|A Brief Biography, part 1|
|Robert MacGregor Innes Ireland was born in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire on 12th June 1930, the younger son of a Scottish veterinary surgeon William Alexander Ireland and his wife Mary Margaret Ireland (nee Arthur ). Despite his later reputation as a hellraiser, Innes came from a Scottish Presbyterian background; his uncle was a Church of Scotland minister and his grandfather, Allan Ireland, lectured on behalf of the Hope Trust, a temperance organization.|
|By his own account Innes attended a prep school in Chipping Campden before the family returned to Scotland at the start of the Second World War. Here he attended Kirkudbright High School where he and his brother Allan excelled at sports. Innes Represented Scotland twice in Air Training Corps Rugby Internationals against England, and once in athletics, a sport in which he continued to compete into the early 1950s.|
|Innes left school to serve an engineering apprenticeship with the Aero Division of Rolls Royce in Glasgow and later at the Motor Division in London, where he lived for a while on an old gunboat moored on the Thames in Chelsea. Around this time he was left a three litre Red Label Bentley in the will of a family friend, a period saddened by the early death of his mother from cancer.|
|Ireland had been a motor sport fanatic since reading Tim Birkin's 'Full Throttle' as a twelve year old. In 1947 he spectated at the first post-war Scottish motor sport event , the Bo'ness Hillclimb. In 1951 he attended a motor race for the first time, the rain shortened Daily Express Trophy at Silverstone. Suitably inspired Innes competed in his first motor sport event, the Tim Birkin Memorial Trophy at Boreham (17/5/1952) driving his Bentley. He came 4th.|
|National Service intervened early in 1953 and Innes was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Kings Own Scottish Borderers. Soon he was seconded to the Ist Battalion of the Parachute Regiment where he served in Egypt, returning to Aldershot in the summer of 1954. The Canal Zone campaign of 1951 to 1954 has been described as the "suppressed story". Almost as costly in British lives as the Korean War with 442 Servicemen killed, the action was politically sensitive and a campaign medal was not awarded until 2003. Twelve members of the Parachute Regiment were killed in Egypt during this period.|
|On his return to England, Ireland purchased Alec Calder's Brooklands Riley Nine. Calder of course was the brother-in-law of an eighteen year old ex-public schoolboy called Jim Clark. Innes was to race the car on a handful of occasions over the next two years.
On 30th October 1954 Innes married Norma Thomas, a Scarborough schoolteacher at Scalby Parish church in Yorkshire. He had known Norma since his time in London.
Innes left the army in the Spring of 1955 and returned for a while to Rolls Royce before going into the garage trade with a friend, John A. Mason.
|The garage business, which was located at Golden Acres near Elstead in Surrey, specialised in the repair of Bentleys and Rolls Royces.
Innes raced the Riley at the nearby Goodwood circuit on two occasions in 1955, with one victory; and twice in 1956, again with one victory.
Major Rupert Robinson, an Army colleague of his brother Allan, met Innes at one of the Goodwood meetings and agreed to help with the purchase of a Lotus 11 sports car. This car made it's debut at the Goodwood meeting on 22/9/1956, where Innes recorded a 4th and a 2nd place. This marked the start of Ireland's serious Motor racing career.