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People Topics related to WWI aviation personnel

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Old 18 June 2009, 06:35 PM   #1
Pete Hill
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Notable persons of WW1-Part 4-Sport

Sport

Sidney Hatch (USA)- Successful Marathon-runner. He competed in over 45 competitive Marathons in the USA between 1904 and 1922 and never failed to finish. He won the annual Missouri All-Western Marathon in St Louis six times and in the 1916 96-mile Milwaukee to Chicago Run, he completed the event in a record time of less than 15 hours. Hatch competed in two summer Olympics, in 1904 in St Louis and in 1908 in London. In the former, he won a Silver medal in the 4-mile team event.
When the USA entered WW1 in 1917, Hatch enlisted in the US Army and, not surprisingly, was employed as an Army Messenger, putting his fitness and running skills to good use on the Western Front. He was decorated for ‘extraordinary heroism’ after carrying messages through heavy fire during fighting near Brieulles on October 11th 1918. He was awarded the DSC and a Purple Heart and the French Croix de Guerre.

Charlie Paddock (USA)- Champion Athlete and two-time Olympic Gold-medallist. He won two Gold medals at the 1920 summer Olympics in Antwerp in the mens 4 X 100m Relay and the mens 100m Sprint plus a Silver in the 200m. At the 1924 summer Olympics in Paris, Paddock gained a Silver in the 200m and then competed again in the 100m but came fifth. The winner of the latter race was Jewish/English athlete Harold Abrahams, an event immortalized in the popular 1981 film ‘Chariots of Fire’. Paddock also competed in the 1928 summer games in Amsterdam but did not reach the finals. He died in an accidental air-crash in 1943.
In WW1, Paddock served on the Western Front in 1918 as a Lieutenant in the US Army Field Artillery. He began to display his athletic prowess at the 1919 Inter-Allied Games where ex-soldiers from the Allied Nations competed in track & field events.

Percy Jones (UK)- Welsh Boxer who became World Flyweight Champion in 1914.
During the Great War, Jones served in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and earned the rank of Sergeant. He fought on the Western Front and was gassed and then later wounded in his leg which had to be amputated. Having contracted Trench Fever during the war, he never recovered and he died on Christmas Day 1922, the day before his 30th birthday.

Christy Mathewson (USA)- Major League Baseball player 1900-1916 who threw over 2,500 Strikeouts and was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 as one of it’s ‘First Five’ inaugural members.
Mathewson served in the US Army during WW1 in the newly-formed Chemical Service along with Ty Cobb, another well-known Ball player and member of the ‘First Five’. During a training exercise in 1918, he was accidentally gassed and consequently developed Tuberculosis which he died of in 1925.

Herbert Jones (UK)- Football Player who played in the Blackburn Rovers when they won the FA-Cup in 1928 and played in England’s International Team 1927-28.
Jones enlisted under-age in 1914 when he was only 15 years-old. He was sent to the Western Front in 1915 and he participated in the Christmas Truce later that year. Jones played a game of football with some German soldiers in No Man’s Land. He later wrote, “It was really sad to play football with them, then a few hours later have to start shooting and killing them…Those Germans were actually fine fellows…” He was wounded by shrapnel in 1916 and the injuries were severe enough to have him discharged from military service. His experiences prompted him to remain a staunch Pacifist for the rest of his life.

Hobey Baker (USA)- Champion Hockey and Football Player of the pre-WW1 period. He played for Princeton University Ivy-Club in both the Hockey and Football Teams. He captained Princeton’s Football Team to a National Championship win in 1911 and did likewise for the Hockey Team in 1912 and 1914. It was for the latter sport that he is most-admired and he was generally regarded as the first great US Hockey-player. Baker was elected into the World Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945 and the US equivalent in 1973. Today, the Hobey-Baker Award is still presented to the top male US College Hockey Player each year.
During WW1, Baker trained as a pilot and joined the 103rd US Aero-Squadron on the Western Front in 1918. Flying an orange and black-painted SPAD XIII, Baker destroyed three German aircraft before the end of the war. In December 1918, only a few weeks after the Armistice, Baker was performing a routine test-flight of a newly-repaired SPAD over his aerodrome at Toul when the plane suffered a mechanical failure. Baker was killed in the subsequent crash. Written orders to return home were found tucked in the pocket of his jacket.

David Jones (UK)- Welsh Rugby Player who played internationally in both League and Union 1902-1906. In 1905, Jones (six-foot-tall and weighing 16-stone) played for the Welsh-team that defeated the New-Zealand All Blacks 3-0 in the latter’s Rugby Union Tour of the Northern Hemisphere. Many Rugby enthusiasts still regard this match as being one of the greatest ever played in the history of the game. He was banned from Rugby Union in 1907 after illegally receiving payment at a time when the code was still strictly amateur.
When WW1 began, the 33-year-old Jones enlisted and served as an Infantryman in the Welsh Guards. He was badly wounded on the Somme in 1916 and he never fully recovered from his injuries, suffering serious health-problems until he died in 1933 at the age of 52.

