Sir Alfred Rawlinson, 3rd Baronet
Colonel Sir Toby Alfred Rawlinson, 3rd Baronet, was an English pioneer motorist and aviator and intelligence officer, sportsman. Alfred was the second son of Major-General Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, 1st Baronet, a soldier and expert in Persian antiquities, his mother was the daughter of Henry Seymour the Tory MP for Taunton. Two uncles, Henry Danby Seymour and Alfred Seymour were MPs, his older brother became General Henry Rawlinson, 1st Baron Rawlinson, who masterminded the Battle of Amiens and the Hundred Days Offensive that brought World War I to a close. Alfred, known to family and friends as "Toby", was born on 17 January 1867 at the family home in Charles Street, Mayfair, in the West End of London, he was educated at Eton College and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, after which he obtained a commission as a Lieutenant in the 17th Lancers. Rawlinson was a polo player in the 1900 Summer Olympics, he was a keen motor racing driver, resigning from the army to concentrate on the sport.
He took part in the 1908 Isle of Man RAC Tourist Trophy race. On 5 April 1910 he became only the third person in the United Kingdom to hold a Royal Aero Club aviators certificate. At the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, Rawlinson was 47 and too old to be called up as a reservist, he therefore offered himself and his Hudson sports car to the Royal Automobile Club, who were assembling an "RAC Corps of Volunteer Motor Drivers". Rawlinson was one of twenty five car owners selected to accompany the British Expeditionary Force to the continent to act as chauffeurs and dispatch carriers for the General Staff, he and the other drivers worked with the British Army in the first battles of the war, his car being adapted by the addition of a machine gun and a Union Jack. By October, he had been transferred to a staff position with IV Corps and had been given the rank of colonel by Sir John French, despite having left the cavalry as a subaltern, his driving exploits were described in his Adventures on the Western Front August, 1914 – June, 1915.
On 9 May 1915, he was injured by a German heavy shell at the Battle of Aubers Ridge and returned to England. While recovering at home on 20 June, he was visited by a staff officer from the War Office with a message stating that commissions could not be issued in the field and that he could not consider himself an officer. Despite being "hurt to the soul" by the manner of his dismissal, Rawlinson went straight to the Admiralty and volunteered his services. On 20 June 1915, he was appointed Lieutenant-Commander of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and tasked with raising a new squadron of the RNAS Armoured Car Section. However, in August, he was interviewed by Commodore Murray Sueter RN, the commander of London's anti-aircraft defences. Owing to previous experience in the air defence of Paris, Rawlinson was "invited", in his spare time, to suggest improvements to the weapons and ammunition in use, as they had proved ineffective in the first Zeppelin attacks on London in the previous weeks. In September, he was placed under the direct command of Admiral Sir Percy Scott, ordered to establish the London Air Defence Area.
Rawlinson was tasked with forming a mobile anti-aircraft battery, using picked men from his armoured car squadron. He set off at once to France, in the hope of obtaining an example of the lorry mounted Autocanon de 75 mm mle 1913 anti-aircraft gun and had returned to London with one within 72 hours; this weapon became the nucleus of the Royal Naval Anti-Aircraft Mobile Brigade under Rawlinson's personal command. The Brigade was armed with four French 75mm, two QF 3 inch 20 cwt, eight QF 3 pounder Vickers guns with four powerful searchlights, all mounted on lorries. Operating from the stables at Kenwood House, the guns could be rushed to prepared positions around the capital at short notice; when the Army took over the air defence of London in February 1916, the RNVR continued to operate the mobile guns under Army command. In August 1916, the Brigade relocated to Norfolk, with the intention of intercepting the Zeppelins as they crossed the coast. Throughout this time, Rawlinson was continually refining the techniques of anti-aircraft gunnery, claimed to have pioneered the use of acoustic location in detecting aircraft hidden by cloud.
