donald campbell bluebird


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Samuel Hawley is a writer of narrative nonfiction and fiction. His books are highly eclectic. He has written about 16th-century East Asian history, 19th-century Korean-American relations, Olympic sprinting and land speed racing and a circus elephant named Topsy who was electrocuted in 1903. He lives in Kingston, Ontario.


donald campbell bluebird
Donald Campbell poses beside one of the immense wheels of his Bluebird land speed car
at its UK unveiling in 1960.

donald campbell bluebird 1960
Donald Campbell's Bluebird arrives on the Bonneville Salt Flats, September 1960 (courtesy Ron Christensen)

donald campbell bluebird
Bonneville Salt Flats, Sept. 7, 1960: Donald Campbell, in cowboy hat at center, confering with Bluebird project manager Peter Carr (right) and Bill Backman of the Bonneville Speedway Association.

donald campbell bluebird bonneville
Bluebird on the salt, September 1960 (courtesy Ron Christensen)

donald campbell bluebird bonneville 1960
Donald Campbell preparing to enter the cockpit of Bluebird, his wife Tonia removing his salt encrusted shoes. The man in the glasses on Tonia's right is Leo Villa, the long-serving mechanic for Donald Campbell and Donald's father Malcolm Campbell.

donald campbell mickey thompson
Donald Campbell, left, conferring with Mickey Thompson, September 1960 (courtesy Utah State Archives)

donald campbell bluebird 1960
Bluebird in the Wendover air base hangar after Campbell's September 16, 1960 crash (courtesy Ron Christensen)

donald campbell bluebird crash 1960
Another shot of the wrecked Bluebird (courtesy Ron Christensen)

donald campbell bluebird lsr 1960
...and another (courtesy Ron Christensen)

donald campbell bluebird bonneville crash
...and another (courtesy Ron Christensen)

donald tonia campbell bluebird crash 1960
Donald Campbell on Sept. 18, 1960, two days after the crash, shaving in his hospital bed in
Tooele, Utah as his wife Tonia looks on.

donald campbell bluebird crash coniston water
Coniston Water in England's Lake District, January 4, 1967: Donald Campbell attempts to break the water speed record in a turbojet-powered craft called Bluebird K7.  He crashes at over 320 mhp--shown here--and is killed.

donald campbell bluebird crash 1967
Another shot of the fatal crash.  Campbell's last words, recorded from his cockpit microphone: "Tramping like mad...Full power...Tramping like hell here...I can't see much and the water's very bad indeed...I can't get over the top...I'm getting a lot of bloody row in here...I can't see anything...I've got the bows up...I've gone...."

hawley speed duel land speed record

copyright 2011 Samuel Hawley