Obituaries during the war, 1941

ADLARD, CAPTAIN G. H., R.A., killed by enemy action in February, aged 29, was a valuable member of Highgate School XI in 1929. A sound batsman, he averaged 28.50 and bowled slow with a deadly googly, 39 wickets falling to him at less than 18 runs each. He fielded finely in a side in which W. H. Webster, the captain excelled. In fact, Adlard shared the honours with his leader, who became a Cambridge Blue. He played for the Hornsey Club with conspicuous success.

BAERLEIN, PILOT OFFICER ANTHONY M., R.A. F. V. R., was killed in action in October, aged 29. A son of Edgar M. Baerlein, who won the Amateur Tennis Championship thirteen times, he inherited skill in games and excelled at cricket. For three years, 1929-31, he kept for Eton. After trying film production, Anthony Baerlein became a journalist before volunteering for the Air Force, in which he did as a bomber pilot.

BENNETT, MR. MONTAGU V., reported missing and believed drowned at sea while serving in the Navy in January 1941, played for Lincolnshire. A good batsman, he averaged 21.20 in 1939 and did useful work with the ball.

BRISCOE, CAPTAIN A. W., M. C., whose death was reported in a Johannesburg newspaper as having occurred in the Abyssinian campaign, at the age of 30, batted well for Transvaal. Against the Australian team that visited South Africa in 1935-36 he made 60 and 18, 21 and 11 for his State, but in the second Test match his 15 and 16 were not good enough to retain his place in the side. His efforts were somewhat similar when the M.C.C. team, captained by W. R. Hammond, toured South Africa in 1938-39. Briscoe then scored 42 and 38 not out for Transvaal and for Combined Transvaal 2 and 12 not out, but, given a place in the second Test, he was out for 2. In Currie Cup matches he played innings of 191 and 140. Awarded the M.C. for gallantry at Huberta and Ionte, he fell when again acting very bravely, regardless of danger. Bruce Mitchell and R. E. Grieveson--so well-known in South African cricket--were in action with Briscoe.

CHRISTIE, PRIVATE ROBERT THOMAS, of the Australian Imperial Forces, died of wounds on May 7, aged 24. A free-scoring batsman for Glenelg, he won The Mail Cup for the fastest hundred in Adelaide cricket by hitting up a century in 58 minutes in the last match of the 1938-39 season. Previously Don Bradman was credited with the fastest hundred, made in 80 minutes. Christie, prominent also in Australian football and baseball, excelled in games when at Sacred Heart College, Adelaide.

CURLING, SECOND LIEUT. DESMOND L., aged 21, was killed in action while serving in Crete in June. In 1937 for Eton he averaged 35.20, with a highest innings of 125 against Winchester, and next season his average was 27.45, with best score 61; but he did little against Harrow. Keeper of Fives, he played that game as a freshman for Cambridge and was successful against Oxford.

DIXON, SUB.-LIEUT. ERIC J. H., R.N.V.R., was presumed killed on active service in April, aged 25. From St. Edward's School, Oxford, he went to the University, and captained the Dark Blues in his third year 1939 with such success that Cambridge were beaten at Lord's by 45 runs. After showing sound defence and good stroke play in making 75, the highest score in a total of 313, he revealed clever strategy in managing his bowling and wisdom in letting his side bat again 156 ahead rather then enforce the follow-on. His declaration with three men out proved so well timed that, despite a grand 100 by P. J. Dickinson, Cambridge were dismissed at five minutes past seven in a splendid finish. Oxford won the 1937 match by seven wickets and the next game was drawn, so that Dixon could look back on his experience at Lord's with justifiable pride. He averaged 33.43 for Oxford in 1939, his best performance concluding his University cricket. For Northamptonshire he then came out strongly. Averaging 27.15, he played a best innings of 123 against Somerset--exactly half his side's total--being ninth out to a fine catch at long leg after batting four hours and a quarter. He possessed the ideal temperament for an opening batsman, patient, optimistic and dour in conformity with his county characteristics--he was born in Yorkshire--and he set a splendid example in the field.

FARNES, PILOT OFFICER KENNETH, R. A. F., the Cambridge, Essex and England fast bowler, was killed during the night of October 20, when the plane in which he was pilot crashed. His death at the age of 30 came as a great shock to countless friends and the whole world of cricket. After training in Canada he desired to become a night-flying pilot, and within four weeks of his return to England he met his disastrous end.