In January 1917, the Brigade moved to the coast of Essex to counter the threat from German aeroplanes. In May 1917, Rawlinson was offered command of the newly created Western Sub-Command of the London defences, which required a transfer back to the Army, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, his new command consisted of 36 searchlight positions. He commanded these assets during the heavy air raids of late 1917. In January 1918, Rawlinson tendered his resignation and sought a post in pursuance of "an ardent desire to once more get a little closer to the enemy". In February, he obtained a transfer to the Intelligence Corps with the rank of Colonel. Assignments include tours of duty in the Caucasus and Eastern Anatolia during 1918–1922, his mission was to guard the Tiflis-Baku railway, to oversee the demobilizing Turkish forces. Under Lionel Dunsterville, he was sent on a mission to the Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus. On his last assignment, to establish whether Turkey was obeying the armistice conditions, he and his party were held prisoner in Erzurum by the Turkish authorities, placing the British Government in an awkward position because his elder brother was a placed milita
British Grand Prix
The British Grand Prix is a race in the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship. It is held at the Silverstone Circuit near the village of Silverstone in Northamptonshire in England; the 2018 event was the 69th time that the race had been run as a World Championship event since the inaugural season in 1950, the 52nd time that a World Championship round had been held at Silverstone. The British race is the oldest in the Formula One calendar as the 1950 race at Silverstone was round one of the first championship season in 1950, it and the Italian Grand Prix are the only two Formula One World Championship Grands Prix that have been staged during every season that the championship has been held. It was designated the European Grand Prix five times between 1950 and 1977, when this title was an honorary designation given each year to one Grand Prix race in Europe. All British Grands Prix dating back to 1926 have been held in England. Since 1948, it has been customary that the winner of the race is awarded the British Grand Prix Trophy.
The concrete Brooklands oval was built in 1907 near Weybridge in Surrey, located just outside the British capital of London. It was the first purpose-built motor racing venue, as well as one of the first airfields in the United Kingdom. Grand Prix motor racing was first established in Britain by Henry Segrave in 1926 after his winning of the 1923 French Grand Prix and the San Sebastián Grand Prix the following year, which raised interest in the sport; the first British Grand Prix was won by the French team of Louis Wagner and Robert Sénéchal driving a Delage 155B. The second British Grand Prix was held at Brooklands in 1927. Several non-championship races known as the Donington Grand Prix were held at Donington Park which attracted the best European teams in 1937 and 1938, where the German Mercedes and Auto Unions dominated the proceedings. Drivers such as German Bernd Rosemeyer and Italian Tazio Nuvolari won this race. Brooklands had been damaged by the onset of World War II and the circuit was abandoned.
Most new British circuits were being built on disused Royal Air Force airfields, Silverstone, located in Northamptonshire in central England, was one of those circuits. It staged its first race, the Royal Automobile Club International Grand Prix on 2 October 1948, won by Italian Luigi Villoresi in a Maserati. In 1949, the circuit was modified and made fast. In 1950, the World Championship of Drivers was introduced, the 1950 British Grand Prix was the first World Championship Formula One race held, with new regulations and 6 other races in Europe; this race was won by Alfa Romeo driver Giuseppe "Nino" Farina. King George VI was among the attendees of the race; the 1951 race was exciting, as it was the first F1 race not won by an Alfa Romeo. For the 1952 event, the original pits between Abbey and Woodcote was demolished. A new pit complex was constructed between Copse corners. In 1955, the Formula One circus began to alternate between Silverstone and the Aintree circuit, located on the Grand National horse racing course near Liverpool.
Mercedes drivers Juan Manuel Fangio and home favourite Stirling Moss arrived at Aintree expecting to win. They took the lead at the start and the two drivers battled throughout, Moss passed Fangio on the 26th lap, but he didn't, Moss won his first Formula One race on home soil. Moss asked Fangio "did you let me through?" and the Argentine replied "No. You were better than me that day." Mercedes romped to the finish 1-2-3-4, with German Karl Kling and Italian Piero Taruffi finishing 3rd and 4th. The even-numbered years were at Silverstone and the odd numbered and 1962 were at Aintree. 1956 saw Fangio win in a Ferrari, 1957 returned to see Moss win again in a Vanwall. This was the first Grand Prix victory for a British-built car- Formula One would soon be made up of British teams. 1958 was when Peter Collins won in a Ferrari and Bernie Ecclestone was entered in a Connaught but his car was driven by Jack Fairman. The last race at Aintree was in 1962. 1964 saw the first Formula One race at the southern English circuit known as Brands Hatch, located in Kent, just outside London.
