John Beresford: My Dad’s Scull

Jack’s Olympic scull.

10 August 2020

By John Beresford

HTBS is excited to present the next installment in our series of show-and-tell. John Beresford writes about his father, five-time Olympian Jack Bersford, Jnr., and how he won an Olympic gold medal together with Dick Southwood in the double sculls at the 1936 Games.

I am now an avid reader of HTBS, having ‘found’ it during the publication of my book Jack Beresford: An Olympian at War (2019) – see HTBS review of the book here.

“Jack Beresford: An Olympian at War” by John Beresford was published on 28 June 2019.

HTBS opened my eyes to the wealth of information about rowing of which I was rather ignorant before embarking on my book journey; my first and probably last book! Jack Beresford is not a biography, but a record of Dad’s WWI letters from the front and a story about his remarkable rowing record.

One item I particularly cherish, shown in the photograph above, is his 1936 Berlin Olympic scull, which records his Double Sculls Gold Medal win with Dick Southwood in front of Hitler, who stormed out of his box in anger.

Dad said: ‘The last win in the doubles was the greatest and the sweetest, for we had come out to Berlin without a race and beaten the world’.

That Olympics is described in my book and can be seen on YouTube in one of the 1989 BBC Tales of Gold series – “Jack Beresford”.

[Ed. note: In Tales of Gold, the narrator, Kenneth Branagh, is also mentioning Jack’s father, Julius, and his Olympic silver medal in the 1912 Stockholm Games. The British crew took a silver in the coxed four, not the coxless four.]

Watch the Jack Beresford episode here:

The Germans had won every rowing event till the Doubles Sculls win, which was followed by the USA winning the eights, described in Daniel Brown’s fascinating book The Boys in the Boat.

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