William Tyrrell (Ireland)- Doctor & Rugby Union Player who played in the 1910 British Tour of South Africa and played in nine Tests for his native Ireland, the last in 1914. In 1950-51, he was President of the Irish Rugby Football Union. During the 1920s and 30s, he was a senior Medical Officer in the RAF, serving in the Middle-East and in 1939-43, he was Honorary Surgeon to King George VI.
In WW1, he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) on the Western Front and was mentioned in Dispatches six times. He received the DSO and Bar, the MC and the Belgian Croix de Guerre. Whilst serving as Medical Officer in the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers in 1915, he was buried by an exploding shell and he experienced temporary shell-shock. He drew on this experience when he participated in a War Office Committee of Enquiry into the causes and effects of shell-shock in 1922 and he stated that it was his belief that shell-shock was primarily caused by a ‘repression of fear’.

Tony Wilding (New Zealand) - Champion Tennis-Player of the pre-WW1 era who was officially ranked World No 1 in 1913. Won the Mens Singles at Wimbledon four years running in 1910-1913 and also won in the Mens Doubles four times between 1907 and 1914. He played in the winning team in the Davis Cup four times between 1907 and 1914 plus won a Bronze Medal in the Indoor Singles at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. He was elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Wilding-Park Tennis venue in New Zealand is named after him. His Record of multiple Wimbledon wins stood until 2000 when it was finally surpassed by Pete Sampras.
Wilding was living in the UK when WW1 began and he enlisted in the Royal Marines and served as a Captain in the Armoured Car Division in France. On May 9th, 1915, he was killed in action during the Battle for Aubers Ridge at Neuve-Chapelle. At the time of his death, he was engaged to Hollywood actress Maxine Elliot.

Tommy Armour (Scotland/USA)- Professional Golfer who emigrated to the USA in the early 1920s and won the 1927 US Open, the 1930 PGA Championship and the 1931 British Open. He was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1976. He co-wrote the 1953 Book How to Play your Best Golf all the Time which was one of the highest-selling books on Golf ever published.
During WW1, Armour served in the British Army Tank Corps, reaching the rank of Staff Major. His conduct in the field was much-praised and earned him a private audience with King George V. Later in the war, he was badly injured in a Mustard gas explosion. He permanently lost his sight in his left eye (and was temporarily blinded in his right) and he also had to have metal plates surgically implanted into his head and left arm. Despite his injuries, Wilding was able to win the 1920 French Amateur Golf Tournament less than two years after the end of the war.

Arnaud Massy (France)- Professional Golfer who won the French Open four times between 1906 and 1925, the Belgian Open once and the Spanish Open three times. He also won the 1908 UK Blackpool Tournament. In terms of major wins, he remains the most successful French Golfer of all time and, until 1979, he was the only player from Continental Europe to win a major tournament.
During the Great War, Massy served on the Western Front as a French Army Infantryman and he was wounded at Verdun in 1916. Despite his injuries, he was already playing Pro-Golf again by the end of the war.
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"Rrrh Ew Reddy Fore Sum Fut-Baoull!?"

The train stopped with a jerk. The jerk got out.

Be alert. The world needs more lerts.

Silence reigned and we all got wet.

I once saw two men walking abreast. What a strange pet to own.
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Old 18 June 2009, 06:36 PM   #2
Pete Hill
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Sport (cont)

Nedo Nadi (Italy)- Champion Fencer who is regarded as one of the greatest and arguably the most versatile of the 20th Century. He won Gold at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics in the Foil Individual event and won an impressive five Gold medals in a variety of Fencing events at the 1920 Antwerp Games. This feat has never been equalled by any Fencer since, and in fact his tally of five Gold medals in a single Olympics was not surpassed in any sport until Swimmer Mark Spitz won seven Gold at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. His brother Aldo was also a Champion Fencer who won three Gold medals at the Antwerp Games. Nadi was President of the Italian Fencing Federation 1935-40.
During WW1, Nadi served in the Royal Italian Army Infantry and was decorated for bravery.

James Duncan (USA)- Champion Discus-Thrower who participated in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, winning a Bronze medal for the US Team. On May 26th, 1912 during the Irish-American Athletic Club’s Track & Field Championships in New York, he became the first official holder of the World Discus Record, throwing 156 feet with his right-hand and 96 feet with his left.
During WW1, Duncan served in the US Army as a Lieutenant in the 11th Company of Engineers and saw considerable action on the Western Front. After he was discharged from the Army at the end of the war, Duncan stayed in France and ran a gym in Paris and also worked as a caretaker for the American Military Cemetery at Suresnes. Long-term psychological-trauma from his wartime experiences may have been a factor in an un-successful suicide attempt in 1932.