The track was built in the early 1950s and had been extended in 1960. Silverstone hosted the British Grand Prix in odd-numbered years and Brands Hatch in even-numbered years. Like Silverstone, the circuit was popular with drivers, unlike the flat Northamptonshire circuit and Aintree, Brands Hatch had many cambered corners and lots of elevation change. Like the year before at Silverstone, Clark won the 1964 race, the next year's race. 1967 saw Clark take yet another dominant win, 1968 saw a monumental battle between Swiss Jo Siffert in a Lotus and New Zealander Chris Amon in a Ferrari.
Prince Michael of Kent
Prince Michael of Kent, is a member of the British royal family. He is a paternal first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, being a grandson of King George V and Queen Mary, he is 47th in the line of succession to the British throne, but at the time of his birth was seventh in the line of succession. Prince Michael represents the Queen at some functions in Commonwealth realms outside the United Kingdom. Otherwise, he manages his own consultancy business and undertakes various commercial work around the world, he has presented some television documentaries on the royal families of Europe. Prince Michael was born during the Second World War on 4 July 1942, at Coppins, Buckinghamshire, he was the third child of Prince George, Duke of Kent, a son of King George V and Queen Mary and a younger brother of King George VI. At the time of his birth Michael was seventh in the line of Succession to the British throne, his mother was Princess Marina, a daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia.
At his christening on 4 August 1942 in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle, his godparents were: his paternal uncle the King. Because of the war, newspaper reports did not identify the location of the christening and said instead that it took place at "a private chapel in the country". Just seven weeks after Michael's birth, his father was killed in a plane crash near Caithness, Scotland, on 25 August 1942. At the age of five, Prince Michael was a page boy at the wedding of his cousins, Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, he was educated at Eton College. Besides being fluent in French and having a "working knowledge" of German and Italian, he was the first member of the royal family to learn Russian. Prince Michael entered the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in January 1961, from where he was commissioned into the 11th Hussars, in 1963, he served in The Royal Hussars after the 1969 amalgamation between the 11th Hussars and the 10th Royal Hussars, he saw service in Germany, Hong Kong, Cyprus, where his squadron formed part of a United Nations peacekeeping force in 1971.
Subsequent tours of duty, during a military career that spanned twenty years, included a number of appointments on the Defence Intelligence Staff. He retired from the Army with the rank of Major in 1981. In 1994, Prince Michael was made Honorary Commodore of the Royal Naval Reserve, in 2002, he was made Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Benson. From 2009 to 2012, he was Regimental Colonel of the Honourable Artillery Company and has been, since 31 January 2012, Royal Honorary Colonel of that regiment, he is Colonel-in-Chief of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment in Canada. As the third child of George V's fourth son, it was not expected that Prince Michael, as the only second son in the extended royal family, would undertake many engagements on behalf of the royal family, he has performed official duties in the Commonwealth realms other than the United Kingdom and has represented the Queen abroad. He has, never received a parliamentary annuity or an allowance from the British Privy Purse, unlike both his elder brother, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, his sister, Princess Alexandra, who both carry out official royal duties in the United Kingdom and receive British parliamentary annuities.
The Prince was given a grace and favour apartment at Kensington Palace upon his marriage in 1978. Prince Michael has represented the Queen at state funerals in India and Swaziland and, with his wife, Princess Michael of Kent, represented the Queen at the independence celebrations in Belize, at the Coronation of King Mswati III of Swaziland. Prince Michael supports a large number of organisations; some of his patronages and presidencies include: the Kennel Club, Children's Burns Trust, Maritime Volunteer Service, the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, Life Saving Society, Royal Automobile Club, National Eye Research Centre, Motor Sports Association, Brooklands Museum Trust, the Light Aircraft Association. On 30 June 1978, Prince Michael was married, at a civil ceremony, at the Rathaus, Austria, to Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz, the only daughter of the Silesian nobleman Baron Gunther Hubertus von Reibnitz and of his Austro-Hungarian wife, Maria Anna Carolina Franziska Walpurga Bernadette, Countess Szapáry de Muraszombath, Széchysziget et Szapár.
