A famous photo. Major Braid’s contribution to an F3 race at Blandford Camp.

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Major Peter Braid began racing in 1949 with a Cooper Mk III. He turned out to be quite quick and won his first race in July at Silverstone. Another win followed in August at Great Auclum. A week later the circus moved to Blandford Camp in Dorset where in an earlier race Gordon Woods crashed his Frazer Nash BMW and was thrown out receiving head injuries that would sadly prove fatal later in hospital.


In the F3 race Braid was leading when he ran wide at the same place as Woods had crashed. The bus shelter which had been destroyed, now acted as a launch ramp for the Major who found himself airborne and about to make a major contribution to the history of this sport when he landed on the Battalion Headquarters. Apparently, despite a sterling effort, falling off the roof, he still didn’t manage hurt himself.

In May 1951 he was fourth in the Open Challenge Final at Brands and finished second at Silverstone in June. He also posted a third at Great Auclum in July. In 1952 he continued to race in F3 with a Mackson but had little success.

Having survived four years in F3, the Major sadly lost his life in the Barns Rail Disaster of 1955. On the evening of 2nd December that year, an electric passenger train was travelling from Waterloo to Windsor when it collided with a freight train. The impact was only about 35 mph but the wreckage short-circuited the third rail. The circuit breakers malfunctioned and the arcing caused a fire to break out in the front two wooden coaches (which had been converted from old 1930s rolling stock). The signalman had forgotten about the freight train and had released the passenger train by mistake. Peter Braid and 12 other people died and 41 were injured, mostly due to the fire.

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