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ever happened, dance music speaking, in this country’. From 1933 Buddy led his own band, the Cosmopolitans, performing at the Carlton Hotel and the Coconut Grove in Regent Street. In January 1934 he joined the Max Abrams band, then Billy Mason again. Later, in 1935, he recorded with Valaida Snow, Jay Wilbur, Billy Mason, Jack Miranda and the Black Hand Gang. Salesman and racing driver Concurrently, from 1931, he began a second career as a car salesman and, more importantly, as a racing driver, performing, usually as co- driver, at Crystal Palace, Donington, Douglas (Isle of Man), Limerick, and other venues. In 1932 he twice raced a blown 1½-litre six-cylinder Alfa Romeo. By 1934 he had joined Whitney Straight for a few races and won the Dieppe Grand Prix at his second start. He raced in France and Ireland as well as at Brooklands, driving Maseratis and Bugattis. In July 1934 he took over Whitney Straight’s old 2.5-litre Maserati and in it won the Grand Prix d’Albigeois at Albi near Toulouse in France. He also drove a small MG in 1935 and in May won the JCC International Trophy at Brooklands as co-driver to Jock Manby-Colegrave. In 1936 he was again co-driver of the 1.5-litre ERA R1B, taking fifth place at the International Trophy three-hour race at Brooklands. From 1936 Buddy continued with Reg Leopold’s orchestra, Benny Carter, Bert Firman,


Hugo Rignold’s orchestra and Gerry Moore’s band. But his obsession with motor racing continued and in 1939 he won the London Grand Prix driving a 3.8-litre eight-cylinder Alfa-Romeo. On the outbreak of war he joined the RAF as a corporal and led the Buddy Featherstonhaugh RAF Sextet, a group which included Vic Lewis, Don McAffer and Jack Parnell, and which later became the Radio Rhythm Club Sextet. They were the resident band on the BBC’s ‘Radio Rhythm Club’, performed for ENSA and made recordings for EMI. In 1946 he appeared with his sextet in the film Appointment with Crime. Then, leaving the RAF as a sergeant in 1946, he took his Radio Rhythm Club Sextet on tour to Iceland. He later led the band at the Gargoyle Club in Soho. A 1946 article by one Dennis May says: ‘He is distinguished by a rather drawly habit of speech, punctuated by zestful bursts of laughter, freshen- ing sometimes to gale force. He spends a good deal of time getting on the wrong tramcar, or off the right one at the wrong place. He was associated with the firm of Monza Motor Services from 1936 to the outbreak of war but has no gift for the insides of motor cars’. In September 1946 Buddy undertook what we believe to be his final motor sport appearance. His beautiful 2½-litre Alfa Romeo won the Supercharged Standard Sports Car event at the Brighton Speed Trials on Madeira Drive at an average speed of 70.34mph.


Brighton Speed Trials – thought to be 1946 (Brooklands Museum).


36


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