Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Man Who Cannot be Killed

The mention of Harcourt-Wood brings to mind a much more famous Bentley Boy with Builth connections. Winner of the 1930 Le Mans 24 hour race with Woolf Barnato, Glen Kidston was called, by the popular press of the day The Man Who Couldn't Be Killed. The Kidstons had made their fortune in Clyde shipbuilding industry, but young Glen's childhood home was at Glanwye just outside Builth. In the end the grim reaper got his man, and here is Time magazine's report, detailing just a few of Kidston's narrow squeaks - although it doesn't mention his affair with Barbara Cartland!

"Glen Kidston, rich, young and debonair, was sometimes called "the man who cannot be killed." A naval cadet at 15, he was aboard the training ship Hogue when it was torpedoed, was rescued hours later and transferred to the Aboukir which likewise was torpedoed. A grown man and sportsman, he flew with the late Belgian Banker Alfred Loewenstein and crashed. He was piloting a speed boat at 60 m.p.h. when it broke in two. In 1929 he was one of two survivors of the crash of a Lufthansa plane in England which killed six. Lately he bought a specially built Lockheed monoplane, flew it from London to Cape Town in 6 1/2 days for a record, despite a crackup in Africa. Last week Commander Kidston and his friend Capt. T. A. Gladstone were flying from Johannesburg to Natal in a Puss Moth biplane. They encountered a duststorm in the Drakensberg Mountains. A wing was wrenched off. Commander Kidston and friend crashed. Both died."

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