After receiving Pope John Paul II's permission, the couple received a blessing of their marriage in a Roman Catholic ceremony on 29 June 1983 at Archbishop's House, London. At the time of the marriage, Marie Christine von Reibnitz was not only a Roman Catholic, but a divorcée, she had been married to the banker Thomas Troubridge. Under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701, Prince Michael forfeited his place in the line of succession to the throne through his marriage to a Roman Catholic, he was re
A club is an association of two or more people united by a common interest or goal. A service club, for example, exists for charitable activities. There are clubs devoted to hobbies and sports, social activities clubs and religious clubs, so forth. Clubs occurred in all ancient states of which we have detailed knowledge. Once people started living together in larger groups, there was need for people with a common interest to be able to associate despite having no ties of kinship. Organizations of the sort have existed for many years, as evidenced by Ancient Greek clubs and associations in Ancient Rome, it is uncertain whether the use of the word "club" originated in its meaning of a knot of people, or from the fact that the members “clubbed” together to pay the expenses of their gatherings. The oldest English clubs were informal periodic gatherings of friends for the purpose of dining or drinking with one another. Thomas Occleve mentions. In 1659 John Aubrey wrote, “We now use the word clubbe for a sodality in a tavern.”
Of early clubs the most famous, was the Bread Street or Friday Street Club that met at the Mermaid Tavern on the first Friday of each month. John Selden, John Donne, John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont were among the members. Another such club, founded by Ben Jonson, met at the Devil Tavern near Temple Bar in London; the word “club,” in the sense of an association to promote good-fellowship and social intercourse, became common in England at the time of Tatler and The Spectator. With the introduction of coffee-drinking in the middle of the 17th century, clubs entered on a more permanent phase; the coffee houses of the Stuart period are the real originals of the modern clubhouse. The clubs of the late 17th and early 18th century type resembled their Tudor forerunners in being oftenest associations for conviviality or literary coteries, but many were confessedly political, e.g. The Rota, or Coffee Club, a debating society for the spread of republican ideas, broken up at the Restoration in 1660, the Calves Head Club and the Green Ribbon Club.
The characteristics of all these clubs were: No permanent financial bond between the members, each man's liability ending for the time being when he had paid his “score” after the meal. No permanent clubhouse, though each clique tended to make some special coffee house or tavern their headquarters; these coffee-house clubs soon became hotbeds of political scandal-mongering and intriguing, in 1675 King Charles II issued a proclamation which ran: “His Majesty hath thought fit and necessary that coffee houses be put down and suppressed,” because “in such houses divers false and scandalous reports are devised and spread abroad to the Defamation of his Majesty’s Government and to the Disturbance of Peace and Quiet of the Realm.” So unpopular was this proclamation that it was instantly found necessary to withdraw it, by Anne’s reign the coffee-house club was a feature of England’s social life. See English coffeehouses in the 17th and 18th centuries; the idea of the club developed in two directions.
One was of a permanent institution with a fixed clubhouse. The London coffeehouse clubs in increasing their members absorbed the whole accommodation of the coffeehouse or tavern where they held their meetings, this became the clubhouse retaining the name of the original innkeeper, e.g. White's, Brooks's, Arthur's, Boodle's; these still exist today as the famous gentlemen's clubs. The peripatetic lifestyle of the 18th and 19th century middle classes drove the development of more residential clubs, which had bedrooms and other facilities. Military and naval officers, judges, members of Parliament and government officials tended to have an irregular presence in the major cities of the Empire London, spending a few months there before moving on for a prolonged period and returning; when this presence did not coincide with the Season, a permanent establishment in the city, or the opening of a townhouse was inconvenient or uneconomic, while hotels were rare and déclassé. Clubbing with a number of like-minded friends to secure a large shared house with a manager was therefore a convenient solution.
