Obituary: William David John Roscoe FCIPR

2 June 1931 – 20 October 2018

Photo: David Roscoe (right) with the Jacksons at the Rolls Royce factory in Crewe, 1979.

The CIPR is sad to learn of the death of David Roscoe FCIPR, who died peacefully at home in Kingswear, Devon, aged 87. He was elected a Fellow of the Institute in 1987 when he was director of public relations at engineering company Vickers.

As a National Serviceman in the Army, he learned to drive a tank before he could drive a car. His communications career started in the early 1950s with the London Press Exchange, where his clients included Raleigh Bicycles, English Electric – the manufacturer of the Lightning aircraft, and he created the enduring Castrol ‘GTX’ brand for Burmah Castrol. He went on to become a board director.

He moved to Rolls-Royce Motors, as the company’s first-ever director of public relations, where he played a key role in the recovery and growth of the company, leading the launch of the Shadow II and the Carmargue. David was adept at attracting celebrity owners for visits to the factory in Crewe, where they met the craftspeople who built their cars.

He was appointed director of public relations role at Vickers after it acquired Rolls-Royce Motors in 1980. He established his credentials with the new company when he visited its Newcastle tank factory, complete with his National Service tank-driving qualification.

He retired from Vickers in 1989 and joined PR agency Paragon plc as a non-executive director until it was acquired by Shandwick. He supported communications for the successful ‘Thrust 2’ world land speed record jet car in 1983 and helped a number of charities, including the RNLI and the Transport Trust, pro bono.

Outside work he maintained a lifelong involvement in motorsport, was a founder of the Guildford Motor Club; restored and raced vintage and classic cars and served for some years as an officer in the Territorial Army. In the 1960s he bought a neglected 1920s wooden sailing boat and restored it in his front garden. He became a keen and competitive yachtsman and in retirement enjoyed sailing on the River Dart with his sons and grandchildren.

David was a kind, generous and witty man who had a life well-lived. He leaves his wife, Diana, two sons, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.