James Robertson Justice

15/6/1905 - 2/7/1975

Record updated 11-Feb-23

James Robertson-Justice was a Ph.D., a journalist, a naturalist, a falconer and a racing car driver and went on to become a famous film actor appearing in over forty movies.

James Robertson Justice
James Norval Harald Justice or Jimmy Justice, as he was known pre-war, was born in Lee, South London, and was brought up in Bromley, Kent. However he liked to maintain the myth that he was Scotish and always claimed that he was born underneath a whisky distillery on the Isle of Skye. He added the Robertson to his name in the late 30s to further maintain his claim of Scots heritage.

He was a chum of Whitney Straight's who he met while he was up at Cambridge.

Jimmy Justice went to Italy on Straight's behalf to collect the Maserati 8CM number '3011' - the first of the Maserati GP cars ordered for the 1933 Straight team.

Justice was apparently pretty active as a socialist and fought with the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War and at the same time developed a lifelong interest in wildlife and ornithology in particular. He served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War and postwar became one of the founding fathers of the UK Wildfowl Trust in cahoots with his more famous naturalist friend and fellow wartime RNVR officer (later Sir) Peter Scott.

He was also a keen ice hockey player as a netminder. However he was forced to retire after a skiing accident. He became assistant secretary of the BIHA and a referee, officiating in the match between England and Austria at Golders Green Ice Rink in 1933.

Justice was quite a familiar sight as an enthusiastic spectator at BRDC Silverstone meetings through the 1950s and '60s.

Justice raced and sprinted a Frazer-Nash but only very occasionally. At Brooklands, 16 May 1932, a J.N.H.Justice entered the car for Roy Eccles, although it is not clear if Justice or Eccles drove it. He also partnered "H.H.Wanborough" driving a Wolseley Hornet, tuned by the veteran racing driver Hornsted, in the Junior Car Club 1000 mile race at Brooklands, on the 3rd and 4th of June, 1932. They retired after completing 397 miles.

He was elected to the BRDC in 1933.

James Robertson-Justice went on to become a famous film actor appearing in over forty movies. He played Sir Lancelot Spratt in the Doctor in the House series of films. He enjoyed the high life but as his movie career crumbled he sadly died, after such a colourful life,  apparently bankrupt in 1975, his 70th year.