Charlie Martin

21/4/1913 - 19/2/1998

Record updated 21-Apr-20

Martin started racing at Southport sands on the Lancashire coast in 1932 moving on to circuit racing driving an MG, also racing in Bugattis and Alfa Romeos at Donington Park and throughout Europe at Pau and Deauville in Grand Prix gaining wins at Brooklands in 1936.

Charlie Martin

Charles Edward Capel Martin DSC was born into a wealthy Welsh steel family Abergavenny Monmouthshire. Charles was sent away to boarding school at Eton. While there he illegally learned to handle motorcycles, including a Royal Enfield, BSA and AJS machines. He graduating to motor cars via a GN and a Brescia Bugatti. Whilst an apprentice at Longbridge, he purchased a blown Ulster Austin in which he made his compettion debut in 1932 on Southport Sands.

He made his Brooklands debut the following year in an MG Magna which was a present from his Aunt

He drove a MG Magnette K3 to fourth place overall at Le Mans in 1934 driving with Roy Eccles. They not only won the 1100cc class but were only two laps behind the third place Riley of Freddy Dixon and Cyril Paul.

He was a close friend of Richard Shuttleworth and raced a Bugatti T59 in 1935. During the 1936 season he used his private ex-Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo Tipo B for GP racing, competing in the in first Hungarian Grand Prix, and an ERA for Voiturette races. In 1936 he finished 2nd in the Donnington, Pau and Deauville GPs with the Alfa, and won the Nuffield Trophy race at Donnington in ERA R9B. In 1937 Charles drove ERA R3A, winning at Avus and finishing in 2nd place at the Albi and Brno Voiturette GPs. He sold the his racing cars to Jack Bartlet in 1937 and hung up his helmet after a test for Auto Union failed to result in a works drive.

Charles also had a love of boats. Firstly for leisure with his 39 Tonne Ketch and later in 1940 in the RNVR. In 1941 Charles moved from his home in Shere to the base at Felixstowe where the MGB flotillas were moored. The following year saw Lt C Martin operating from Dartmouth in command of MGB 318, ferrying agents, weapons and stores to the north and west coasts of France for SOE. For this he receieved a DSC. To this was added the US Legion of Merit for services off Omaha Beach during the D-Day landings."

After the war he continued his love of boats with a converted Scotish Herring Drifter which he used to explore the Mediteranean with his second wife, Joy Frankau.


He died in Chelsea, London in 1998.

1934: 5th Donington Trophy, 4th Mountain, Le Mans 

1935: DNS Tunis GP, 2nd Mannin Moar, 6th Marne GP, DNF Dieppe GP, DNF Nice GP, 3rd Donington GP, 2nd Mountain 

1936: 2nd Pau GP, DNF Eifel GP, DNF Hungarian GP, 1st Nuffield Trophy (Handicap), 2nd Deauville GP, 1st BRDC 500 Miles, 2nd Donington GP, 10th Mountain 

1937: 1st AVUS (Voiturette), 2nd Albi (Voiturette), 5th Swiss GP (Voiturette), DNF JCC 200 GP, 2nd Czech GP (Voiturette), DNF Donington GP

With thanks to Leif Snellman with additions.