The other sort of club meets or periodically and has no clubhouse, but exists for some specific object. Such are the many purely athletic and pastimes clubs, the Alpine, chess and motor clubs. There are literary clubs and art clubs, publishing clubs; the name of “club” has been annexed by a large group of associations which fall between the club proper and friendly societies, of a purely periodic and temporary nature, such as slate and Christmas clubs, which do not need to be registered under the Friendly Societies Act. The institution of the gentleman's club has spread all over the English-speaking world. Many of those who energised the Scottish Enlightenment were members of the Poker Club in Edinburgh. In the United States clubs were first established after the War of Independence. One of the first was the Hoboken Turtle Club, which still survived as of 1911. In former British Empire colonies like India and Pakistan they are known as Gymkhana; the earliest clubs on the European con
Surrey is a subdivision of the English region of South East England in the United Kingdom. A historic and ceremonial county, Surrey is one of the home counties; the county borders Kent to the east, East Sussex and West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, Berkshire to the northwest, Greater London to the northeast. Inhabited by about 1.2 million people, Surrey is the twelfth most populous English county, both the third most populous home county and the third most populous county in the South East. Guildford is considered to be the county town; however despite the town's designation, Surrey County Council has never been based there, being instead seated throughout its history in London. Since the borders of Surrey were altered in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963 which created Greater London, none of these places are now in Surrey, marking an example of a de facto capital, located outside of its administrative area. Surrey is divided into eleven districts: Elmbridge and Ewell, Mole Valley and Banstead, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, Tandridge and Woking.
Services such as roads, mineral extraction licensing, strategic waste and recycling infrastructure, birth and death registration, social and children's services are administered by Surrey County Council. The London boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and small parts of Lewisham and Bromley were in Surrey until 1889. Since the 1965 reform the bordering boroughs of the capital have been those taken from it in 1965 plus Bromley and Hounslow; the form of Surrey which remains since 1965 is a wealthy county due to economic, aesthetic and logistical factors. It has the highest GDP per capita of any English county, some of the highest property values outside Inner London and the highest cost of living in the UK outside of the capital. Surrey has the highest proportion of woodland in England, having been rural since it was shorn in 1965 of the urbanised swathes of South London which had hitherto been part of the county, it has large protected green spaces. It has four racecourses in horse racing, the most of any Home County and as at 2013 contained 141 golf courses including international competition venue Wentworth.
Surrey has proximity to London and to Heathrow and Gatwick airports, along with access to major arterial road routes including the M25, M3 and M23 and frequent rail services into Central London. Surrey is divided in two by the chalk ridge of the North Downs; the ridge is pierced by the rivers Wey and Mole, tributaries of the Thames, which formed the northern border of the county before modern redrawing of county boundaries, which has left part of its north bank within the county. To the north of the Downs the land is flat, forming part of the basin of the Thames; the geology of this area is dominated by London Clay in the east, Bagshot Sands in the west and alluvial deposits along the rivers. To the south of the Downs in the western part of the county are the sandstone Surrey Hills, while further east is the plain of the Low Weald, rising in the extreme southeast to the edge of the hills of the High Weald; the Downs and the area to the south form part of a concentric pattern of geological deposits which extends across southern Kent and most of Sussex, predominantly composed of Wealden Clay, Lower Greensand and the chalk of the Downs.
Much of Surrey is in the Metropolitan Green Belt. It contains valued reserves of mature woodland. Among its many notable beauty spots are Box Hill, Leith Hill, Frensham Ponds, Newlands Corner and Puttenham & Crooksbury Commons. Surrey is the most wooded county in England, with 22.4% coverage compared to a national average of 11.8% and as such is one of the few counties not to recommend new woodlands in the subordinate planning authorities' plans. Box Hill has the oldest untouched area of natural woodland in one of the oldest in Europe. Surrey contains England's principal concentration of lowland heath, on sandy soils in the west of the county. Agriculture not being intensive, there are many commons and access lands, together with an extensive network of footpaths and bridleways including the North Downs Way, a scenic long-distance path. Accordingly, Surrey provides many rural and semi-rural leisure activities, with a large horse population in modern terms; the highest elevation in Surrey is Leith Hill near Dorking.
