He well remembers Donald Campbell’s initiation.
‘An excellent candidate’ recounts Sir Kenneth. ‘Donald
was undoubtedly a little nervous and I could feel a light
tremble in his arm as I led him round the Lodge room. He
was, however, an excellent Mason, attended regularly and
acted as a gentleman in every way’ concludes Sir Kenneth.
Donald was Passed and Raised in April and May of the same
year. His enthusiasm for the Craft is reflected in his exaltation
into the Grand Master’s Chapter No. 1 on 6 July 1954.
Donald, like his father, never took office in Lodge. He appears
to have enjoyed the fraternity, and his attendance at Lodge,
and was also present at the bicentennial celebrations of the
Grand Master’s Lodge No 1 at the Mansion House in 1957.
Following his successful water speed record in November
1955 on Lake Mead in Nevada, Donald decided to emulate
his father’s success and attempt the world land speed record.
He began to build the new Bluebird with a view to achieving
400 mph, and on 17 July 1964 the astonishing speed of
403.10mph was set at the dry Lake Eyre in South Australia
– a new world record.
Within six months, in December 1964, he broke the world
water speed record, reaching 276.3mph on Lake Dumbleyung
in Australia. Donald Campbell remains the only person in
history to have held both water and land speed records in
the same year.
On 4 January 1967, on Coniston Water in Cumbria, where
he had crashed his first boat in 1951, Donald Campbell was
to meet his death. In redesigning the Bluebird K7 in order
to achieve a speed in excess of 300 mph, Donald and his engineers
may have overestimated the physical capacity of the
boat. The disaster occurred at over 300 mph and Donald was
killed, effectively attempting to break his own world record.
His remains and the wreck of Bluebird K7 were not
recovered until 2001. A service of Remembrance and burial
took place at St Andrew's Church, Coniston Village, on
12 September 2001.
The Campbells will forever remain great British heroes.
As befits the quality of character of any man of consequence,
they too will have embraced aspects of Freemasonry enhancing
the spirit of their many achievements.
Credits and bibliography
Aspell, Timothy: Secretary, Old Uppinghamian Lodge No. 4227
Bettles, Fiona: Marketing Manager, Uppingham School
Cambbell, Lady Dorothy Malcolm Campbell: The Man as I Knew Him, London, 1951
Encyclopædia Britannica: Campbell Sir Malcolm, 2005
Fairclough, Ian: Secretary, Grand Master’s Lodge No. 1
Simmons, Clayton E: Deputy District Grand Master, District 16, Grand Lodge of Florida
Villa, Leo & Gray, Tony: The Record Breakers – Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell Land and Water Speed Kings of the 20th Century, London, 1969
Wilson, Gordon: Scribe E, Grand Master’s Chapter No. 1
Sir Donald Campbell races at 250km per hour in his Bluebird on Lake Ullswater in 1955
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