Frederick Chalk

CHALK, FLIGHT LIEUT. FREDERICK GERALD HUDSON, D.F.C., missing from February 1943, was in January officially presumed killed. His tragic and uncertain death at the age of 32 was deplored by all who knew him and everyone interested in cricket. For Uppingham, Oxford and Kent he batted and fielded so brilliantly that he became an attractive figure whenever he played.

In 1928 he headed his school averages with 44; gained his Oxford Blue as a Brasenose Freshman in 1931 and, when captain of his University in 1934, played a brilliant innings of 108 at Lord's against Cambridge. Oxford won by eight wickets when Chalk first played against Cambridge and the next three engagements were drawn, so that he was never on the losing side in the University match. He averaged 38.84 for Kent after the Oxford term in 1934. Scholastic duties limited his appearances but his county form improved, and in 1937 he gave a splendid display in a fighting innings of 107 against Middlesex at Lord's where, on a worn pitch, he used the cut, pull and drive in delightful style; three of his strokes cleared the boundary and he hit ten 4's. Each season when county captain he scored over a thousand runs with averages of 25.34 and 30.66.

He played his highest innings, 198, at Tonbridge against Sussex in 1939 when he averaged 30.66, but perhaps his finest effort was against Yorkshire at Dover a week before the outbreak of war: making 115 not out, he carried his bat through an innings of 215 after Kent followed-on. This did not avert defeat, but five days later his 94 helped materially in victory over Lancashire by five wickets--a grand finish to a cricket career of high merit. In that last season of first-class cricket which we have known, Kent, thanks to his leadership in going for victory, drew only three of 27 games.

Of his capacity in captaincy Mr. G. de L. Hough, the Kent secretary, wrote: Gerry Chalk will be greatly missed by his many cricket friends--especially in Kent. Apart from his ability as a batsman and fielder, he was an excellent captain in the field. The way in which he nursed the bowling in 1939 was outstanding. He nearly always managed to keep one bowler fresh for use at a pinch, and I think it is fair to say that our rise in the Championship from twelfth in 1938 to fifth was largely due to this, and his example in, and placing of, the field.

Skilful defence, besides ability to score at every opportunity, made his batting especially valuable, while his speed and accuracy as an off-side fieldsman maintained the high reputation characteristic of the best Kent amateurs for generations.

Joining the Honourable Artillery Company as a gunner when war broke out, Chalk transferred to the R.A.F. as a rear gunner and won the D.F.C. in June 1941 when returning from a raid on Hanover. As described officially, Chalk by his cool and accurate fire undoubtedly saved his aircraft and probably destroyed the attacker--an Me. 110. Following a pilot's course he was promoted Flight Lieutenant and became a Spitfire flight commander.

Chalk married a daughter of G. N. Foster, of the Worcestershire family, who also played for Kent, as did his son, P. G. Foster, under his brother-in-law's captaincy.

© John Wisden & Co