It is 294 m above sea level and is the second highest point in southeastern England after Walbury Hill in West Berkshire, 297 m. Surrey has a population of 1.1 million people. Its largest town is Guildford, with a population of 77,057, they are followed by Ewell with 39,994 people and Camberley with 30,155. Towns of between 25,000 and 30,000 inhabitants are Ashford, Farnham and Redhill. Guildford is the historic county town, although the county administration was moved to Newington in 1791 and to Kingston upon Thames in 1893; the county counc
The War Office was a Department of the British Government responsible for the administration of the British Army between 1857 and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence. It was equivalent to the Admiralty, responsible for the Royal Navy, the Air Ministry, which oversaw the Royal Air Force; the name "War Office" is given to the former home of the department, the War Office building, located at the junction of Horse Guards Avenue and Whitehall in central London. Prior to 1855'War Office' signified the office of the Secretary at War. In the 17th and 18th centuries a number of independent offices and individuals were responsible for various aspects of Army administration; the most important were the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, the Secretary at War and the twin Secretaries of State. Others who performed specialist functions were the controller of army accounts, the Army Medical Board, the Commissariat Department, the Board of General Officers, the Judge Advocate General of the Armed Forces, the Commissary General of Muster, the Paymaster General of the forces and the Home Office.
The term War Department was used for the separate office of the Secretary of State for War. The War Office developed from the Council of War, an ad hoc grouping of the King and his senior military commanders which managed the Kingdom of England's frequent wars and campaigns; the management of the War Office was directed by the Secretary at War, whose role had originated during the reign of King Charles II as the secretary to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. In the latter part of the 17th century the office of Commander-in-Chief was vacant for several lengths of time, which left the Secretary at War answering directly to the Sovereign; the department of the Secretary at War was referred to as the'Warr Office' from as early as 1694. After Blathwayt's retirement in 1704 Secretary at War became a political office. In political terms it was a minor government job which dealt with the minutiae of administration rather than grand strategy; the Secretary, a member of the House of Commons presented the House with the Army Estimates and spoke on other military matters as required.
In symbolic terms he was seen as signifying parliamentary control over the Army. Issues of strategic policy during wartime were managed by the Southern Departments. From 1704 to 1855, the job of Secretary remained occupied by a minister of the second rank. Many of his responsibilities were transferred to the Secretary of State for War after the creation of that more senior post during 1794. In February 1855 the new Secretary of State for War was additionally commissioned as Secretary at War, thus giving the Secretary of State oversight of the War Office in addition to his own Department; the same procedure was followed for each of his successors, until the office of Secretary at War was abolished altogether in 1863). During 1855 the Board of Ordnance was abolished as a result of its perceived poor performance during the Crimean War; this powerful independent body, dating from the 15th century, had been directed by the Master-General of the Ordnance a senior military officer, a member of the Cabinet.
The disastrous campaigns of the Crimean War resulted in the consolidation of all administrative duties during 1855 as subordinate to the Secretary of State for War, a Cabinet job. He was not, however responsible for the Army; this was reduced in theory by the reforms introduced by Edward Cardwell during 1870, which subordinated the Commander-in-Chief to the Secretary for War. In practice, however, a huge amount of influence was retained by the exceedingly conservative Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Prince George, 2nd Duke of Cambridge, who had the job between 1856 and 1895, his resistance to reform caused military efficiency to lag well behind that of Britain's rivals, a problem which became obvious during the Second Boer War. The situation was only remedied during 1904 when the job of Commander-in-Chief was abolished and replaced with that of the Chief of the General Staff, replaced by the job of Chief of the Imperial General Staff during 1908. An Army Council was created with a format similar to that of the Board of Admiralty, directed by the Secretary of State for War, an Imperial General Staff was established to coordinate Army administration.
