1925 Marius Mestivier's Fatal Accident in the 24h of Le Mans

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Jesper Hvid
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1925 Marius Mestivier's Fatal Accident in the 24h of Le Mans

#1

Post by Jesper Hvid »

Anything to do with the accident hereby requested.

http://motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=795

I've got a drawing of the track from an early '70s Paris Match, where all the fatal accidents are marked at the precise locations. Will add that later. I think I have a pic of the car he drove, also.
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#2

Post by Motorsportrace »

This is Mestivier (standing up) with his car:

Image

I've tried to search in the motorlegend forum (where there are a lot of newspaper reports about the race), but there's nothing about Mestivier.
Maybe in the newspaper "La Sarthe" (which contained a picture of Guilbert)?
The crash happened in the evening, so that could be a reason why we can't find it.
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#3

Post by Jesper Hvid »

http://www.lezebre.eu/car/andre%20morel ... %20005.htm

Small image here of the car, presumably at the race, with the hood on.

The description at mm.org says he crashed "at Mulsanne", and that must mean the corner (as opposed to the straight). But I'm not sure, so I'll look for the illustration. If there's a day 2 panoramic view photo of the section, there's a chance the wreck may be in it, and if it was at Mulsanne Corner, then I would be very surprised indeed, if it turned out that no photos exist.

I am not sure whether the Sarthe police were required to appear at scenes of unnatural deaths, regardless of accident or "foul play", but in the cases of Mestivier and Maréchal, I would assume that photos were required to be taken, and back then I don't think they actually had police forensic photographers, so they'd probably just grab someone with a camera and get them to take the pics.

It is as you say pretty strange that there would be images of Guilbert's wreck, and not that of Mestivier.

There is a chapter on the 1925 Le Mans in Sammy Davis' book "Motor Racing" (1930), but I don't own that book yet. It does not appear to be online, either.

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#4

Post by Motorsportrace »

Jesper Hvid wrote:http://www.lezebre.eu/car/andre%20morel ... %20005.htm

Small image here of the car, presumably at the race, with the hood on.
Here's a bigger versione of that image:

Image

Jesper Hvid wrote:The description at mm.org says he crashed "at Mulsanne", and that must mean the corner (as opposed to the straight). But I'm not sure, so I'll look for the illustration. If there's a day 2 panoramic view photo of the section, there's a chance the wreck may be in it, and if it was at Mulsanne Corner, then I would be very surprised indeed, if it turned out that no photos exist.

I am not sure whether the Sarthe police were required to appear at scenes of unnatural deaths, regardless of accident or "foul play", but in the cases of Mestivier and Maréchal, I would assume that photos were required to be taken, and back then I don't think they actually had police forensic photographers, so they'd probably just grab someone with a camera and get them to take the pics.

It is as you say pretty strange that there would be images of Guilbert's wreck, and not that of Mestivier.

There is a chapter on the 1925 Le Mans in Sammy Davis' book "Motor Racing" (1930), but I don't own that book yet. It does not appear to be online, either.

Image
As I said, there's a video of the 1925 Le Mans 24 Hours (in the Gaumont Pathé archive), but it doesn't show anything.
Or, well, it shows a straight with some cars on its right side, but it was probably filmed before Mestivier's crash, and many cars retired during the race, so it would be very difficult to identify them all:

Image
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#5

Post by Motorsportrace »

A quick search in the Bnf archive suggests that Mestivier crashed after the mulsanne straight:
arrivait au virage de Mulsanne, le premier après les tribunes
Something like "arrived at Mulsanne Turn, the first after the grandstands".

No images so far, and the search system of the archive is quite tricky.
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#6

Post by Jesper Hvid »

Jesper Hvid wrote:Anything to do with the accident hereby requested.

http://motorsportmemorial.org/focus.php?db=ct&n=795

I've got a drawing of the track from an early '70s Paris Match, where all the fatal accidents are marked at the precise locations. Will add that later. I think I have a pic of the car he drove, also.
Click to enlarge, just a temporary job, the pic's across two pages, bigger than A4, and my scanner just isn't big enough to do the job properly, I'll have it rescanned by someone else.

Image

But the essential location is there, and it'll have to do, for the time being.

I'll put this in the Maréchal request topic, also.
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#7

Post by Jesper Hvid »

https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b53149858h.item

Looking down the Mulsanne, from the corner. The accident took place on the other side of the hump, so it wouldn't have been visible from this angle, anyway. Good photo, all the same.
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#8

Post by hollie3sa »

@Jesper Hvid @Motorsportrace

Since this topic has come up in another thread just recently: Where have you searched for photos of the accident? How much effort did you put into working through the - as correctly mentioned above - tricky Gallica archive?



