Melton racing driver and military stables in line for green plaque honours

A famous Melton racing driver and the town’s military animal training camp have been shortlisted for prestigious green plaques, as important contributors to the history of Leicestershire.

By Nick Rennie
Monday, 27th September 2021, 1:08 pm
Corporal of The Horse Andrew Mancey exercising Animals as part of the Christmas duties within the Defence Animal Training Regiment in Melton Mowbray last year
Cpl Paul Watson  / MoD Crown EMN-210927-124814001
Corporal of The Horse Andrew Mancey exercising Animals as part of the Christmas duties within the Defence Animal Training Regiment in Melton Mowbray last year Photographer: Cpl Paul Watson / MoD Crown EMN-210927-124814001

Count Louis Zborowski, who competed in Grand Prix in the 1920s before being killed in a race, and the stables at the Defence Animal Training Regiment, are competing with 10 other contenders for six plaques, decided by public vote.

A total of 32 nominations were received from around the county, after a call went out for nominated individuals and places important to the county’s past in what is the sixth round of Leicestershire County Council’s awards scheme.

Count Zborowski, who was nominated by Neil Dexter of Melton, raced for Aston Martin shortly after the First World War.

Count Louis Zborowski pictured with his Aston Martin at a Grand Prix in the 1920s EMN-210927-130441001

He was also a talented engineer who designed a series of aero-engined racing cars which he named ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, one of which went on to break the land speed record in 1927, and inspired Ian Fleming to write his children’s book of the same name.

The Count and his family lived for awhile in Melton Mowbray where they hosted many social gatherings with famous guests including King Edward VII. Louis died aged just 29 when his car left the circuit and hit a tree during the Italian Grand Prix at the Monza circuit in 1924.

He is buried in the family plot at the church graveyard at Burton Lazars, where his parents had a home.

The DATR stables, based off Asfordby Road, were nominated by Major Drew Tootal, who is second in command at the base.

Service personnel there have been training and caring for animals used in military defence since 1905.

The depot was originally responsible for the buying and training of horses for the British Army between 1887 and 1942 and now trains mainly dogs for the Ministry of Defence.

It is also the home of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC) and has cared for some famous animals in the past, including the Household Cavalry horse, Sefton, who was injured in the Hyde Park bombings of 1982.

Councillor Dan Harrison, the county council’s chairman, said: “This is the sixth round of Green Plaque awards, and they always get a fantastic response from the public, who have the opportunity to pay tribute to people and places who have made a mark on the history of their communities.

“We received 32 nominations this time around, and the shortlisting panel had a very difficult job to narrow them down to 12.

“We’re now asking the people of Leicestershire to have their say by voting for their favourites – you can vote for up to six.

“The six who get the most votes will be honoured with a Green Plaque.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to take part in the voting to decide which historic people and places should be honoured.”

Other shortlisted nominees for green plaques are:

***Lt Col Eric Bent VC DSO - attended school in Ashby-de-la-Zouch. He was awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War;

***Sgt Herbert Ernest Black RAFVR - Second World War bomber pilot from Measham;

***Samuel Swinfen Burdett - philanthropist and member of US Congress from Broughton Astley;

***Frances Elizabeth Deacon from Fleckney - the first woman to pass the qualifying exam to become a pharmacist;

***George Fox from Fenny Drayton - who founded the Quaker Movement;

***William Lilly - astrologer and author who was born in Diseworth;

***Regt Sgt Major Thomas Meredith DCM from Wigston Magna - a member of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment and WWII prisoner of war;

***The Pound - an historic site in Countesthorpe where stray animals were kept;

***William Railton - architect who designed Nelson’s Column and many Leicestershire landmarks including Beaumanor Hall in Woodhouse;

***Theodora Salusbury - arts & crafts stained glass artist who designed stained glass windows in churches across Leicestershire.

Votes must be made by midnight on Sunday October 24, online at or via a postal voting form is also available for anyone without internet access by calling 0116 3054112.