The creation of the Army Council was recommended by the War Office Committee, formally appointed by Letters Patent dated 8 February 1904 and by Royal Warrant dated
RAC Limited is a British automotive services company headquartered in Walsall, West Midlands. Its principal services are roadside assistance and general insurance, its subsidiaries include RAC Motoring Services Ltd, RAC Financial Services Ltd and RAC Insurance Limited; the RAC emerged as the "Associate Section" of the Royal Automobile Club founded at the turn of the 20th century, it was incorporated as R. A. C. Motoring Services Ltd. in 1978. It was sold by the members of the Royal Automobile Club to Lex Service Plc in April 1999, which subsequently renamed itself RAC Plc. In March 2005, RAC Plc was acquired by Aviva, therefore delisted. Aviva sold the RAC to the Carlyle Group in June 2011. Although Carlyle had planned a stock market flotation for the RAC, in September 2014, Carlyle agreed to sell half its stake to Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC Private Limited. In December 2015, Carlyle agreed to sell its remaining stake to CVC Capital Partners in a transaction valuing the RAC at £1.4 billion.
The RAC's main competitors are The Green Flag. The Royal Automobile Club was formed in 1897 by Frederick Richard Simms, which set up an "associate section" to assist members with roadside assistance and to provide motoring services; the club incorporated the associate section as R. A. C. Motoring Services Ltd. in 1978. In 1987, the organisation introduced an "Advanced Computer Aided Rescue System". In 1991, it established the RAC Foundation as its research arm; the RAC Foundation was turned into a charity, received a legacy from Royal Automobile Club members when R. A. C. Motoring Services Ltd. was sold. British School of Motoring was purchased by R. A. C. Motoring Services Ltd. in December 1998. In September 1999, R. A. C. Motoring Services was itself purchased by Lex Service Plc from members of the Royal Automobile Club. Lex Service renamed themselves RAC Plc in 2002. In October 2000, RAC purchased I/CAD from Intergraph to provide advanced graphical command and control capabilities; the National Customer Service Awards' recognized the system with the'Best Use of Technology in Customer Service' award in October 2004.
Aviva Plc acquired RAC Plc for around £1.1 billion in March 2005. They went on to raise around £500m from selling some parts of the business, such as RAC Auto Windscreens in December 2008, BSM to a German company in January 2009. BSM has since been sold to Acromas Holdings. Aviva Plc ceased providing loans under the RAC brand name in January 2008, dissolved its partnership with the Co-operative Bank Plc. Aviva sold the RAC to Carlyle Group in June 2011; the RAC has around 2,000 patrols that attend 2.8 million breakdowns each year, this includes overseas breakdowns with RAC Europe. The RAC covers 8 million roadside assistance customers, with 2.2 million individual members and 4.5 million corporate customers. Their breakdown assistance centres operate 24/7, deal with four millions calls a year, they have introduced, for two hybrid vehicles, to cut fuel consumption and carbon emissions. In May 2009, a survey by J. D. Power ranked the RAC highest in "satisfying roadside assistance customers" for the fourth consecutive year.
RAC Europe is breakdown cover for customers from the United Kingdom. RAC Europe covers forty seven European countries, provides English speaking Incident Managers, available twenty four hours a day to assist; the office is based in Villeurbanne, France. RAC Vehicle Checks and Examinations conduct vehicle checks that show if a car has been stolen, written off, has outstanding finance or previous plates, is at risk of being sold illegally, that its number plate and chassis number correspond. RAC Vehicle Checks are conducted by Experian, while RAC Examinations Inspectors make physical checks on the car to make sure it is mechanically and structurally sound; the RAC provides travel and traffic services including online route planners, in car navigation and help with travel documents. In 2006, RAC teamed up with WSR to form Team RAC and to race in the British Touring Car Championship with two MG ZS cars and from 2007 onwards, two BMW E90 320si cars; the racing cars were liveried in RAC's corporate orange and have achieved a number of wins, including winning the BTCC Independent Drivers Championship with Colin Turkington in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Turkington was able to clinch the outright win in the 2009 BTCC Drivers Championship for Team RAC. For 2010, RAC reduced their level of sponsorship with the team; the AA Green Flag Vehicle recovery The RAC Breakdown Cover by RAC European Breakdown Cover by RAC Vehicle Inspections by RAC Vehicle Check by RAC