Stanley Garton: The Letter Writer

Of course, the brilliant Tim Koch (how else can I describe him?), rowing historian and rower at Auriol Kensington RC in London, has solved the mystery with the letter writer, whom I wrote about yesterday.

Tim writes in a message from this morning, that “The letter is from rower and coach, A. Stanley Garton, who has a nice Stockholm connection for you. Arthur Stanley Garton (31 March 1889 – 20 October 1948) was a British rower who competed in the 1912 Summer Olympics [see photo]. He was born in Worcester Park and educated at Eton College where he was an outstanding member of the Eton crew and, later, the crew at Magdalen College, Oxford. He rowed in the winning Oxford boats in the Boat Race in 1909, 1910, and 1911. He was also in the Magdalen boat that won the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta in 1910 and 1911. He joined Leander Club and in 1912 he was a member of the Leander eight which won the gold medal for Great Britain rowing at the 1912 Summer Olympics.”

Tim continues to write that “Garton won the Grand for the third time in 1913, in the colours of Leander. He coached the Oxford eight in 1925 and 1930. Garton’s daughter, Jean, married Sir Edward Imbert-Terry, 3rd Baronet and after his death, Lionel Sackville-West, 6th Baron Sackville. Garton’s youngest daughter, Helen, married Thomas Gervers, grandson of the infamous Lord Kitchener, while Garton’s older daughter, Rosalind, married the famous Dickie Burnell, in 1940. Burnell took a gold medal in the doubles in the 1948 Olympic rowing in Henley. Rosalind’s and Dickie’s son, Peter Burnell, rowed for Oxford in 1962.”

In an old extract from The Times it shows that Garton lived at Wood Lodge, Burgh Heath from (at least) 1920 until 1939, Tim says in his message. Tim has even found an old race report of the coxless fours on 30 October 1930 in The Times, which should be the race Garton mentions in his letter, “I saw him [Donald Crum] race against Balliol last Thursday”.

“I think that the word you cannot read is ‘Fours’ – ‘I have been watching him rather carefully in ‘Fours’”, Tim writes. He goes on saying, “Who was the letter to? I can only speculate. The Oxford President, until January 1931, was D.E. Tinne, perhaps it was him? His successor was P.C. Mallam, another possible contender.”

Many, many thanks to Tim for cracking this case. And doing so, I feel that Tim and I have added a foot note to the rich history of rowing!

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