1914: The Rowing Front

Telegraph headerGreg Denieffe writes:

HTBS readers may be interested to know that The Daily Telegraph are republishing ‘day by day’ a PDF version of the full original edition of the newspaper of 100 years ago for the period 1914 to 1918.

The first online edition in their World War One Archive appeared on 16 March 2014 when the newspaper announced:

The archive will grow into a fascinating record of how the First World War was reported, but the accounts of life on the home front and of a world that was vanishing are just as gripping.

Perhaps as gripping is the fact that we will now have free online access to the some of the best coverage of the two major rowing events of 1914, the Boat Race and Henley Royal Regatta. First up was comprehensive coverage of the 1914 Boat Race by ‘An Old Blue’.

The race took place on 28 March and Cambridge won by 4½ lengths, ending a run of five Oxford victories. Daily coverage in the Telegraph began more than a week before the race with reports from the Tideway on how the crews were performing in training, the latest on crew selection and their next scheduled outings. Read the reports by clicking on the daily links and scrolling down to the appropriate page: Friday 20 March 1914, page 17; Saturday 21 March 1914, page 18; Monday 23 March 1914, page 19; Tuesday 24 March 1914, page 15; Wednesday 25 March 1914, page 17; Thursday 26 March 1914, page 14; Friday 27 March 1914, page 17.

On race day, Saturday 28 March 1914, the Boat Race featured on four pages:

Rowing (or, as it was headlined initially, “Aquatics”) was one of the earliest sports to feature on the Daily Telegraph’s radar, and the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race was an event that received more extensive coverage in the Telegraph than most sporting events. For example, the Boat Race and the FA Cup final in 1873 took place on the same day. Oxford University were in both, but while the report of the Boat Race received three-quarters of a page, there was no mention whatsoever of the Cup Final!

Thus in today’s paper on pages 11 and 12 the equivalent of almost half a page is taken up with previewing today’s race, plus it receives a leader on page 10 and all 18 participants are pictured on page 14.

Coverage of the race itself can be found in the edition published on Monday 30 March 1914:

Cambridge win easily in the Boat Race – page 11, with pictures on page 14.

War was declared on 4 August; five of those who raced that day made the ultimate sacrifice. They are remembered by Laura Mitchell in her article, “Tragedy of 1914 Oxford Cambridge Boat Race” on the Museum of London website.

Fletcher
Reginald William Fletcher (Oxford) died in 1914.
Garnett
Kenneth Gordon Garnett (Cambridge) died in 1917.
Ridley
L. E. Ridley (Cambridge) died in 1917.
Ritson
John Andrew Ritson (left, Cambridge) – died in 1916.
Dennis Ivor Day (Cambridge) – died of wounds on 7 October 1915.
Dennis Ivor Day (Cambridge) – died of wounds on 7 October 1915.

Later in the year and only a month before war was declared, Henley Royal Regatta began with coverage by the paper’s rowing writer, now styled ‘Old Blue’. HTBS editor Göran Buckhorn suggests that this may have been Charles Cox, who rowed at Trinity Hall, Cambridge (Blue in 1901), and who was editor of the rowing column of The Field between 1903 and 1920 and then wrote under the signature ‘Old Blue’ for The Daily Telegraph between 1921 and 1927.

Read the reports on the following links (all photos and headlines from The Daily Telegraph archive):

Wednesday 1 July 1914

Henley Regatta notice
Notice of the regatta appears on page 11.
Meanwhile the opening of Henley Regatta was the latest sporting event to receive a full-page preview on page 14; life was still carrying on blithely as usual.
Meanwhile the opening of Henley Regatta was the latest sporting event to receive a full-page preview on page 14; life was still carrying on blithely as usual.

Thursday 2 July 1914

A “Brilliant Opening” to the Henley Regatta is reported by “An Old Blue” on pages 11 and 12.
A “Brilliant Opening” to the Henley Regatta is reported by “An Old Blue” on pages 11 and 12.

Friday 3 July 1914

Read a first-hand report on the heats of The Grand Challenge Cup in which all four English entries were beaten by overseas opposition. Thames (with some men missing having already enlisted), London, Leander and Jesus College, Cambridge fell to Winnipeg; Union Boat Club, Boston; Harvard and Mainzer Ruder Verein respectively.

“Yesterday at Henley was a most disastrous day in the annals of British oarsmanship” reports “An Old Blue” on pages 11 and 12.
“Yesterday at Henley was a most disastrous day in the annals of British oarsmanship” reports “An Old Blue” on pages 11 and 12.

Saturday 4 July 1914

More TriumhsReports on semi-finals – page 7.

Monday 6 July 1914

Saturday's finalReport the Saturday’s final day of racing on page 13 and photos of closing scenes on page 16.

Sinigaglia winning the Diamond Sculls.
Sinigaglia winning the Diamond Sculls.
Harvard beating Boston in the final of the Grand Challenge Cup.
Harvard beating Boston in the final of the Grand Challenge Cup.

You can watch a short clip of the 1914 HRR here, including the finish of an eights race.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s