27/11/1913 - 29/12/2007
Record updated 27-Nov-18
Lieutenant-Colonel Robert "Rex" King-Clark MBE MC was a British pilot, racer, photographer, author, and diarist.
King-Clark, the son of Alexander King Clark and Katherine Margaret Elizabeth Mainwaring Knocker, though a Scot, was actually born within a mile of the Brooklands track. He was educated, like his namesake Jim Clark, at Scotland's premier public school, Loretto.
King-Clark served in the Manchester Regiment from 1934, and flew a Miles Whitney Straight airplane as far as Egypt, Singapore, and Bali. During March 1937, he flew aerial reconnaissance flights of the harbor at Benghazi, Africa, taking photographs which were later used by the Royal Air Force during World War II. He also served in Palestine, where he commanded one of Orde Wingate’s three Special Night Squads, fighting Arab guerillas from 1936 to 1938, for which he was awarded the Military Cross.
Outside his army career, he raced cars. In 1933 Singer produced 3 Singer 9 team cars, one red, one white and one blue, for the 1933 Light Car Club Relay Race at Brooklands to be driven by Mrs. Tolhurst, Eileen Ellison and Kay Petre. During that year the red and blue cars were also raced at Donington. The following year the cars were entered the 1934 LCC Relay Race at Brooklands once again with the same driver line up. Shorty after the race the red car was sold to the One Tree Motor Co. in Huddersfield, where its sales director JD Middlebrook raced it at Donington that year. In May 1935, while stationed at Strensall Barracks in York, King-Clark aquired this car from a garage in Leeds and subsequently used it for sand racing on Filey beach and at Swainby sprint. Later that month, Rex traded it in against a super-charged 747cc MG J4 which was later re-bodied as a Monoposto and entered in the 1936 Mountain Handicap at Brooklands where Rex achieved at 'dead heat' with Eccles and his Rapier special.
These achievements qualified him to become a member of the prestigious British Racing Drivers' Club. His diaries of these years became the book Free for a Blast.
During World War II, he participated in the Battle of France and was evacuated from Dunkirk. He fought in the Battle of Kohima on the Burma/India border in 1944, and wrote two books from his diaries of those times, The Battle for Kohima, and Forward From Kohima.
King-Clark was promoted Captain in 1942 and Major in 1947 (although he was already acting in that rank). He married Jean May Evelyn Campbell, on 16 January 1950. They had two children, Robert Campbell Clark (born 28 October 1950), and Catherine Mainwaring Clark (born 30 October 1952). He retired from the King's Regiment with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1958.King-Clark had been one of last two surviving drivers who raced at Brooklands before World War II and was the oldest surviving member of the British Racing Drivers' Club. He continued to be involved in the reconstruction of classic race cars until late in his life.
The last remaining Brooklands driver was Major A.P.R. 'Tony' Rolt.