Kevin Desmond's book tells the exciting and tragic story of Miss England II and also of an era of record breaking attempts and power boat racing on water. It contains poignant pen portraits giving clues to the characters of the men who crewed Miss England, Sir Henry Seagrave, and Engineers Haliwell and Wilcocks, and later driver Kaye Don.
I read the book in a little over a day and found it compelling. My father was an office boy with Saunders Roe at the time and also found the book a wonderful reminder of days gone by, especially as he had seen Miss England II at various stages of her construction and still describes how beautifully she was built.
The book describes in detail the design philosophy underlying the boat, its engineering excellence, and construction methodology specifically aimed at making the boat as strong and safe as possible. It's test program, including ongoing problems with propeller blade breakages leading up to and including the fatal record run paint a fascinating picture of just how difficult and ultimately dangerous it was to try to break the magic 100 mph barrier in the 1930s.
The book contains several sections of good clear photos and for modellers some nicely detailed plans and side elevations of the boat - although anyone using them to build a scale model should be aware that they are not 1/43 scale as described. The original plans may have been 1/43 but appear to have been reduced to fit the page size. A 1/43 scale model is nearly a foot long: see Touchwood Models website which has an excellent 1/43 scale model of Miss England II, and many other WSR boats listed.Read more ›
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