On this day in auto history - July 27th

Tue 27th Jul 2021

It was on this day 1945 that 73-year-old Labour MP Alfred Dobbs was tragically killed in a car accident, the very day after it had been declared that he had won the seat as a Member of Parliament for Smethwick.

At the time of his death, the veteran trade unionist had not even taken his seat nor had he been sworn in. What makes the story even more poignant is that - after decades of trying - he had finally achieved his life's ambition, having failed to get elected in the 1929, 1931 and 1935 general elections.

Dobbs - famed for his outspoken tirades at TUC conferences - was killed instantly when his car was involved in a collision with a military vehicle on the outskirts of Doncaster. His co-passenger Elsie Marshall later died in hospital from her injuries sustained in the smash which reportedly occurred when Dobbs swerved suddenly to avoid a rushing child.

The news of Dobbs’ sudden death came as a sobering blow to Clement Attlee’s new Labour government but, ironically, Dobbs’ successor - Patrick Gordon Walker - was to go on to enjoy a long, 30-year parliamentary career, even rising to the position of Foreign Secretary in Harold Wilson’s Cabinet during the early 1960’s.