Obituary – William David John Roscoe

June 2, 1931 – October 20, 2018

David Roscoe died peacefully at home in Kingswear, Devon on October 20, 2018 aged 87. 

David was the Hon Secretary of the club at its foundation in 1953 and was a lifelong member.  He was instrumental in persuading Mike Hawthorn, who was to become Formula One World Champion, to join the club as Honorary President. While other members were noting Austin A35s as their car, Mike registered his Ferrari 212, which he used for practice for the Mille Miglia that year, as his car. 

David in his Cooper Jap single seater in 1957/8

Educated at Bromsgrove, where he was a close friend Hawthorn’s Ferrari team-mate, Peter Collins, David raced cars himself in the 1950s, and again from the 70s to the 90s. He took part in and organized Guildford MC club rallies and other events in the 1950s and owned and campaigned a Cooper JAP single seater in the 1957-8 seasons.

In the 1960s, with a young family, he restored and ran Austin Sevens, owned a 1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, a vintage ‘Cloverleaf’ Citroen and a Daimler SP250 ‘Dart’. The Dart continued to be his favourite road car and he owned a succession of five of the marque, including one he bought a couple of years ago. During this time, he also filmed a number of race meetings and made films for the BRDC and Vintage Sports Car Club, many of which have been digitized. 

In the mid-70’s, he resumed his racing, sprint and hillclimb competitions in a 1937 4.3 litre Alvis special, which he successfully campaigned for 30 years, including recording a class lap record at the Donington Park circuit during a 6-hour relay race in the 1980s.  Over the past 20 years he took part in time trials and ‘mud-plugging’ events in a 1913 Willys Overland and was an active committee member of the Vintage Sports Car Club. 

David in 1976 with his Alvis 4.3 special at Curborough.

After National Service in the Army, he started his career in London in advertising at about the same time the club was formed and commuted from  Guildford. He moved to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in Crewe in 1971 as director of public relations and was appointed to the same role in engineering company Vickers plc in London after those two companies merged. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Public Relations. 

In addition to his lifelong involvement in motorsport, he served for some years as an officer in the Queen’s Regiment, Territorial Army. He was also a keen and competitive yachtsman and loved building and flying radio controlled model aircraft.

He supported a number of charities,  including the RNLI and the Transport Trust, through pro-bono work in support of their communication and marketing efforts. 

David with Jules Golbey at the 50th Anniversary Dinner in 2003

David was a kind, generous and witty man who had a life well-lived. He leaves his wife, Diana, two sons – one of whom is active in motorsports, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Adam Roscoe

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