Donald Campbell  Great Britain

  • Full name Donald Malcolm Campbell
  • Birth date March 23, 1921
  • Birthplace Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, Great Britain
  • Date of death January 4, 1967 (45 years 287 days)
  • Place of death Coniston Water, Lancashire, Great Britain
  • Relation Father - M Campbell

Donald Campbell broke eight world speed records between 1955 and his death in 1967, and remains the only man to set records on land and water in the same year (1964).

He had two problems. One was that he was never quite able to shake off the label of being the son of the legendary racer Sir Malcolm Campbell, the other was he achieved his feats in the post-war era when the attainment of speed had lost some of its sheen.

Like his father he attended Uppingham School but ill health meant he was not able to serve in World War Two. Instead he learnt about mechanics and after his father's death in 1948 he set about continuing his pursuit of records.

Initially using his father's old boat, he then developed his own - Bluebird K7 - and set seven world records. The first came on Ullswater in 1955, the last in Western Australia in 1964. On land he survived a major crash in 1960 before breaking the record in 1964.

In 1966 he decided to return to water and Bluebird K7, fitted with a new engine, underwent trials on Coniston late in the year but they were dogged by problems. On January 4, 1967 he was killed when the boat flipped and disintegrated at over 300mph. The circumstances of the accident have been the subject of intense debate ever since.
Martin Williamson

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