Went through the sports newspaper archive over at Gallica. No photos of the accident in there, only this:

Image

Source: Le miroir des sports (https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb38728672j/date.item)
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#9

Post by Everso Biggyballies »

@hollie3sa @Jesper Hvid @Motorsportrace

There is a video compilation of Le Mans fatalities, which although it has no images or footage of this incident it does have a fairly detailed description of the accident. Basically says Mestivier's Amilcar spun on the Mulsanne on lap18 and plunged into a ditch killing him instantly. It was suggested at the time a puncture likely caused the accident but later reports suggest he struck a bird which knocked him out.

c 8:25 in

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#10

Post by Motorsportrace »

hollie3sa wrote: 2 years ago @Jesper Hvid @Motorsportrace

Since this topic has come up in another thread just recently: Where have you searched for photos of the accident? How much effort did you put into working through the - as correctly mentioned above - tricky Gallica archive?



Went through the sports newspaper archive over at Gallica. No photos of the accident in there, only this:
Image
Source: Le miroir des sports (https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb38728672j/date.item)
I've looked through archive images of the 1925 Le Mans event. Nothing.
I've tried to search across several newspapers of the time too (in different websites). Again, no images.

The problem is that, in 1925, newspapers had few images, let alone crash photos.
But, as we know, Guilbert's car (which was wrecked in practice), appeared in a photo in the newspaper "La Sarthe":
http://www.the-fastlane.co.uk/images/cpdb/1925.jpg
So, an image of Mestivier's car after the accident might've been included in one of the issues printed during and/or after the race.
I think Mestivier's car was left there, at the track, for some time.

Remember that we also have two images of Marcel Michelot's fatal accident, which happened just two years later during practice, and during night too:
http://www.the-fastlane.co.uk/images/cpdb/Michelot1.jpg
http://www.the-fastlane.co.uk/images/cpdb/Michelot2.jpg
Something must exist. I'm sure about that, really.

Also:
there exist two images of the wrecked car of Bloch/Saint-Paul, who crashed (I don't know who) during the 1925 race:
viewtopic.php?p=377613#p377613

At this point, I think our only hope is someone who lives in France and can go in a library and check the issues of the La Sarthe newspaper.
But I don't think we have any French members here at The-Fastlane.
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#11

Post by hollie3sa »

Motorsportrace wrote: 2 years ago
hollie3sa wrote: 2 years ago @Jesper Hvid @Motorsportrace

Since this topic has come up in another thread just recently: Where have you searched for photos of the accident? How much effort did you put into working through the - as correctly mentioned above - tricky Gallica archive?



Went through the sports newspaper archive over at Gallica. No photos of the accident in there, only this:
Image
Source: Le miroir des sports (https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb38728672j/date.item)
I've looked through archive images of the 1925 Le Mans event. Nothing.
I've tried to search across several newspapers of the time too (in different websites). Again, no images.

The problem is that, in 1925, newspapers had few images, let alone crash photos.
But, as we know, Guilbert's car (which was wrecked in practice), appeared in a photo in the newspaper "La Sarthe":
http://www.the-fastlane.co.uk/images/cpdb/1925.jpg
So, an image of Mestivier's car after the accident might've been included in one of the issues printed during and/or after the race.
I think Mestivier's car was left there, at the track, for some time.

Remember that we also have two images of Marcel Michelot's fatal accident, which happened just two years later during practice, and during night too:
http://www.the-fastlane.co.uk/images/cpdb/Michelot1.jpg
http://www.the-fastlane.co.uk/images/cpdb/Michelot2.jpg
Something must exist. I'm sure about that, really.

Also:
there exist two images of the wrecked car of Bloch/Saint-Paul, who crashed (I don't know who) during the 1925 race:
viewtopic.php?p=377613#p377613

At this point, I think our only hope is someone who lives in France and can go in a library and check the issues of the La Sarthe newspaper.
But I don't think we have any French members here at The-Fastlane.
https://www.facebook.com/museedes24heuresdumans/ ?
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#12

Post by Motorsportrace »

That could be a good idea.
I don't have Facebook, though (I hate it).
I can't find any other contacts in that page (e-mail addresses, etc.).
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#13

Post by Sedre »

Website:
Email:
Facebook group did not have any mention of Mestivier.
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#14

Post by Motorsportrace »

Thanks for that.
I'll see what I can do.
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#15

Post by Motorsportrace »

Sedre wrote: 2 years ago Website:
Email:
Facebook group did not have any mention of Mestivier.
Alright, I've just sent them an e-mail.
Let's see if they reply (and what they say).
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