For those of you who read HTBS regularly, Jack Beresford Jnr of Thames Rowing Club is by now a household name. He is one of the HTBS editor’s ‘rowing heroes’, not only because he was such a tremendous oarsman with five Olympic medals in five Olympic Games, but also because he was a true hero. When he was 70 – and I am quoting myself from my column ‘In this month…’ January/February 2010 Rowing & Regatta:
“… in summer 1969, when Jack was umpiring at the National School’s regatta at Pangbourne, a tragedy occurred that would cast a dark shadow over his final years. A member of the Norwich School eight caught a crab and was thrown overboard. Jack was quickly there with his launch, taking off his jacket and shoes, to dive in. A strong current took them both underwater and the boy slipped away. Jack was picked up by a launch, while the boy was later found dead. [- – -] Not being able to save the boy, Jack took the accident very hard.”
When I was in contact with Jack’s children Carina and John about this tragedy, they both agreed that due to this incident Jack sometime later lost the sight of an eye and his health began to declined. He died of a heart attack on 3 December, 1977.
I ended my little piece in the Rowing & Regatta with a highly valuable question: “…why has there never been a full-length biography written about this great, brave Olympian oarsman?”.
Well, my question still stands, but in 1989 BBC showed a fairly long film about Jack Beresford in the series Tales of Gold (also a book with the same title, published the same year). The other day this part was uploaded on YouTube – thank you, thank you for this cultural achievement! Here it is – enjoy: