Eighty three years to the day since speed boat tipped for world record crashed near Adelaide Bridge in Ely
PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 September 2018
It has been 83 years to the day since a speed boat that was tipped to secure a world record crashed near the Adelaide Bridge in Ely.
The incident famously happened on September 29 1935 and the Ely Standard was the first on the scene to cover it.
After covering a mile course along the River Ouse, the new racing hydroplane was set to secure the world’s outboard motor boat record.
But disaster struck and Viscount Forbes, an undergraduate of Trinity College, had the misfortune to see his craft severely damaged.
The trials were carried out at Adelaide over a specially picked mile course to see if the machine was capable of beating the present record of 65mph held by a man from France.
The machine, which looked like a glittering torpedo, was built by the Southampton Launch Company to the plans of Fred Cooper.
It had a six-cylinder super-charged engine, capable of developing 110 hp.
Viscount Forbes drove the speedboat both up and down the river and his best time was when he covered the mile in one minute.
Just as he was completing the last run, near Adelaide Bridge, the whole of the bottom including propellers broke away and sank to the bottom of the river.
The boat, rendered out of control, spun round in the stream but did not capsize. It is thought it hit some obstruction in the water.
The craft was severely damaged.
Efforts were immediately made by some of the watermen employed by the Ely Beet Sugar Factory to salvage the unit.
Pictures, supplied by Historian Mike Petty from Facebook group Fenland History, show how the story was covered in the paper at the time.