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Farningham and Eynsford
Local History Society
Farningham and Eynsford Local History Society
Publication Review
Wilfrid Duncombe
£2.50   A4, 29 pages, 10 illustrations, published 1997

This publication follows the early life and career of Walter Wilson, a sometime Farningham resident, a genius engineer and inventor. Wilson was involved with numerous ventures which included boats, cars, aeroplanes, trains, buses and eventually the Tank, for which he is best known. Wilson, as with most geniuses, struggled against lack of money and bureaucratic red tape for a lot of his life. He was ahead of the times with his thinking and inventions but always butting heads with the powers of Government who seemed never to be interested in his ideas until they wanted solutions to problems yesterday! Wilf Duncombe tells Wilson's story in a fascinating and informative way. The text is interspersed with wonderful adverts and pictures of the old vehicles with which Wilson was involved. There is even a written test drive of the Wilson-Pilcher car - if I had one I'm sure I wouldn't get out on the road at all - I think you had to be an engineer to drive one! The last Appendix tells the story, chronologically, from Parish records, of the Farningham Tank War Trophy. Its installation, after the First World War, in an area on the Manor Lawn, the problems associated with its conservation and protection and its final removal for scrap during the Second World War are described in detail. Hours and hours of painstaking research by Wilf Duncombe have lead to this impressive publication. The Farningham and Eynsford Local History Society are to be congratulated on this, their latest, in a long list of very informative publications.

Lesley Burr
Review reprinted from The Trident magazine