The Campbells are coming - at speed!
© Getty Images
Father and son in Bluebird's cockpit, January 1933
Donald Campbell's Masonic apron pouch
© Library & Museum of Freemasonry
Sir Malcolm Campbell and his son Donald will forever be
venerated as world famous speed record holders. They shared
those characteristics manifest in all men of greatness, a sense
of courage and perseverance. They followed each other
in the success of their respective careers and were both
Malcolm Campbell was born at Chislehurst, Kent on 11
March 1885 to William Campbell and Hazel Castley, a meek
mother and an authoritarian and strict father.
His ancestry can be traced back many generations to a
Scottish Highland family of long-standing military traditions
in Argyll, which may well have influenced his exceptional
personality and resolute character.
From a young age Malcolm became fascinated by engines
and the railway and more especially the underlying forces that
drove the machinery. His schooling was not of particular note
except for sport and the later connection to Freemasonry.
At the age of eleven, at Guildford Preparatory School,
he read King Solomon’s Mines by Rider Haggard. It installed
in him that sense of adventure that allows the imagination
of a youngster to go wild and the book affected him for life.
In 1898, at 13, he was sent to the distinguished ancient
Uppingham School in Rutland and in 1924 he was to
be initiated in his old school Lodge.
Malcolm never lost his great enthusiasm for racing and
his fascination with speed. In 1910, between the period of
his employment by Lloyd’s of London and his service in the
Royal Air Force, he entered and won his first automobile
race at the Brooklands circuit. He was never to look back.
His name and career were to be closely associated with
Brooklands through his life. He continued and set many
motorcycle and car speed records as well as in motorboats.
He received his knighthood in 1931 for his distinguished
achievements. Malcolm Campbell was undoubtedly the most
successful racing driver of his time, dubbed ‘the speed king’.
In the middle of his extraordinary career as a racing driver,
on 15 October 1924 he become a Freemason and was Passed
and Raised in the following three months. There has been
some confusion with regard to his initiation because registration
records held at Grand Lodge show Malcolm Campbell’s
name written below that of George Noel Buckton.
George Buckton was initiated in Lodge Kumaon No. 1870,
District of Bengal, India. He joined Old Uppinghamian Lodge
No. 4227 on the same date that Campbell was initiated, and
the two Brethren were then Passed and Raised together on
9 December 1924 and 14 January 1925 respectively.
The entry for Malcolm Campbell states ‘do’ below Buckton’s
initiation date. This has led to the erroneous presumption that
Malcolm Campbell was initiated in Lodge 1870 and was a joining
member of the ‘closed’ Old Uppinghamian Lodge in 1924.
The school Lodge still today draws its membership solely from
Old Boys and their children and Masters at the School.