David Charles Purley

David Charles Purley

Birth
Chichester, Chichester District, West Sussex, England
Death 2 Jul 1985 (aged 40)
At Sea
Burial West Itchenor, Chichester District, West Sussex, England
Memorial ID 13641521 · View Source
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Motor racing driver. David Charles Purley GM (George Medal) was born in Bognor Regis, Sussex, the son of a wealthy refrigerator manufacturer; joined the Army and became an officer in the Parachute Regiment seeing action in Aden.He began racing in 1968 in an AC Cobra. By 1970 he'd begun single seater racing in a Brabham BT23, his team being called Lec Refrigeration Racing after the family business. In 1972 he competed in F2 in a March 722. He made his F1 debute in a March 731 in the 1973 Monaco GP. Later that year he attempted to rescue fellow driver Roger Williamson from an upturned, burning car at the Dutch GP at Zandvoort - Williamson died - and he was awarded the George Medal, UKs highest civilian award for bravery. He turned his back on F1 and started to race in F5000 and in 1975 won six out of thirteen races to win the British F5000 title.During the 1976/77 winter, he commissioned Mike Pilbeam to design him an F1 car, the Lec, with which he qualified in a number of races, however a sticking throttle at Silverstone caused him to crash with enormous ferocity. Purley was subjected to the highest G-forces ever survived by a human being - 179.8G - when the car went from 108mph to zero in half a metre. It took many months for him to bravely recover from multiple fractures of his legs, pelvis and ribs. He returned to racing but after a few events, he retired to run the family business and enjoy his areoplane. A long time pilot he crashed his Pitts Special stunt plane into the sea off Bognor Regis with fatal results.


Family Members


  • Created by: Paul Narramore
  • Added: 17 Mar 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 13641521
  • Jane
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for David Charles Purley (26 Jan 1945–2 Jul 1985), Find a Grave Memorial no. 13641521, citing St Nicholas Churchyard, West Itchenor, Chichester District, West Sussex, England ; Maintained by Paul Narramore (contributor 46601741) .