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966 Flying Officer Dorothy Mabel Murray Stanley-Turner WRAFRO
The very comprehensive collection of war medals, W.A.A.F. uniforms and related items belonging to the late Dorothy Mabel Murray Stanley-Turner, the notable pre-war motor racing driver was recently sold on Ebay.
Her obituary was in ‘The Times’ of 4 August 1996. She had quite an incredible career.
Dorothy Stanley-Turner, motor racing driver, died on July 8 aged 78. She was born on November 12, 1916.
"Dorothy Stanley-Turner was an accomplished amateur racing driver and a familiar figure at pre-war motoring events. The sight of a young woman behind the racing wheel was a rare one in those days. Cars were not fitted with sophisticated safety features and the overwhelming majority of competitors – as now – were men. Dorothy applied to her hobby the sort of Service-style discipline she learnt from her father, a Wing Commander. She and her cars were always immaculately turned out, as one had to be at Brooklands in those days.
“She was educated at a number of schools around England and also abroad, when the family accompanied her father – a doctor in the RAF medical service – on his foreign postings. Her mother served in the Haslar Naval Hospital. As the only girl among half-brothers all in the RAF, Dorothy had no time for more conventional feminine pursuits. She was a first-class shot and drove racing motor-cars in an amateur capacity from a young age.
“She was taught to drive a car very thoroughly by her father and by the Hon. Mrs Chetwynd, a racing and competition driver. Her father’s friendship with some of the pioneer racing drivers and his later association with Cecil Kimber, the managing director of the MG Car Company, meant that Dorothy drove mostly cars of that make, manufactured at Abingdon-on-Thames.
“She was an attractive young woman with large blue eyes, and she had no shortage of offers of help from male competitors. Her first laps were taken at the Brooklands track at Weybridge with a J-type MG Midget built for the Le Mans 24-hour race and a slim single-seater Q-type 750cc MG. Her cars were tuned by the famous pair of Brooklands engineers, Thomson and Taylor.
“There was a bad accident at the Easter Bank Holiday meeting at Brooklands in 1938, when a car went out of control and flew over the top of the members’ banking. Despite the shock felt by all the competitors, Dorothy Stanley-Turner went out not long afterwards and won the First Easter Road Handicap over the difficult artificial road circuit designed by Sir Malcolm Campbell. She averaged a speed of 61.27mph in her MG.
“She continued to do well at the Surrey track, being given good advice by ‘Sammy’ Davis – sports editor of ‘The Autocar’ and a Le Mans ‘Bentley Boy’ – who took her under his wing. Further successes included a second and a third place with the Q-type MG in 1938 and a good win at the last meeting at Brooklands before the war, in August 1939, in her white MG.
“Apart from track racing, Dorothy Stanley-Turner competed in long races at the Donington Park road course in 1937 and in the classic Le Mans 24-hour race that year with a green PB MG shared with Enid Riddell. They came home second in the Biennial Cup category of this exhausting endurance race – a remarkable performance. Only bad health stopped Dorothy from entering again the following year.
“In a different kind of motor sport, Dorothy broke the ladies’ record at Shelsley Walsh speed hill-climb in Worcestershire in a borrowed 2-litre Alta. She showed her versatility in various other drives before the war – in continental rallies and Irish road races, including the famous Monte Carlo winter rally. The war put an end to all this - when racing stopped - and Dorothy Stanley-Turner served as a WAAF in a barrage balloon unit.
On the 1st August 1940 she was 882502 Aircraftwoman 1st Class Miss Dorothy Mabel Murray Stanley-Turner and was listed in the London Gazette as having a Commission and becoming a Assistant Section Officer. She was given the new number of 966. This is a very low number which indicates that she was among some of the first women to become Balloon officers in WWII. The London Gazette shows she was confirmed from a probationary role to a full Assistant section Officer in August 1941. By July 1942 she is listed as being a Section Officer. On the 1st January 1945 she becomes a Flight Officer. On 12th October 1950 she relinquishes her commission and takes a short service commission as Flying Officer WRAF five years on active list and four years on reserve, with seniority from July 1947.
“After the war it was difficult for many drivers to get back into racing. Cars were hard to come by and those that were available were expensive. Nevertheless, Dorothy took part in rallies in Monte Carlo in the early 1950s.
“She continued in the WAAF until 1951 when she married Air Commodore Geoffrey Tindal-Carill-Worsley. They first met in Washington in 1941 but did not see each other again until 1946 when they met again by chance at Bisley, Surrey (Dorothy had kept up her rifle-shooting). They were married five years later and Dorothy gave up her own career, accompanying her husband on Far East postings and acting as his hostess.
On her marriage she was transferred to the reserve effective 24th April 1952. She then became a Flying Officer WRAFRO. She finally relinquished her commission on 12th October 1959.
In retirement they lived first in Scotland and later in Somerset. She leaves her husband, and there were no children.
The Dorothy Stanley-Turner collection comprises:
* France and Germany Star; Defence Medal; War Medal
(all of which are privately engraved FLT. OFF. D.M.M. STANLEY TURNER W.A.A.F.); Air Efficiency Award (GVI ‘Ind. Imp.’ issue), which is officially named to ACT. FLT. OFF. D.M.M. STANLEY-TURNER W.A.A.F. (minor official correction to naming on this last medal).
The group of medals is mounted ‘loose style’ as worn and is in Good Very Fine condition.
