KEEPING THE SPIRIT ALIVE SINCE 1999

Our Friday Chap for this week is Robert Benoist. A proper Chap. And a genuine hero.

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09-Apr-20/Chris Bowen/ WW2 FRENCH RESISTANCE BUGATTI SOE

Oh I say…Well held Sah! When the bonnet flew off of French ace Robert Benoist’s Bugatti during the 1935 French Grand Prix, he managed to catch it as it flew past his head. And hold it with one hand while he drove back to the pits with the other, to have it re-fitted!

Robert Benoist was the son of the Rothchild family’s gamekeeper, and fought as a foot soldier and as a fighter pilot during WW1. After the war, he became interested in racing cars and eventually became one of the most successful drivers of the inter-war years.

 

His greatest year came in 1927. When he enjoyed a thoroughly dominant season, as the leader of the French Delage team.

 

 

Even all that success though, didn’t manage to crack his characteristically stern demeanour. During WW2, Robert became a very active member of the French Resistance and the SOE. And on one occasion only escaped from the clutches of the dreaded Gestapo by leaping out of a fast moving car whilst being taken away for “questioning”. He was eventually re-arrested though, in June 1944. And his captors showed no hesitation in arranging for his tenure on Earth to come to a very nasty conclusion.

 

by Chris Bowen

WW2

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