Henry Taylor (UK)- Champion British Freestyle Swimmer who competed in all four Olympic Games held between 1906 and 1920. He won a Gold medal at the 1906 Athens Games for the 1 mile-Freestyle. This was followed by three Gold medals at the 1908 London Games for the 400m, 1500m and 4 X 200m relay. This latter feat was not equalled by any other British athlete until Chris Hoy won three Gold medals in Cycling at the Beijing Games in 2008.
During WW1, Taylor joined the Royal Navy in 1914 and was on board the Battleship HMS St Vincent at the Battle of Jutland in 1916. At the height of his celebrity status in 1920, a popular story circulated that Taylor’s ship was sunk and that he used his swimming skills to rescue other survivors but that was a myth as the St Vincent survived the battle. Taylor was later transferred to the Battleship HMS Ramillies and served on board her until the end of the war.

John ‘Jack’ Wilson (UK)- Yorkshire-born First Class Cricket-Player & Jockey. Played for Yorkshire CCC prior to WW1 and became a Jockey after the war. He rode in the famous Grand-National Steeplechase three times and won in 1925 on the horse Double Chance.
In 1914, Wilson gained his pilot’s license prior to the outbreak of war and when the conflict began, he was serving in the RNAS. In April 1915, he attacked and bombed two German submarines lying at anchor in Zeebrugge. The following June, he attacked the Zeppelin Sheds at Evere, near Brussels in a night-raid, a feat for which he and his co-pilot, J.Mills, were awarded the DSO.

Herbie Collins (Australia)- Test-Cricketer who played in International Test Matches between 1920 and 1926 and was Captain of the Australian International Cricket Team 1921-26 and under his leadership, they won the 1924 Test-series against England. Collins made over 1,300 runs in 19 Tests with a batting average of 45.06 which included four centuries.
During WW1, Collins enlisted in the Australian Light-Horse Regiment in 1915 and served in Sinai and Palestine. Transferred to the Western Front later in the war, he worked as an ammunition carrier for the artillery. He achieved the rank of Lance-Corporal before the end of the war.

Bradbury Robinson (USA)- College Football player who is notable for throwing the first legal forward-pass in American Football-history and was the game’s first recognised ‘Triple-Threat’, namely a player who was considered equally proficient in all three skills-running, passing and kicking. He threw the first forward-pass (reaching 67-yards) at a game in 1906 when he was a player for St Louis University.
In WW1, Robinson enlisted in the US Army and was commissioned as a Captain. He was placed in charge of L Company of 340th Infantry Regiment attached to the 85th Division. Arriving in France in July 1918, he worked as an instructor at the inter-Allied Tank School at Recloses before his Company was ordered to the front at the start of November. He and his unit were in the trenches for the last ten days of the war.

Bill Hardcastle (New Zealand/Australia)- Rugby-Player who played both League and Union 1895-1914. Played for his home-country during the 1897 NZ All-Blacks Rugby-Union tour of Australia but later switched sides and played for the latter against New Zealand in a League Test in 1908. He played internationally for Australia in both codes between 1897 and 1914 and he was one of the first dual-code Rugby players.
b In WW1, Hardcastle enlisted as a private in the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the AIF and he left Australia in 1916 (aged 42) and fought on the Western Front as a machine-gunner. He survived to see the Armistice but played no more rugby after the war.

Georges Carpentier (France)- Professional Boxer who achieved considerable fame in Europe and the USA both before and after the war. He became Welterweight Champion of Europe in 1911, Middleweight Champion in 1912 and Heavyweight Champion the year after that. In October 1920, in a title-fight in London, he beat US Boxer ‘Battling’ Levinsky to become Light-Heavyweight Champion of the world. The only title left for him to win was Heavyweight Champion of the world and he made his attempt in 1921 in Jersey City, USA against famous American Jack Dempsey. Over 100,000 people attended the match. Carpentier lost the fight but he achieved considerable fame and respect in the USA nonetheless and he and Dempsey became life-long close friends. Of the 109 Professional fights of his career, Carpentier won 88 of them, including 56 by knockout. He was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.
In WW1, Carpentier began the war as an Army Chauffeur but he transferred to the French air-corps and earned his pilots wings in 1915. Flying two-seater Farman reconnaissance planes, he served for 18-months over the Western Front during 1915-16. He was twice-decorated for bravery. In December 1916, he became serious ill and although he was offered the chance to return to his unit after he left hospital, he declared himself unfit for further operational flying. He spent the remainder of the war as an army boxing-instructor and also gave demonstration matches to entertain troops.
__________________
"Rrrh Ew Reddy Fore Sum Fut-Baoull!?"

The train stopped with a jerk. The jerk got out.

