Arise Sir David…

David Tanner, soon to be Sir David.

This always alert Tim Koch found a serious omission in the earlier posted entry today. Tim writes,

The HTBS report on rowers honoured in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for 2013 did have one major omission: David Tanner, the Performance Director of British Rowing since 1996, has received one of the five highest honours given this year, that of Knight Bachelor, and so becomes ‘Sir David Tanner CBE’. (He was made a ‘Commander of the British Empire’ in 2009, an award which took precedent over the lower ‘Order of the British Empire’, given to him in 2003.) It was awarded ‘for services to Rowing and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games’. He gave his reaction to Rachel Quarrell in the Daily Telegraph.

As Quarrell says: ‘Under his aegis the GB rowing team has established a national training base, an army of coaches and support staff, and a racing record that is the envy of the world.’

The other ‘rowing knights’ are Sir Harcourt Gilbey Gold (1876-1952), Sir Steven Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. I am a little disappointed that an honorary knighthood was not forthcoming for Jürgen Gröbler, something I had previously suggested may happen this year. He is, however, already an honorary OBE.

Understandably, many foreigners find the complex British honours system a little strange and anachronistic. Most of us here in the UK can appreciate this but, to receive an honour from an Empire that no longer exists or to be made a Knight when your abilities to fight in a suit of armour are limited does not seem to devalue the awards. In characteristic British style, self deprecating jokes are made about the system. In previous years, so many OBEs (Order of the British Empire) were given to undistinguished but time serving senior civil servants that it was known as ‘Other Buggers’ Efforts’. Higher up the scale, the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George has three classes, Companion (CMG), Knight Commander (KCMG) and, the most senior, Knight Grand Cross (GCMG). The old joke is that they stand for ‘Call Me God’, ‘Kindly Call Me God’ and ‘God Calls Me God’.

Tanner will be officially dubbed ‘Sir David’ by the Queen or other senior Royal at an investiture to be held later in 2013. While a sword will be used to touch the kneeling knight-elect on the shoulders, contrary to popular belief the words ‘Arise, Sir …’ are not used. This does not stop its hackneyed use in article titles….

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