In February 1928, Malcolm and his wife Dorothy sailed
for Daytona Beach in Florida, arriving there on the 12th and
breaking a new speed record the same day! It was the first of
several visits with the famed ‘Bluebird’. He was to return to
Daytona annually in the early 1930s, each time achieving a
new and faster record.
There have been persistent reports of his joining various
Masonic bodies in the United States during these periods,
most persistently his supposed membership of the Zangi
Grotto in Daytona Beach. The Grottoes of North America
is a Masonically affiliated fraternal body founded by Leroy
Fairchild in September 1889. Membership is restricted to
Master Masons and it claims to be ‘primarily an organization
for good wholesome fun and frolic’.
There is no trace of Malcolm Campbell’s membership of
the Grotto. In fact, there is no record in any of the various
Masonic bodies, including the Grand Lodge of Florida,
which would indicate any kind of Masonic activity by
Malcolm Campbell in the US.
He was, for a while, very active as a Freemason. His second
wife Dorothy, Lady Campbell remembered that he was keen
and eager when he was initiated into his old school Lodge.
For several years he attended the meetings and felt that there
was no institution to rival Freemasonry. He told Dorothy
‘Freemasonry is all the religion I need – if I can only live to
the ideals of the Craft, I would want nothing more.’ Yet quite
suddenly he completely lost interest and resigned from the
Lodge on 10 January 1934.
The Lodge records only show two other entries relevant to
Malcolm Campbell. On his being knighted on 1931, a letter
of congratulations was forwarded to him by the Lodge and
recorded in the minutes. Similarly, on his resignation, a note
in the minutes shows that he was approached with a view to
his changing his mind. He did not do so.
In 1929, when Campbell was still a member of the Lodge,
a special presentation of a Masonic Gate was made to the
school. It coincided with two important events at the time.
The completion of the memorial building to the victims
of the First World War as well as the School Lodges Festival
held at the school in that year.
There is only sparse information about the gates, which
still stand proud at one of the two entrances to the school.
The Lodge minutes do not mention the gates at all and the
school records show a William Ellis, an old boy and a Governor
of the school, who was involved in the reconstruction of the
area around the gates and their installation on the site in 1929.
There is little else, except for the pride that the school has in
the very beautiful and prominent gateway to the grounds.
In 1935, Sir Malcolm was the first to reach the 300 miles
per hour mark in his celebrated Bluebird at Bonneville Flats,
Utah. From here he chose to move to speedboat racing,
and in 1939 set a new world record of 141 miles per hour.
Sir Malcolm Campbell died after a long illness in 1949.
His very special ‘speed’ legacy was taken up by his son
Donald, who continued in his father’s tradition, soon
to become world famous in his own right.
Sir Malcolm Campbell in a Bluebird before attempting the world land speed record on Daytona Beach, Florida
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Web site created by Mark Griffin