Discovered when 19 years of age by Mr. Percy Perrin in an Essex Club and Ground match against Gidea Park in 1930, Kenneth Farnes took five Kent wickets for 36 runs in his second county match and was welcome in the Essex team whenever available. After three years in the Cambridge Eleven, he went as a master to Workshop College, and consequently his appearances in first-class cricket were limited. His University experiences brought continuous improvement. In 1933 his work for Cambridge showed 41 wickets at 17.39 runs apiece, and he was by far the most effective amateur bowler in the country with a record of 113 wickets at 18.38 each. In a drawn match with Oxford seven wickets fell to him at a cost of 71 runs. His best performance that season--11 wickets for 114 runs, 7 for 21 in the second innings--enabled Essex to beat Surrey by 345 runs at Southend, their first success against these opponents since 1914. In ten matches for the County, Farnes claimed 67 wickets at an average cost of 16.07, and this form brought him the honour of representing England in the first Test against Australia in 1934. Despite his fine performance--ten wickets for 179 runs-- England lost by 238 runs. Strangely enough, when England won by an innings and 38 runs at Lord's, Farnes did not meet with any reward, Verity taking the honours. Farnes was not called upon again in that series, but in 1938 he took most wickets in Tests against Australia--17 at 34.17 each.

In 1934 he was largely responsible for the first victory of Essex over Yorkshire since 1911 by taking 11 wickets for 131, Southend again proving a favourable ground for him. Thanks to Farnes dismissing seven men for 59 in the final stage, Essex brought about a great triumph by an innings and 46 runs. After a tour in West Indies knee trouble prevented Farnes from playing in 1935, but next season, for the Gentlemen at Lord's, he created a sensation by bowling Gimblett, Hammond and Hardstaff in quick succession, a stump being sent flying in each case. With four men out for 33, the Players were in danger of defeat, but, after the complete loss of Wednesday owing to rain, there was not time to reach a finish in two days. This fine work influenced the choice of Farnes to tour Australia with the team captained by G. O. Allen in the winter of 1936. Never did he bowl better than in the last Test, when he took six wickets for 96 runs in a total of 604; Australia won by an innings and 200--a result that decided the rubber.

Farnes bowled well in Test trials at Lord's. In 1938 he gave special proof of being in great form by dismissing eight Players for 43 runs in the first innings and three in the second for 60, so doing a lot towards the Gentlemen winning by 133 runs--their second victory in this encounter since the last war. In the following winter he went with the England touring team to South Africa, where he was second in Test bowling to Verity. His 16 wickets cost 32.43 each, while in the whole tour 44 wickets fell to him at 27.43 a piece. He did the best bowling of the third Test, the only one brought to a definite finish, which gave W. R. Hammond's side the rubber. With four wickets for 29, Farnes was mainly instrumental in making South Africa follow on, and he dismissed three men for 80 in their second innings of 353, which left England still 13 runs to the good after a declaration with only four men out. Paynter, 243--a South African record--and Hammond, 120, were the great batsmen on that occasion; their stand realised 242.

Farnes made his first appearance of the season in 1939 for the Gentlemen, and showed his fondness for Lord's by disposing of the last three Players in the course of six balls. This final effort by Farnes at headquarters recalls how well he bowled in University matches; but in 1932 he disfigured an analysis of five wickets for 98 runs by being called 21 times. The discipline then brought to bear was effective in correcting a faulty approach to the crease. Nearly six feet five inches tall, Farnes, taking a comparatively short and easy run, brought the ball down from a great height with the inevitable effect of sharp lift, which made him extremely difficult to time when retaining a good length. Altogether in first-class cricket Farnes took 720 wickets at an average of 20.55 each.

A very good field near the wicket, Farnes reached many catches that would have been impossible for a man of medium height. He had no pretension as a batsman, but in 1936, at Taunton, hit up 97 not out in two hours, Wade helping to add 149 for the last wicket; dismissing six men in the match, Farnes was largely responsible for Essex winning by an innings and 66 runs. He laughed at just failing to get a century--the ambition of every batsman.

Farnes wrote a very interesting book--Tours and Tests, published in 1940; among his hobbies were painting and music.