* The recipient’s similarly mounted group of four miniature medals.
* A medal ribbon bar removed from one of her uniforms.
* A silver hallmarked Royal Life Saving Society medal, officially named to D M M Stanley-Turner 1933, in its case of issue.
* A bronze Royal Life Saving Society medal, officially named to D S Turner Sept. 1932, in its case of issue.
* An 11” x 7” black and white framed portrait photograph of Dorothy in uniform.
* An 11” x 9” colour portrait photograph of Dorothy in uniform by Wykeham (card mount damaged).
* A 15” x 10” drawing of Dorothy in uniform by Pat Rooney, 1939.
* An 8” x 5” black and white photograph of Dorothy in uniform in a garden.
* A 6” x 4” black and white photograph of a WAAF march past, with Dorothy in the background in uniform.
* A 2” x 4” black and white photograph of Dorothy in uniform.
* Two 8” x 6” black and white wedding photographs.
* Two 8” x 6” black and white photographs of Dorothy presenting cups at RAF Halton in 1954.
* A cutting from the News Chronicle of 1938 regarding Doreen (sic) Stanley-Turner racing at Brooklands.
* A cutting from the Buckinghamshire Herald of 1955 showing Dorothy with her husband and other senior RAF officers at the opening of the RAF Halton cinema.
* A photocopy of Dorothy’s obituary from The Times of 4 August 1996.
(Most of the items of uniform are named, as indicated).
* A private purchase wartime pattern service dress tunic by Moss Bros 1939 – Miss Turner, rank removed.
* A private purchase wartime pattern service dress tunic by Gieves 1941 – Miss D Stanley-Turner.
* A 1947 pattern tunic by Gieves 1950 – D D M Stanley-Dryden – with medal ribbons.
* A 1944 private purchase battle blouse by Gieves Ltd., 1944 – D M M Stanley-Turner, with medal ribbons.
* A post-war pattern regulation blouse, 1950, with medal ribbons.
*Four regulation pattern skirts ( Gieves – 1941, 1944, 1950, 1950 – D M M Stanley-Turner, D D M Stanley-Dryden and Mrs D D M S Dryden).
* Two regulation rain coats, including one by Simpson, Piccadilly.
* An officer’s trench coat by Alderton, Holborn – Stanley-Turner.
* Two pairs of private purchase regulation pattern shoes by Wildsmith, London, with shoe trees.
* A private purchase beret with King’s Crown officer’s badge, by Gieves – Carill-Worsley.
* A 1947 pattern private purchase cap with bullion King’s Crown badge, by Scott & Co. – Carill-Worsley.
* Five blue shirts.
* Three white shirts by Gieves Ltd. – D Stanley-Turner.
* A quantity of loose collars, with a case.
* Eight black ties.
* Two RAF Blue handbags.
* An RAF kit bag named to Wing Commander H M Stanley-Turner.
* A pair of tan stockings.
* A pair of private purchase ladies’ brown leather gloves.
* A pair of blue knitted gloves.
* A blue scarf.
* A knitted jumper.
* A knitted tank top.
* A bullion officer’s King’s Crown cap badge.
* A pair of RAF shoulder albatrosses with the letter ‘A’ (removed from a uniform).
* A pair of unused RAF shoulder albatrosses.
* Two RAF brass eagles and crowns.
* A pair of shoulder ranks.
* A quantity of large and small RAF brass buttons by J R Gaunt, London.
* A quantity of large and small RAF brass buttons by the Waterbury Button Company, USA.
* A pair of brass shoulder titles ‘FI’ (Falkland Islands – probably Dorothy’s father’s).
* An RAF tie pin.
* A Women’s Section Royal British Legion badge (numbered 457608).
* A sterling silver filigree RAF brooch.
* A Parker-Hale Service Rifle Score Book, 1951.
* A Parker-Hale scoring book.
* A NRA Bisley competition roster, 1954.
* A NRA fine receipt, 1954.
* A receipt from Alex Martin Ltd. for work to a No. 4 Rifle, 1954.
* A small quantity of unused 3” targets.
* A dog tag (882502 D M M Stanley Turner WAAF CE).
* A wooden cigarette box, hand-painted in the RAF colours.
* A silk handkerchief with RAF emblems (tear to one corner).
* A small quantity of medal ribbons.
* A copy of the Illustrated London News of 21 March 1942.
* A number of copies of the Directory for the British Air Commission & RAF Delegation, Washington DC (1941-43) showing Dorothy as a Section Officer.
* A small notepad with pencil.
* An unused RAF Signal Office Diary.
* A copy of ‘The Book of the WAAF’, 1942.
* A 1944 RAF party invitation.
* An assortment of cards from various RAF units including 208 Sqn. and the Empire Test Pilots School, 1949, as well as a selection of embossed RAF emblems.
* A duty roster sheet for Exercise Stronghold.
* A loose-leaf diary written by Dorothy’s father about his 1946 and 1947 motoring holidays.
* A letter to Mrs Stanley-Turner (Dorothy’s mother) from the London Scottish Regimental Gazette expressing sympathy on the death of her husband in 1951.
This was without doubt a remarkably comprehensive collection of items – in lovely condition - to one of the pioneering and adventurous female spirits of the pre-war and post-war years.
Bidding was brisk and the final sale price was over £1200.
Did you know her or serve with her during the war and post-war? If so let us know what you thought of her.