By the time Carey Chapman bought Mrs Bruce’s house, Priory Steps in Bradford on Avon, in 1985, her name was fading fast from the history books, and Carey has dedicated much of his spare time since then to collecting memories and mementoes of her life. Shortly after Mrs Bruce’s death in 1990, Nancy Wilson, a writer from California, read of her in the obituary column of her newspaper and, amazed at what she read, vowed to find out more about this remarkable woman. After nearly 20 years of regular research trips to England Nancy’s book “Queen of Speed”, the Racy Life of Mary Petre Bruce” was published.
Carey will describe the life and times of this most remarkable lady.
Extract from the Obituary of Mrs Victor Bruce published by the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday 23rd May 1990.
Mrs victor Bruce, the dare-devil aviatrix, racing driver and speed boat pilot, who has died aged 94, made her mark on the 20th Century by breaking record in the air, on land, and at sea. Indeed her death deprives Who’s Who of one of its most remarkable entries.
Travelled furthest north into Lapland, by motor car. Holds record for Double Channel Crossing, Dover to Calais, by motor boat. Holder of 17 world records, motoring and of 24 hour record; single handed drive, covered longest distance for man or woman, 2164 miles, in 24 hours: Coupe de Dames, Monte Carlo Rally 1927.
Flying Records; first solo flight from England to Japan 1930 longest solo flight 1930, record solo flights India to French Indo-China, 1930. British Air Refuelling endurance flight 1933. Holds 24 hour record by motor boat, covering 674 nautical miles, single handed, 1929 first crossing of Yellow Sea.
Show Jumping – 1st royal Windsor Horse Show 1939.
Order of the Million Elephants and White Umbrella – French Indo China.
Fellow – Ancient Monuments Society.