Be alert. The world needs more lerts.

Silence reigned and we all got wet.

I once saw two men walking abreast. What a strange pet to own.
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Old 20 June 2009, 09:32 AM   #3
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Tommy Hitchcock, Jr.

Hi Pete,

Great threads! Fascinating stuff, and you'uncovered a great deal of material. I believe I've posted info on Tommy Hitchcock before, but he should certainly be listed under "sport"

Tommy Hitchcock, Jr. (USA) Born in Aiken, South Carolina, on 11 February 1900, he learned the sport of polo from his parents, Louise and Thomas Hitchcock, Sr.. His father had been a 10-goal player who helped found the Meadowbrook Polo Club on Long Island, New York. Tommy Jr. played in his first tournament at age 13 and was part of the Meadowbrook Polo Club that won the 1916 U.S. national junior championship.

During World War I, at age 17 Tommy Hitchcock joined the Lafayette Flying Corps in France. On 12 December 1917 he was assigned to Escadrille N.87, the same unit as William "Wild Bill" Wellman (later the director of "Wings" and many other films). Hitchcock shot down a German 2-seater on 6 January 1918, winning the Croix de Guerre with Palm; he shot down a second plane on 19 January. On 6 March 1918, during a fight againstmany Albatros fighters, he was shot in the right buttock and thigh and crashed behind the German lines.He was captured by the Germans, and went through various prison hospitals. While being moved to the Rastadt Camp in Baden, he escaped his captors by jumping out of the train. On foot, he hid in the woods during the daytime then walked more than one hundred miles for eight nights to the safety of Switzerland on 28 August 1918.

After the war, Hitchcock returned to study at Harvard University. Playing polo, he led the U.S. team to victory in the 1921 Westchester Cup. From 1922 to 1940, Hitchcock carried a 10-goal handicap, which is the highest ranking in polo, from the United States of America Polo Association. He led four teams to U.S. National Open Championships in 1923, 1927, 1935 and 1936.

Author F. Scott Fitzgerald loosely modeled two characters in his books on Tommy Hitchcock, Jr.: Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby (1925) and the Tommy Barban character in Tender Is the Night (1934).

Serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Air Force in World War II, Hitchcock was assigned as an assistant air attache to the US Embassy in London, England. In that capacity, he was instrumental in the development of the P-51 Mustang fighter plane, particularly in replacing the original Allison engine with the Packard-built Rolls-Royce Merlin. He was killed in a crash while piloting one such aircraft near Salisbury, Wiltshire, England on 12 April 1944 when he was unable to pull out of a dive while doing tests.

In Bill Wellman's movie Lafayette Escadrille, his old friend Tommy Hitchcock was briefly portrayed by Jody McCrea.
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Old 20 June 2009, 11:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Hill View Post

Herbert Jones (UK)- Football Player who played in the Blackburn Rovers [...] and he participated in the Christmas Truce later that year. Jones played a game of football with some German soldiers in No Man’s Land. He later wrote, “It was really sad to play football with them, then a few hours later have to start shooting and killing them…Those Germans were actually fine fellows…”
see Christmas truce - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - in 1998 I took part in and event to remember this kind of action in 1914.

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Old 21 June 2009, 10:04 AM   #5
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Motor Car racing??

Hi,

If one considers motor car racing a sport (as most do), then certainly we must mention Eddie Rickbacker (US), ace and eventual CO of the 94th Aero sqn, who was a nationally famous racecar driver before the war.

Also, Ernst-Günther Burggaller, a pilot in Jasta 10 of the Richthofen Geschwader, became a very famous motorcycle and racecar driver in the between-the-war years. I found this on the web:

"The stocky built Ernst-Günther Burggaller from Berlin was a quiet, reliable and fast driver. He had been a fighter pilot and member of the famous von Richthofen's "Circus" during WW1. After the WWI he started a driving school in Berlin.

"In 1922, Burggaller started racing motorcycles winning 24 times in 3 1/2 years. He switched to racing cars in 1928 with a Bugatti T37. The next year he changed to Emil Bremme's T35B sports car, finishing second to Caracciola in the 1930 European Mountain Championship for Sports Cars.

"From 1930 to 1932, he formed the German Bugatti Team with H.J. von Morgen and Price zu Leiningen. He won the Masarykuv Okruh at Brno in 1932 but then, after retiring with the broken axle on the 17th July of that year at the Nürburgring, he swapped the T35 B engine with a T51 motor, the car having already having been altered to Monoposto specification. In 1934 he also drove the Jamieson Sprint Car, an Austin 7 Special, at the Klaussen Hillclimb in Switzerland."

After some further Voiturette racing he joined the Luftwaffe again."

He was killed as a Major commanding II/JG 51, on 2 February 1940 when his aircraft struck the ground during a low-level flight west of Friedrichshafen.
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