Looking for Master Sgt Richard Westpiel formerly of Lakenheath c1976


My father has asked me to help him find someone for a friend. Unfortunately I haven’t had any luck, so I am hoping this blog post may reach someone that can help. All I have to go on is this newspaper article from the Wisbech Standard dated 1 May 1976 and that the person looking for him thinks he may have moved to Iowa.

I also suspect the journalist may have spelt the surname Westpiel wrong as it doesn’t appear to be a surname. Therefore I have searched for Westpeel, Westpile and Westphal also.

Here is a transcript of the article:

After many painstaking hours working and searching for spare parts Mr Paul Ingham has re-formed a chicken run into a valuable motor-car.

Mr Ingham (31), a panel beater and sprayer at Youngs Motor Ltd, has spent four months working on a 1935 V8 Woody for an American serviceman, Master Sergeant Richard Westpiel, of RAF Lakenheath, who believes the car to be the only one of its kind in Britain, and probably in the USA.

The car was found in use as a chicken-run in Southend-on-sea, and was quickly bought for £400. It has taken £2,500 to get the car back to its original condition when it was bought in 1935 by Lord Haig, who was the only person to drive it.

Master Sgt Westpiel had spent 10 months searching for a car like the Michigan built Woody, before finding the 1935 model.

The restoration team of Mr Ingham, Nigel White (19) a commercial fitter at Youngs and Martin Cornwall (19) an apprentice, immediately went to work, working most of the day, and usually into the early hours of the morning.

This was the first restoration job that Mr Ingham had tackled and he can draw satisfaction from the fact that no-one in America would have tackled such a mammoth task. But he added, the task would not have been complete had he not searched the back streets looking for people who could make specialist parts to make the car work.

The V8 Woody is due to be shipped out to America sometime in August, when Mr Westpiel retires from the forces. It would mainly be used for show purposes.

Above- Master Sgt Westpiel watches Mr Ingham put the finishing touches to the V8 Woody. Picture: John Day.

If anyone thinks they know who this Richard Westpiel is, or what the surname could be, I would love to hear from them.



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