Woolf Barnato

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Joel Woolf Barnato (27 September 1895 – 27 July 1948) was a British financier and racing driver, one of the "Bentley Boys" of the 1920s. He achieved three consecutive wins out of three entries in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.


Woolf Barnato was the son of Barney Barnato, who had made a fortune as a "Randlord" in South African diamond and gold mining, and a relative of the Joel family of entrepreneurs. He inherited a multi-million pound fortune at the age of two. He was educated at Charterhouse School and Trinity College, Cambridge and served as an officer in the Royal Field Artillery, British Army in World War I.

He also played first-class cricket, appearing as wicket-keeper with Surrey County Cricket Club from 1928 to 1930.

He was married three times. His first wife was Dorothy Maitland Falk; they had two daughters. His second wife was Jacqueline Claridge Queally; they had two sons. He married his third wife in December 1947.

Barnato's daughter Diana Barnato Walker MBE learned to fly at the Brooklands Flying Club (based in the centre of the car racing circuit) in 1938 at age 20 and went on to ferry Spitfire, Hurricane and Wellingtons with the Air Transport Auxiliary during World War II

Bentley and the Bentley Boys

In the 1920s he was a member of a social set of wealthy British motorists known as the "Bentley Boys" who favoured the cars of W. O. Bentley. Many were independently wealthy, often with a background in military...
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