HONOURARY MEMBERS - mph 683 december 2005
As a relative newcomer to the VOC, having only joined in 1999, I have often wondered about the stories
behind the awarding of Honorary Membership to those that are listed each month in MPH. Some of them I have
come across in my readings of various books and back copies of MPH, but I think that it would be interesting to
current members if more was known of the recipients and their importance in the history of the VOC. Is there
any chance that a series of short articles could be commissioned from Someone That Knows, giving more of an
insight into the characters involved?
Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, UK John Smith-Daye
MPH 686 march 2006 page 20
More On Honourary Members
John Smith-Day asks for some information about the Honorary Members. It hadn’t occurred
to me that Members wouldn’t know the names inside the front cover – but that probably just
indicates that I’ve been in this Club for too long. Actually I did have in mind a project to go
through the Club’s ‘Riders Roll of Honour’, some of whom have become much more obscure
with the passing of time, and could do with an airing. However, John is right, so the Honorary
Members might be a better place to start? So I started, and, would you believe, it isn’t as easy
as that. The Club has been around a long time, and it turns out to be harder than you might
think to trace all of our honoured Members. Of course, in some cases this is because are no
longer with us, but in the earliest days, they were elected year by year, but not listed in MPH,
and maybe forgotten when re-election or publishing came around. In those days, too, worthies
were raised to Vice president, and what of the early holders of that position? So maybe I should
start ‘at the top’.
The story is pieced together as best I can from MPH and a few other sources, and my own
(very poor) memory, so I apologise for any mistakes or omissions.
The Club has had three Presidents.
Philip Conrad Vincent
Issue no. 1 of MPH lists Philip C. Vincent A.M.I.A.E., A.M.I.P.E. as president. There could
hardly have been any other choice than the man who gave his name to the company, and our
machines. Neither does it seem necessary to give any details of P.C.V. since most Members
will know the story, but in the event that you do not then the following bibliography would
The Vincent HRD Story, Roy Harper, Vincent Publishing Co., 1975.
P.C.V. The Autobiography of Philip Vincent, Vincent Publishing Company, 1976.
Tales of the Snarling Beast, Philip Conrad Vincent, Motorcycle Sport, Nov.’66 continuing
(through Drawing Board to full bore, etc.) to mid 1970.
P.C.V. remained the Club’s President until he died in March 1979 – by this time listed as
C.Eng. M.I.Mech.E. A.M.I.P.E., for ‘Chartered engineer’, Member of the Institution of
Mechanical Engineers’ – successors to the Automotive engineers, and Associate member of the
Institution of Production Engineers.
Philip Edward Irving.
P.C.V. was succeeded as President by Phil Irving from the 1979 AGM, the earliest occasion
that the Club had to discuss a new President.
Philip E. Irving, M.I.Mech.E., M.S.A.E., Int.A.M.I.P.E., had been listed as the Club’s Vice
President from MPH no. 1 in 1949. This, too, was a fairly obvious choice, and Phil Irving’s contribution
to the design and stature of Vincent-HRD hardly needs outlining. From his arrival in
the UK, on the back of John Gill’s ‘round the world’ Vincent-HRD, P.E.I. came and went at the
factory, but nevertheless managed to be the major engineering influence. Again, those who do
not know enough might read some of his books such as:
Phil Irving an autobiography, Turton and Armstrong, 1992.
Tuning for Speed, published in various editions from 1948 to at least the 1970s, and the
motorcycle tuner’s ‘bible’ throughout that period.
Motorcycle Engineering, also produced in various editions, including Clymer,
Motorcycle Technicalities, replicating many of P.E.I.’s articles for ‘MotorCycling’ as ‘Slide
Rule’. re-published by Turton and Armstrong, 1983,
P.E.I. actively served the Club, writing many times in MPH, and had many achievements
to his credit subsequent to his Stevenage days, including the Formula 1 Grand Prix winning
Repco Brabham engine design, which was a major factor in gaining his award of a
M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire), so that his final MPH listing read Philip E. Irving
M.B.E., F.I.Mech.E., M.S.A.E.Aust. (Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers,
Member of the Society of Automobile Engineers Australia – I presume). Philip Irving died
on Jan 14, 1992.
Following on from Phil Irving, the Club elected Bryan Phillips as President, and it is his
name that appears in MPH from December 1992 to the present. Bryan had previously
served as the Club’s Chairman from 1966 to 1991, in other words a full 25 years! Not only
that, but Bryan had previously served in one of the most onerous of Club posts, that of secretary,
having taken on the job as ‘acting secretary’ in the wake of a major Club trauma in
mid 1960, and also of Social secretary. In addition to this there are many other jobs Bryan
has done for the Club, internationally, nationally, and at a local level (especially in the
Aldershot Section). Bryan, of course, still takes a very active part in all aspects of the Club,
and makes himself available for most Club business meetings (Exec. and G.C.M), as well as
writing regularly in MPH, so that he should be a familiar figure to all, and need no further
Patron: Deidre Vincent-Day
The position of ‘Patron’ is relatively new, first appearing in MPH for December 2002. It
arose out of a concern by the Club to retain a formal contact with the Vincent family. Since
the passing of PCV, and then his wife Freda, only informal contact had existed. As a result
of discussions at the 2002 AGM, and an approach by the Exec. Deidre Vincent-Day has filled
the position of Patron. Deidre is the only daughter of Phil and Freda Vincent, and took the
name Vincent-Day on her marriage to Robin Day. Deidre and family have attended a number
of events, sometimes even by Vincent, but Deidre has a profession, and a son, to look
after and cannot spare as much time as we might like. It is to be hoped that young Philip
will retain a continuing interest in his family heritage, and that the VOC will play a part in
keeping it bright.
Founder member: W. Alan Jackson
The name of Alan Jackson is another that appears on the cover of MPH no. 1, although only
in the post of Hon. Secretary. To Alan, however, we all owe our Club, as it was Alan who started
the ball rolling by circulating a letter proposing a Club, late in 1949, and it was from that
‘acorn’ that the VOC has grown.
As Hon. Sec. it was Alan that got the Club onto a sound footing, already in the third MPH a
healthy Membership was apparent, and he announced that the VOC was ACU affiliated, a dis-
count was available from the RAC, an Isle of Man HQ was organised, and Avon had presented
their Avon Trophy – still the Club’s major sporting trophy to this day. Alan worked at Kings of
Oxford, which was a major Vincent dealer at the time, and, like many of the owners of the time,
was young and keen on the sporting side of ownership – MPH used to have a regular feature
entitled ‘H R Deeds’.
Alan continued as secretary until April 1952, only to have his ‘rest’ interrupted later in
the year when he stood in as acting Chairman, until Bill Hindes took over (a name we
shall meet again). Afterwards Alan became interested in sailing, and spent much of his
time in the Mediterranean, and had only sporadic interaction with the Club thereafter –
such as in 1965 when a proposed spares funding arrangement led to an EGM of the Club,
which he attended.
In recognition of his contribution to the Club, the fourth AGM in 1952, voted Alan a Vicepresident
of the Club, which remained the position until 1981 when the Club rules were revised
regarding Vice-presidents (with a 5 year tenure). Although Alan’s vice-presidency was not in
question, and he was very active in the affair, he did not feel able to do other than maintain
unity with some other VPs of his era who resigned their positions. Fortunately for the VOC he
did feel able to continue his association with the Club as its ‘founder’. Although Alan died in
1992, his name continues to be listed in MPH as the ‘founder member’ in his memory and in
recognition of his part in the VOC story.
That’s enough for now, so next time, the Vice-presidents. s