Monday, May 21, 2007

Eye Spy, Something Beginning with C

Back in July 1903 the Automobile Club held a series of events in the Emerald Isle which it described as the Irish Automobile Fortnight. Here for example we find C. S. Rolls in a 70 horse power Mors winning the cup presented by the Cork Constitution newspaper for the fastest time over a two mile sprint course, Roll's time 1-49.6. But who is this in third place in a 50 horse power Wolseley in a time of 2-04.5? A Lieutenant Cumming, much better known to history as Sir George Mansfield Smith-Cumming. In 1903 Cumming was already director of the foreign section of the Secret Service Bureau, later he would become the first director of MI6, the legendary C of popular culture.

Cumming is better remembered as a sporting pioneer of motor-boats rather than cars, but he was the first of quite a number of individuals linked to the world of espionage who had racing connections. No doubt we will highlight some of them over the next few months.

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