23/1/1899 - 5/5/1931
W.O. Bentley described Glen Kidston as "a born adventurer." He was rough, tough, sharp and as fearless as Birkin. He was one of the four core members and perhaps the most wealthly of the infamous Bentley Boys of the late 1920s.Glen Kidston died 91 years ago, he was 32
Born in London into a great fortune, he served in the British Navy during World War I as an early submarine commander.
He specialised in narrow escapes. He was torpedoed twice during World War I, one of them on his cruiser The Hogue. He had succeeded in extracating himself from his submarine after being caught in mud on the sea bed and also was the sole survivor from an early London to Paris airliner that crashed in fog, escaping from the burning aircraft by punching through the fuselage with his bare hands.
He started competing on motorcycles soon after peace was declared and true to form, survived a major crash in the 1929 Isle of Man TT motorcycle race.
He then drove a Brescia Bugatti at Brooklands before acquiring a Bugatti T35 in 1925. Kidston also raced on the continent and he finished fifth in that year’s Provence Grand Prix at Miramas.
However later in the year he stopped racing in order to marry however his life remained exciting. He and his wife had survived a high-speed boating accident outside Southampton in 1927 and his first recorded aircraft crash came on a hunting expedition outside Nairobi in 1928.
Kidston was a member of the well-known Bentley Boys and possibly the wealthiest of that already wealthy set. Kidston was one of the four, core Grosvenor Square-based Bentley team drivers, whose day-long parties passed into contemporary legend. He raced at Le Mans 24-hour in 1929 and 1930. On the second occasion winning the race, driving a Bentley Speed Six with Woolf Barnato, part of a Bentley team 1-2-3-4 victory
In April 1931, he completed a record breaking flight from Netheravon to Cape Town, completing the journey in just 6½ days, flying a specially adapted Lockheed Vega monoplane.
Sadly he never to make the return trip as his luck finally ran out a year after his Le Mans victory when his overloaded De Havilland Moth biplane broke up in midair while flying through a dust storm over the Drakensberg mountains during a tour of South Africa.
A memorial to him stands at the place where his aircraft crashed.