Brooklands’ war centenary hits the mark

BROOKLANDS reflected on the emotional centenary of Britain joining the Great War with a gathering of vintage vehicles from the time.

Special guest on Sunday was Prince Michael of Kent, who was taken aback by the pristine condition of cars and planes abundantly supplied by the museum and around two thousand guests, many going a step further toroll up in 1914 attire.

ROYAL VISIT – Prince Michael of Kent with Rae and John Kennedy, Tracy Curtis-Taylor, and Chairman of Brooklands Museum Trustees, Lord David Trefgarne

ROYAL VISIT – Prince Michael of Kent with Rae and John Kennedy, Tracy Curtis-Taylor, and Chairman of Brooklands Museum Trustees, Lord David Trefgarne

The Great War Display Team had heads turned skywards, and there was also a cavalcade of the cars that took part in the Great War Centenary Parade in London the next day.

Also in attendance were organiser of the London parade, Nick Pellett, and Tracy Curtis Taylor, who recently recreated Lady Mary Heath’s 1920s flight by travelling 8,000 miles over three months in an open cockpit plane from Cape Town to Goodwood.

Of course, Brooklands’ part in the war carries huge significance. During the conflict, the aircraft factories based at the racing circuit increased output dramatically to supply the growing demand from military contracts.

Women increasingly replaced men in the factories who had been called away for war, while the first true Vickers fighter to go into production at Brooklands – the Gunbus – was the first aircraft specifically designed to mount a machine gun.

This was followed by the twin-engined Vimy, a long range bomber. Vickers supplied the RAF with most of the aircraft which went on to gain superiority over the Western Front.

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