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Homepage. This page: One of Britain's best known actors of the 1950s rides in a Bentley DHC, plus a saloon version.

1. Bentley S1 DHC.

Usually when I go hunting for old photographs, the car is the star, but in this case perhaps it's the chap sat in the rear of the Bentley S1 Continental that's the real star of the scene. Anyone familiar with British films such as The Cruel Sea and The League of Gentlemen may recognise him as Jack Hawkins, a veteran of many films and, at the time of this photograph - August 1957 - at the height of his fame. In that year he'd star in Fortune Is a Woman, Man in the Sky, and The Bridge on the River Kwai, but here he's seen taking part - accompanied by a glamorous young lady - in a parade which is known as the "Battle of Flowers". An event of this name takes part in Jersey each year, and has done with a few interruptions since 1902, so tends to confirm the location.
(Please click the thumbnails to view the full-size image.)
S1 Continental photograph
Putting the location beyond doubt is a British Pathe video of the 1957 Jersey parade, which briefly shows Hawkins accompanied by Miss Jersey Battle of Flowers riding in the Bentley (click to view it):

BATTLE OF FLOWERS

The car is an S1 Continental; the model made its debut in 1955 and was revised to become the S2 in 1959, two years after this shot was taken. The drophead coupe coachwork is likely to be a product of coachbuilder Park Ward. Frustratingly part of the car's registration is obscured, it could be ?TU 915 or ?YU 915, if the former then it could well be a factory-owned Bentley.

2. Standard Steel Saloon, reg. UU8.

Now, a colour photo from the early 1960s. Crowds line this particular street, waiting for notable person or persons to appear, or an event to take place. A number of the shops sport red, white and blue bunting, so perhaps they were readying themselves for a Royal visit. Whatever, the majority of the public are looking away from the arrival of a Bentley S1 or S2 Standard Steel Saloon, registration UU 8. Driver of said Bentley is shown in conversation with a traffic policeman, while another stands in the road, awaiting the arrival of the VIP(s). A third "bobby" is sat on his Police-specification Velocette LE motorcycle, registration 116 FDH. FDH is a Walsall-area registration of 1959-onwards, which may give a clue as to the location and possibly the event due to take place. In May 1962, the Queen toured the Midlands and popped into towns such as Wolverhampton and Walsall, so perhaps this photo was of that visit?
I doubt that the "three-penny bit" Morris FG lorry, visible in the distance, is the object of everyone's interest.
And what, I wonder, became of Bentley registration UU 8? A quick check online shows no car currently registered with that number, so did it succumb to rot, or perhaps an accident, or was it exported and the number lost forever? Maybe someone recognises the car and/or the number and can fill in its history...?
Rear view of an S1 standard steel saloon
Return to Page 17 in the vintage gallery.
Other photographs of interesting Bentleys include a shot of an S3 Continental, being loaded into a "car train".

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