A HUNDRED YEARS ON
This year sees the commemoration of the start First World War in 1914.
With this in mind, I have been looking through some of the early Sharrow Cycling Club archive material. Amongst this, I came across a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings, race programmes and Annual Dinner programmes.
One cutting, titled ‘Cyclist Soldiers’ refers to a special Victory Dinner which took place on Saturday, 29th November 1919, given to honour the Sharrow members who served in the conflict.
18 members went to war, two were killed in action.
I reproduce the full original article as printed. Very interesting historically, it captures the spirit and attitudes of the time.
Sharrow Club’s Welcome to Returned Members
Sharrow Cycling Club warmly welcomed the return of ex-soldier members of the Club at a dinner given in their honour at the King’s Head Hotel, Sheffield on Saturday night. The Club has a membership of between eighty and ninety and the returned warriors number sixteen. Two members were killed in the war.
Before the social proceedings commenced, all stood in silence in remembrance of those who sacrificed their lives in honour of their country.
The feelings of all present were expressed by the President, Mr G B Wood, who, in the name of the Club, extended the heartiest of welcomes to those brave fellows who had been spared to return to them. They were aware of the ordeal they had gone through, but not one word of grumble had been heard from any of them. We grumbled and groused at home whilst they were sticking it, They were indeed proud to have them back. (Applause)
Mr W E Cope, representing the NCU, said they did not forget when the buzzers were going in Sheffield. The man who gave his life for his country could give no more, and no more could be asked of him.
He was prouder today of the Sharrow Club, observed Mr Walpole Hiller, than he had ever been and he had joined the Club a week or two after it was formed in 1887. He was proud to feel that they had such brave fellows in the Sharrow Club and if the cry came tomorrow to help their country, the boys of the Sharrow would say, ‘ Here I am, take me again’. (Applause) They had had thirty dinners but never one such as on that night. They were glad to see the boys home again and hoped there were many happy days in store for them.
In acknowledgement, Sergeant-Major Baynes thanked the speakers for their kind references. They had only done their duty and did not wish to be regarded as heroes. It was the best sport he had ever been in. (Cycling) It was the worst sport and he hoped it would be the last of that sort. (The Great War). He thanked them for the Sharrow parcels received. But for them they would have come badly off. The spirit of Englishmen was of sportsmanship, and never would they see the weaker men go to the wall. (Applause.)
Trooper Warner, after relating some rough experiences on the Somme Front, said that was a night they had thought of many a time, and they often wondered if they ever would reach such a stage. They had only done their duty and if there had not been ‘indispensable’ people at home they would have had a poor time at the Front.
The proceedings, interspersed with songs, duets solos and stories were of a thoroughly enjoyable description.
The SHARROW C.C. YEAR BOOK for 1918 gives the following :
ROLL OF HONOUR
A.C.Baynes City Battalion (Yorks & Lancs Regiment)
W. Hagon do. do.
W.H.Kettle do. do.
L.E.B. Warner Queens Own Yorkshire Dragoons
C.G.Dodworth 3/1 W.R. Div. Cyclists Co. (Killed Sept. 1917)
G. Kenyon City of London Cyclist Battalion
N. MacDonald Black Watch
D. Smith Royal Flying Corps.
J. Wear do. do.
G.Skinner do. do.
T. Brookes Army Service Corps.
R.H.Dickinson (Capt.) City Battalion ( Yorks & Lancs Regiment)
J.A.Craven do. do.
H.P.Spencer do. do.
F.A.Pattinson (Lieut.) do. do.
Arthur Clifford Baynes was an English teacher who taught at Crookes Endowed School. He also performed a comedy monologue act under the name of ‘Stainless Stephen’ which he punctuated verbally eg;,”semi-colon, comma’ full-stop. He later moved to London to be close to BBC Radio,
also performing on stage and music halls. His stage attire included a bowler hat with a stainless band, stainless steel waistcoat and revolving bow tie. He raced successfully for the Sharrow during the 1920-30s and the Club holds a collection of gold and silver medals won
during his cycling career. These were kindly donated to the Club by his family after his death in Leeds 1977.
L.E.B. Warner was a long distance specialist and set a new record for Sheffield to London on the 3rd of September 1910 with a time of 10 hours. We have his record book with the checking points and signatures completed. Within the same week, he also attempted the Sheffield to
Bridlington record, failing by just 1 min to break the record with his time of 4 hours 37mins. He rode the North Road ’24’ hour race on three occasions. Clearly a formidable cyclist.
During the four war years, all Club events were abandoned although Club runs continued. Funds were raised for various War Funds, the Lord Mayor’s Relief Fund and monthly parcels were sent to each serving member.
The Club’s Headquarters had been at the Imperial Hotel for many years but in 1914 this was moved to the Brincliffe Oaks beginning a long association with the hotel.