KEEPING THE SPIRIT ALIVE SINCE 1999

Flying Officer Dorothy Mabel Murray Stanley Turner who finished second in the Rudge Cup at Le Mans in her first season.

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22-Jul-20/historicracing.com/

Petite and determined with a cheeky sense of humour, Dorothy Stanley Turner was born on November 12th 1916, into a military family. Her father had an 'adventurous disposition'. While her father was a student he had taken part in the Graeco-Turkish war and been made a Knight of the Royal Order of Saviour of Greece for his services. 

Then in about 1910 he went to the Falkland Islands as an assistant surgeon, and within a few years he had became the Deputy Governor and commander of the Falkland Islands Defence Force with the rank of major at the time when the German fleet put into the Falkland Islands at the beginning of WWI. He was awarded the M.B.E. for his services and later he served in France with the 47th and 58th Divisions.

 

He transferred to the RAF in 1918 and in 1919 he was posted to Egypt as principal medical officer at Middle East Headquarters, taking his family with him. He returned to England in 1927 and went into private practice in Surrey. Even her mother had a Naval upbringing. It was thus unsurprising that the young Dorothy not only inherited her father's adventurous disposition but that she also had an ultra- disciplined approach to life and any problems that it might throw up.

 

Her father was keen motor racing enthusiast and was friends with Cecil Kimber, the driving force behind the MG car company, and a number of other racing drivers including Charles Jarrott, Selwyn Edge and Joan Chetwynd, who used to race under the non de vollant of the Honourable Mrs. Chetwynd. So when it came time for Dorothy to learn to drive Chetwynd was enlisted to help with the task.

 

Her first competitions were as a navigator on a number of Trials sometimes partnering Mrs Kimber but she wanted to try circuit racing and, equipped with a set a pale blue overalls to started practicing at Brooklands. Coming from a wealthy family she was able to acquire a J-type MG Midget built for Le Mans and a single-seater Q-type 750cc MG. The cars were prepared by well known Brooklands duo of Thomson and 'Uncle' Taylor.

 

She found herself best suited to long distances races and raced in the Nuffield Trophy at Donnington in 1937. Unfortunately just as the prospect of a good finish seemed on the cards she was hit in the eye by a stone thrown up by another car. After receiving attention and a dressing, she returned to the fray in some pain only to be flagged as the organiser felt that to continue with one eye bandaged shut was not a good idea. It was fortunate as the injury proved more serious than originally suspected. However no permanent damage was done and in June she tackled le Mans partnered by Miss Enid Riddell.

 

The drive was arranged by Ceil Kimber in one of the MG Miget PB's run by Capt. G. E. T. Eyston. They finished a respectable 16th overall and second in the Rudge Cup but not without a little drama. They encountered a problem with one of the fuel fillers which had come adrift. Since this needed to be sealed they had to persuade the 'Plombeur' (the men who had to seal and unseal fuel tanks during pit stops) to place his seal on an orange which Dorothy had wired into the neck of the tank! By this time they were running second for the Rudge Cup behind the works Aston of Mort Morris-Goodall and Robert Hichens. Now Mort and Robert needed only to finish to win the Rudge Cup (See Robert's bio on historicracing for why this was the case http://www.historicracing.com/driversAlpha.cfm?fullText=8293&AlphaIndex=H), however a few hours before the end of the race the Aston dropped a valve and Robert pulled over out on the track. The team needed to get a message to him to persuaded him to limp the car back to the pits where tthey could wait until just before 4.00PM before crossing the line to take the Cup. Dorothy volunteered to find the Aston, stop and give the message to Robert who duly limped back with one cylinder out due to the bent valve. The Aston thus won the Rudge Cup and Dorothy and Enid finished second.

 

She raced in Ireland, taking part in the national Handicap, part of the Cork Grand Prix meeting, and at Phoenix Park later in the year. She also took part on the Paris-St Raphael Trial and the Monte Carlo Rally.

 

She raced at Brooklands at the Easter meeting in 1938 where she won the Second Easter Road Handicap driving a MG Q type at an average speed of 61.27mph. In June she would have raced at Le Mans again but was still suffering from the after effects of contracting Diphtheria so she asked Elsie 'Bill' Wisdom to take her place with Arthur Dobson. Unfortunately a slipping clutch put paid to a good finish and they retired after 48 laps. Later in the year she finished 3rd in the First August Road Handicap after being delayed when another car crashed at Hill corner and took second in the Second August Road Handicap just behind A.F.P.Fane in a Frazer Nash BMW 328. In September she raced in the Tourist Trophy at Donnington Park with 'Bill' and in October at Crystal Palace in the Imperial Plate.

 

In 1939 she won the First Mountain Handicap in the Q Type beating Aitken in the Aitken-Alfa, the old Alfa-Romeo Bimotor with one engine removed, in what turned out to be the last meeting at Brooklands before the outbreak of WWII. That year she also entered the RAC Rally in an Alvis and took the Shelsley Walsh Ladies' record in a borrowed Alta, setting a time of  43.4 seconds. Apparently she always carried a lucky white elephant mascot.

 

With the outbreak of war she became one of the first women to become an officer in a barrage balloon unit. By July 1942 she had become a Section Officer and in January 1945 she became a Flight Officer. That year she married Major H. C. 'Peter' Dryden but the following year she bumped into Air Commodore Geoffrey Tindal-Carill-Worsley, who she had first met while in Washington in 1941. Aside from her racing, she was a keen and accomplished shot and had kept competing after she stopped racing. And it was while competing at Bisely in 1946 that she met up with Geoffrey again. They married five years later.

 

She finally relinquished her commission in the WAAF on 12th October 1959.  She died on July 8th 1995 aged 78.


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