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James Algernon Toop (c1880-1924), racing driver
1924 Died in a racing accident at Brooklands aged 44 years. The fifth recorded track death at Brooklands since it opened.
An inquest was held at Weybridge, to-day, Captain James Algernon Toop (44), who lost his life at Brooklands on Whitmonday during the last lap of an 8 1/2 miles race. The owner of the car, Mr Charles Gerald Blocklebank, said that he had driven the car (25 h.p Pengeot) in an earlier race, and could find no fault with it. Examining the car after the accident he could find no mechanical displacement which would account for the car going off the track. The was very experienced driver on the racing track.
Major Oatee, who witnessed the accident, said that the deceased's car was gradually getting much too high up the bank. The car was not actually passing another car, although there were several cars in line. The car in front was throwing up a lot of grit, some of which might have got into the deceased's eyes, or he might have fainted. Captain Toop was travelling at 100 miles per hour.
After the accident witness climbed over the embankment and found the car was on fire. Witness, who was an engineer, examined the car, but could find no cause for this accident. "No attempt whatever had been made to bring the car down the bank," commented witness, "and that is why, I think, he must have fainted." The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.
Widow Friend to Defray Funeral Expenses.
Although Captain Jack Toop lived very lonely life friends of his told that they knew nothing of him beyond his name, his racing career, and the address of his apartments — he had his romance. A woman who lives near Brooklands has now come forward and stated that she was about to be married to him. She is a widow of means, and has offered to defray the funeral expenses. None of Captain Toop's friends knew of his engagement, but they are not surprised, as he was not in the habit of telling any of them anything about himself or his life. Mrs Duncan, of Littlehampton, the dead man's sister, is his nearest relative, and it is several years since she last saw him.
Before he started on his last race, Capt. Toop bought a black cat for luck. It was found on his body after his death.
The Times, Friday, Jun 13, 1924