GROVES, MR. GEORGE JASPER, died on February 18, as the result of a wound suffered through enemy action when at Newmarket on duty as a racing journalist. Born on October 19, 1868, in Nottingham, where his Yorkshire parents were on a visit, he had a county qualification which was discovered by a friend watching him make many runs for the Richmond club, and a recommendation obtained for him a trial when 30 years of age in the 1899 August Bank Holiday match at the Oval. At that time he ran a sports reporting business, founded by his father, and he was well known in the Press world. I was one of several in the Press box anxious for his success, and we were delighted at the way he overcame the ordeal of facing Lockwood, Richardson, Hayward, Brockwell and Lees before a 20,000 crowd. He said to me afterwards, Tom Rchardson gave me a short one on the leg side and the four, that was a gift, quietened my nerves. He made 42, helping A. O. Jones in a stand that stopped a collapse of Notts. Against Middlesex at Trent Bridge his 51, the highest score in the Notts second innings, could not stave off defeat by ten wickets, brought about mainly by the all-round play of C. M. Wells, who batted grandly for 244 and took nine wickets for 111 runs with his slows. Next year at Lord's, going in first with A. O. Jones, Groves batted soundly for 28 and not out 36 which brought victory over M.C.C. by eight wickets. His highest innings in county cricket, 56 not out, after a grand 137 by William Gunn, helped towards a dramatic victory over Kent. So well did P. C. Baker bat that a Trent Bridge record for runs hit off was expected. Tom Wass, the fast bowler, had retired lame, but when victory for Kent seemed inevitable he returned. The last six wickets fell for 66 runs, and Nottinghamshire won within 25 minutes of time by 12 runs, the innings closing for 346--one of the best finishes that I ever saw. Very consistent, Groves averaged 23.36 during two seasons in County matches, but journalistic duties compelled him to give up first-class cricket. A small man of rather light build, Groves used the hook stroke and cut well. He fielded very smartly, usually at third man.

He learned games at school in Sheffield, and played Association football for that city against London--a great match for amateurs. He was a useful member of Sheffield United before his family settled in London. Then he captained Woolwich Arsenal in the old days at Plumstead. A full-back at one time, and then centre-half, he was a strong skilful player, and I enjoyed many games in his company for mid-week amateur teams. Good at billiards, he often acted as referee in professional matches.


HAMILTON, MAJOR CYRIL PENN, R. A., very prominent in Army sports, particularly cricket, and an occasional member of M.C.C. and Kent elevens, was killed in Libya in February, aged 33. A sound defensive batsman capable of hitting very freely when set, he showed to special advantage at Lord's where he played several fine innings. In 1932 he made 83 for The Army against Royal Navy, and two years later in the corresponding fixture his 141 not out was by far the highest score until rain caused an abandonment of the game. Also in 1934, for M.C.C. against Scotland, his 101 was the best innings in a drawn match. Maintaining this form, he made 50 and 19 for the Gentlemen in the Folkestone Festival, so taking a useful part in a victory by three wickets over the Players. His value in a hard fight had further proof next year when he made 135 for M.C.C. against Gentlemen of Ireland, who gained a most creditable victory. For Royal Artillery against Royal Engineers in 1938 he again showed his fondness for the turf at headquarters by hitting up 205, which had most to do with his side winning by 228 after being on the first innings. Among his other games were hockey, at which he represented Scotland, rackets and squash.

HUSKISSON, MAJOR JOHN, K.R.R.C. (Rangers). After being reported missing, was officially presumed killed in action in Crete on May 27, 1941. Aged 28, he was one of five brothers, four of whom played Rugby football for Old Merchant Taylors'. A very good all-round cricketer, he was in the Merchant Taylors' School XI in 1928 and three following seasons. Twice he was second in the batting averages, while in 1931 he headed the list with 348 runs in 12 innings and an average of 31.63 his highest innings being 135 not out. Against Dover College in 1930--a tie match--he made top score, 47, in a total of 145 and with his right-hand medium-pace bowling took seven wickets.

Of his doings in club cricket the hon. Secretary of Buckhurst Hill, Mr. A. Cuthbert-Brown, said of their captain, It is difficult to believe that this club, in its 78 years existence, has ever had a more popular member. That is not a belated opinion, by any means, and was often expressed in the days when war seemed impossible, for very few could resist his handsome presence and charm of manner. John was a fine cricketer, one of the club's most brilliant batsmen, a spectacular fieldsman and a skilful and tactful leader.

KERSHAW, PILOT, OFFICER A., a very good all-round cricketer in the Rugby elevens of 1936 to 1938, was killed during March, aged 21. In 1937 he scored 124 not out against Marlborough at Lord's his left-handed batting being brilliant and stylish; next season against Clifton he did most towards a handsome victory by an innings and 116 runs each. His left-handed spin bowling headed the averages in his last two seasons when he played for Lord's Schools against The Rest. On the first occasion he took five wickets for 46 runs and on the second he played a good innings of 43 not out. In 1939 he played once for Lancashire 2nd XI, scoring 39. He excelled at racquets, representing the school for three years, and was first string when Rugby won the Public Schools championship at Queen's Club in 1938.

PINNEY, MAJOR BERNARD, R.A.; M.C., fell on active service late in the year, aged 38. He played for Winchester in 1920, both Harrow and Eton being beaten, but next year both these matches were lost. A useful batsman, Pinney averaged 22.78 in his second year, when the match with Eton was made historic by J. L. Guise playing an innings of 278, the highest in Eton and Winchester fixtures. Pinney, with 21, was the next best scorer, and he helped Guise in a stand that did most towards pulling the game round; but amends could not be made for the first dismissal for 57, a poor score due mainly to G. O. Allen taking five wickets for 20. Pinney was awarded the M.C. for gallantry at Dunkirk.

