On Jock Wise

JockWise2 (2)
Jock Wise, of London RC, winner of the 1913 Wingfield Sculls. Photo from Chris Dodd’s book Water Boiling Aft.

Göran R Buckhorn writes:

HTBS received an e-mail from Laura B. in Northampton. She is looking for information on ‘Jock’ Wise; ‘I believe he was around in 1913, but I am looking for a connection to the town [Northampton] or any notable achievements’, she writes. Of course, HTBS is more than happy to oblige. Here is what I found so far:

Indeed, Claude ‘Jock’ W. Wise was around in 1913, rowing for London Rowing Club. We find printed information about Wise in my HTBS colleague Tim Koch’s fine biography on William ‘Wally’ D. Kinnear of Kensington Rowing Club, W.D. Kinnear: World Amateur Sculling Champion (2012). Tim writes:

On 9th July [1913] he [Kinnear] lost the final of the London Cup to Pinks by four lengths and on 12th July he lost the 1913 Wingfields to Jock Wise who, at two stone lighter, ‘won comfortably’. Only a year previously he had race and beaten these men easily.

In 1913, E.D.P. Pinks, of London RC, won London Cup by over-powering Kinnear, who beat Wise in the race. Kinnear also beat Wise in a heat of the Diamond Challenge Sculls at Henley – Cecil McVilly, of Derwent Rowing Club, Australia, was the 1913 winner of the Diamonds. At the following year’s Wingfields, Wise was beaten by J.L. Tann, of Thames Rowing Club, with three and a half lengths.

There is also information about Wise in Chris Dodd’s magnificent history book on London RC, Water Boiling Aft – London Rowing Club: The First 150 Years 1856 – 2006 (2006). Chris writes:

Claude ‘Jock’ Wise joined London [Rowing Club] in the autumn of 1905. He was a lightweight, winning the Wingfield Sculls in 1913 when he weighed 10 stone 1 pound, ‘an extraordinarily fine waterman and uses his head well. Wise’s performance was a brilliant one,’ said a contemporary report. He made twelve appearances in the Thames Cup. He rowed in the Grand and Wyfold in 1908 and again in 1920 and 1921. He contested the Diamonds in 1912 and 1913, but never won a Henley medal. He became the assistant secretary in 1912 and held continuous office until his death in 1971, being captain in 1920, vice-president in 1946 and president from 1951. A gentle and kindly man, Wise was a father figure of the sport. ‘He respect from all came from his quiet and sensible counsel combined with an active interest in the activities of not only those in his club but also of anyone connected with the sport,’ said The Times [16 July 1971].

Chris also mentions that Wise’s widow, Anne, later married Philip Nevil ‘Farn’ Carpmael, who was the president of London RC between 1976 and 1988.

Detail from Cosmo Clark’s painting for London Rowing Club’s centenary in 1956. Jock Wise is sitting in the launch wearing a LRC cap.

Other information about Wise: in 1934, as members of The Skiff Club in Teddington, he and Peter H. Jackson, the latter to be a member in the British coxless four competing at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, won the Gentlemen’s Double Sculls at the Skiff Championship Regatta. At one point Wise was also the president for the regatta. Wise was one of the coaches for Cambridge in the 1938 Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge. Oxford won the race with two lengths. One notable thing that year was that BBC was going to sent the first television broadcast of the event but it turned into a fiasco.

I am sure there is more information about Jock Wise out there, so now we welcome you readers to come forward if you have information about Wise, especially if you have information about him in connection to Northampton. Please write a comment below, or send an e-mail to: gbuckhorn – at – gmail – dot – com

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