1948 to April 1949, approval was granted by the Royal Automobile Club for the first car racing meeting to be held on the 27th of August. The meeting featured several sportscar races, as well as the new 500cc Formula 3, which were small rear-engined cars powered by motorcycle engines.

The events leading up to Braid’s accident occurred during the morning session of racing. During the third race for sportscars, Gordon Woods lost control of his Frazer Nash – BMW between Engineers Corner and Hood Corner. The car demolished a bus shelter, and Woods was thrown out of the cockpit, receiving critical head injuries from which he died in hospital later. In the current environment, the meeting would have been immediately stopped, but back then, the racing continued on. The demolished bus shelter was left in situ, and this would have a major impact on Braid’s accident.

Braid had only started racing in Formula 3 a couple of months previously, and had already achieved a win at Silverstone and a second place at Great Auclum. While leading the Formula 3 race in his Cooper Mk III powered by a J.A.P engine, Braid slid into the outer bank on the left side of the road. The car bounced back across the road to the other side, hitting the ruins of the bus shelter, previously destroyed in the Woods accident earlier in the day. This acted like a ramp, launching the Cooper over a fir tree and onto the roof of the Battalion Headquarters, located on the inside of the track.

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Baird’s Cooper on the roof of the Battalion Headquarters – other drivers said that it was disconcerting to see the car on the roof as they raced past!

 

The car appeared to be neatly parked the correct way up and facing the right direction, and remained there for the duration of the race. Braid survived with only some bruises to show for what must have been a terrifying ride.

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A closer view of the Cooper on the roof.

 

 

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A rear view of the Cooper, showing the relatively minor damage that the car suffered in what was a very spectacular accident.

The photos show what an amazing accident this was, and how lucky Braid was not to be killed. The Cooper could have so easily struck the pole located next to the Battalion Headquarters, or worse still, actually crashed into the side of the building. What is particularly intriguing is the relatively small amount of damage suffered by the Cooper – a dent on the front nose, a buckled wheel and a dislodged engine fairing. As well as the lack of damage, the way that the Cooper is sitting on top of the roof is unusual – it almost looks like the car has been gently placed on its wheels. I can only assume that the car had just enough speed to reach the roof after becoming airborne, and that the corrugated iron acted like a brake, immediately bringing the car to a stop.

Braid continued racing in Formula 3 until the end of 1952, when he retired. He died in the Barnes rail crash in London on the 2nd of December 1955.

Racing continued at Blandford, but their were several motorcycle facilities and one further car driver – Joe Fry, who lost control of his car when practising for a hillclimb on the 29th of July 1950.

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Joe Fry – the 2nd and last car racing fatality at Blandford.

 

This the final car event at Blandford, although motorcycle racing continued until the early 1960’s. The track still exists, although it is now impossible to drive a full lap, due to the installation of several steel fences across some of the corners.

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Cuckoo Corner as it appears now – far away from the sound of roaring engines and racing cars.