True Heroes

William Grover-Williams’ British Racing Green Bugatti Type 35B charges through Tabac and down towards the Gasometer hairpin during the inaugural Monaco Grand Prix.  The son of an English father and French mother, W Williams (as he was known in racing circles) had a fascinating and ultimately tragic life.  Following the First World War he worked as a chauffeur in Paris and later married the former wife of his employer, the painter William Orpen.  This marriage allowed him to indulge his passion for machinery and he became one of the pre-eminent Grand Prix drivers of the period, taking 7 wins between 1928 and 1933 – always driving Bugattis.  With the onset of the Second World War he joined the British army and was posted to the Special Operations Executive, returning to occupied France to work with the Resistance to organise sabotage operations.  In 1943 he was captured by the SS and imprisoned in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp where he was executed early in 1945. He was 42.  A brief, bright, brave life.               


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