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Fred Annells

06.01.1925 – 31.5.2014

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Fred Annells - Traction Owners Club member No.1.

A personal note - I first met Fred some fifty years ago at a CitroŽn Car Club event that I attended with my father and last met him in 2009 at the CitroŽn 90th Anniversary celebration.

He was always very friendly and happy to talk Tractions and is sorely missed.

Julian Marsh

As it is for most owners, the Traction was only ever a hobby for Fred who had earlier honed his engineering skills in the Fleet Air Arm as an aircraft mechanic, maintaining fighters.  Although his career then found him engineering special items in a Central Electricity Generating Board research workshop he also worked for a while as a car mechanic - and that is where he got his first taste of the Traction and was immediately hooked by the advanced design.

Incredibly Fred’s association with, and love of, the Traction did not happen in the days when they were current.  In fact his interest was only established in the late 50s by which time Tractions were decidedly “old technology” (at least by CitroŽn standards!) and had effectively lost their position as status symbols.

Within ten years of buying his first Light 15 saloon Fred had accumulated quite a collection, including his famous Light 15 Coupť, a limousine and several Cabriolets, one of which was the only RHD Big 15 Cabriolet ever built.  Fred continued buying up almost any Slough Traction that became available in order to save it - or at least the precious parts - from being lost forever. As a result he quickly earned the reputation of being the only person one needed to talk to for help and, much more importantly, spare parts.  The downside of that was his own projects often took a back seat whilst he worked on other people’s vehicles.

When the TOC was formed in 1976, initially as a section of the CitroŽn Car Club, Fred’s allegiance still lay heavily with the CCC.  He therefore agreed to sit on both committees as one of 2 “liaison” members and made available his personal register of Tractions and owners.  Fred’s home, in the Guildford area, was also the venue for some of the earliest meetings as the fledgling club established itself.

At that time all TOC members were also CCC members and had a CCC membership number with a “T” suffix to denote Traction Owner.  However, by the time the TOC became independent of the CCC (in April 1980) the Club had no hesitation in allocating Fred membership Number 1 in acknowledgement of his expertise and the work he had done for the Club, the cars and their owners.  Thereafter he remained happy to be an ordinary member until, in recognition of his services, he was made an Honorary Life Member in 1985.

On retiring Fred relocated the family to rural Lincolnshire where he and Edna set up a home with vehicle storage and workshop space to exercise his passion to the full.  Having finally completed his numerous projects, in 2003 he decided to slow down and hang up his spanners.  With the exception of the Coupť (which was passed to his son Barry), all his vehicles were sold off.  However, the TOC also benefited because Fred generously made his vast collection of parts available to the Club - for which we shall always be grateful.

Sadly his last years were spent in poor health and he was unable to attend many meetings.  Nevertheless he continued to show a keen interest in the cars and their owners.  The 2009 75th Anniversary celebration in Arras was the last big event he was able to attend and below is a picture of him discussing Phil Allison’s Cabriolet restoration at the 2006 Annual TOC Rally in York.

© 2014 Bernard Shaw

© 2014 Bernard Shaw