SALE, PILOT OFFICER JOHN RICHARD, died on active service in November, aged 20. Born at Longreach, Australia, on June 1, 1921, he was the only son of John Caruthers Sale, who was in the Marlborough XI of 1895 and made a few appearances for Linconshire before moving to Norfolk. J. R. Sale was in the Marlborough XI from 1937 to 1940, being captain the last year, when he scored several centuries, besides 93 and 57 against Haileybury at Lord's. On the strength of this form he was chosen for Sir Pelham Warner' XI against Cricket Club Conference. His Marlborough average was 68.67 with 153 his highest score. A fine field and good captain, he possessed all the qualifications of a first-class cricketer. In Norfolk County Colts matches he showed great promise, and if war had not intervened he would have played for the County. During school holidays he often assisted East Dereham club.

SEAGRAM, MR. PHILLIP FROUDE, who was born at Waterloo, Canada came to London and was a victim of an air raid on March 8. He played cricket for Ridley, where he studied at the College, for Waterloo and Toronto from 1933 to 1939. Seagram proved himself a good batsman, but when visiting England in 1936 with the team brought over by the Hon. R. C. Matthews he averaged only 14, with a highest score of 26 not out. He took 21 wickets at 15.53 runs apiece. In August 1937 the M.C.C. for the first time sent out a team to Canada, thirteen amateurs being captained by G. C. Newman, the Oxford Blue and Middlesex batsman. Against them Seagram played a capital innings of 66 for Toronto.

WALKER, FLIGHT-LIEUT. DONALD FREDERICK, R.A.F.V.R., who was killed during a flight over Germany on the night of June 17 and buried in Holland, was one of Hampshire's most promising batsmen. Born on August 15, 1912, he went to King's College School, Wimbledon, where he developed into a very good cricketer. A left-handed batsman, he averaged 30.62 in 1928 and in his last year he headed the batting with 23.20, besides proving useful with the ball. A brilliant fieldsman, he also could keep wicket. He was good enough for a trial in the Surrey second eleven in 1933, but his home was at Bournemouth and, having attracted attention by scoring a thousand runs and taking a hundred wickets one season in club cricket, he was persuaded to turn professional and joined the Hampshire staff. Playing first for the County in 1937, he soon showed his skill, and took part in a record fifth-wicket stand for Hampshire, 235 being added in company with G. Hill, who also got his first hundred in county cricket. Altogether that season Walker scored 847 runs, and next year he made 925. He surpassed this in 1939 with 1,117 runs, including three centuries; average 29.39. Only Arnold and Bailey were above him. Sound in defence, with unlimited patience, Walker brought off good strokes all round the wicket and generally gave every indication of a successful career. A strong Rugby football player, he captained the Dorset County team and also captained an R.A.F. side. This Walker of Hampshire must not be confused with David Frank Walker, who went to Uppingham, got his Blue as a Freshman, captained Oxford University in 1935, and was prominent in the Norfolk County XI. He was reported missing in March, 1942.

WELCH, LEIUT. WILLIAM, M., who fell in action early in the year, was prominent at all games when at Harrow. A sound batsman, he gained his place in the cricket eleven in 1928 and scored 70 not out, the highest innings for his side, in the match against Eton. He also showed up well in a great effort for victory, which would have been Harrow's first since 1908. Promoted to number three, he scored 36 and the task of making 308 in three hours and a half became possible, but Hazlerigg caused a collapse and Eton won by 28 runs at a quarter past seven--the first definite issue after six draws. With his slow right-hand bowling Welch started an Eton collapse on the first day by taking two wickets for three runs, six men being dismissed for an addition of 39. He did little next year in a draw at Lord's. When captain in 1930 he won the toss after that fortunate start had gone to Eton for many years, but his good work--48 and 13; four wickets for 79--could not stave off defeat by eight wickets. His Harrow average that year--44.3--included 171 not out. First string at racquets and a Rugby football colour, Welch was a notable athlete.

BRANCH, FLYING-OFFICER GUY ROWSTRON, was killed on active service on August 11, 1940, aged 26. He gained the E. G. M. for gallantry in saving the life of a pilot trapped in a burning plane. In the Eton eleven of 1932, he played against Harrow in a drawn match. Branch made double figures in each innings, but everything else on that occasion at Lord's was dwarfed by the 109 and 96 scored by N. S. Hotchkin, Eton's opening batsman, whose second display saved the side from danger of defeat. Branch played racquets very well.

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