Rowers Remember Their Own: #bladesofremembrance

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, members of Nottingham RC, Nottingham & Union RC, and Nottingham University BC line Trent Bridge to remember those from the once four rowing clubs in the city who died in two World Wars.

12 November 2018

By Tim Koch

Those of us who went to school in the days when the subject of history was taught properly will remember the pre-exam advice to always swot up on ‘the causes of the First World War’. Today, such knowledge may be less widespread. Certainly, what was once called ‘The Great War’ has now passed from living memory. We who were not there tend to think of old men with shiny boots and ridiculous moustaches staring blankly at maps, or of cheery marching soldiers giving crooked tooth grins and silent thumb-ups to static cameras. Further, the First World War has none of the clarity of the later fight against the Nazis and their obscene philosophy. It is difficult not to see the two sides in 1914 as both being motivated by much the same things: industrialisation and imperialism. Thus, 1914 – 1918 could easily be thought of as another piece of history that had little obvious meaning to the modern age. However, at 11 am on Sunday, 11 November, the disproportionately young British rowing community demonstrated that a war that ended 100 years ago was still relevant to them. Many hundreds responded to the initiative that came from the Thames Regional Rowing Council (TRRC):

Virtually every rowing club that was in existence during one of the world wars or subsequently has lost a member or members in the line of duty somewhere in the world. The TTRC felt an appropriate way to commemorate this loss to our clubs and our community was to mark it with not just a moment of silence, but also a visual representation of this loss. We would like to invite clubs to participate in Blades of Remembrance: At 11 am on 11 November 2018, we ask club members to stand in front of their clubs and layout/display a club blade to commemorate each member that they have lost to war.

Below are just some of the pictures that were posted on Twitter after the two-minute silence on 11 November with the hashtag bladesofremembrance. 

Thirty-four blades representing those of Auriol RC and of Kensington RC lost in two World Wars await collection by Auriol Kensington members prior to the 11 am silence.
Bristol Ariel RC lost 17 members in the Great War.
Castle Semple Rowing Club.
Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club.
Cygnet RC and Barnes Bridge Ladies RC. Cygnet has done some wonderful research on the club in the First World War.
De Montford University Boat Club.
Dittons Skiff and Punting Club.
Eton Excelsior RC lost nine members, 1914 – 1918.
GB Squad.
GB Squad Trials, Boston Lincolnshire.
Llandaff RC. The constituent Cardiff and Taff clubs lost 18 members in the First World War.
London Rowing Club remembers the 45 of its dead from the Great War.
Mortlake, Anglian and Alpha Boat Club.
Northwich RC marks the seven of its rowers killed in the First World War.
Oxford University Women’s Boat Club.
Putney Town RC.
Royal Air Force Rowing Club.
Cardiff University Rowing Club.
Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club.
St Paul’s School Boat Club.
Star Rowing Club.
Stourport Boat Club mark seven of its members killed over one hundred years ago.
Talkin Tarn Amateur Rowing Club has found details of three of its members who did not return from the First World War.
Thames RC lost 30 members in the Great War.
Trafford Rowing Club.
Twickenham Rowing Club.
Vesta RC had 12 members killed in the First World War.

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