TQ2272 : The gravestone of the racing driver Dick Seaman at Putney Vale Cemetery

taken 1 year ago, near to Roehampton, Wandsworth, Great Britain

The gravestone of the racing driver Dick Seaman at Putney Vale Cemetery
The gravestone of the racing driver Dick Seaman at Putney Vale Cemetery
Dick Seaman was born on 4th February 1913 at Chichester and was one of the greatest pre-war Grand Prix drivers. He famously drove for the Mercedes-Benz team from 1937-1939 in the Mercedes-Benz W125 car, winning the 1938 German Grand Prix. Seaman was born into a wealthy family and developed an enthusiasm for motoring in his childhood. After studying at Rugby School and Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1934 he resolved to become a racing driver and took his MG car to the European mainland to gain experience. He won the Voiturette race of the Swiss Grand Prix event at Bremgarten at his first attempt. He won other small races and eventually Mercedes team chief Alfred Neubauer invited him for a trial at the Nürburgring. Both Silver Arrows teams used to have at least one foreign driver, if available. In 1937 he signed for Mercedes-Benz against the wishes of his mother, who did not want him to drive for a “Nazi” team.

Having a solid start to his career with Mercedes in 1937, he excelled in the 1938 season - he won the 1938 German Grand Prix and came second in the 1938 Swiss Grand Prix. In December 1938 he married Erica Popp, the daughter of the director of BMW, again against his mother’s wishes. Leading the 1939 Belgian Grand Prix on 25th June at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps during a wet race, he crashed his car into a tree during lap 22. It is thought he was using a line through a corner that was only normally used in the dry. On his death bed he remarked to the Mercedes chief engineer, “I was going too fast for the conditions - it was entirely my own fault. I am sorry”. He died some hours after, at just 26 years of age, as Mercedes’ only fatality during that time. After Seaman’s death, Mercedes-Benz dealerships world - wide were ordered to display his photograph in their windows.

At the service itself in Putney Vale, the Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union teams were present along with the German Ambassador and other dignitaries. It was said that the German contingent kept a low profile but many accounts remarked upon the gigantic wreath of white lilies with a red sash and a swastika, bearing the inscription ‘Adolf Hitler’. The cemetery authorities have confirmed that Mercedes-Benz has always tended the grave as Hitler had asked. It has been said that maintaining Seaman’s grave is probably the last of Hitler’s direct orders that is still being carried out.

For the full fascinating story of Dick Seaman see LinkExternal link and LinkExternal link and LinkExternal link

For a photograph of the grave itself see Link
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TQ2272, 126 images   (more nearby search)
Photographer
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 11 March, 2020   (more nearby)
Submitted
Tuesday, 17 March, 2020
Geographical Context
People, Events  Burial ground, Crematorium 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TQ 2246 7258 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:26.3393N 0:14.3701W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TQ 2247 7258
View Direction
West-southwest (about 247 degrees)
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Cemetery  Grave  Racing Driver 

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