Sir Max Hastings, Queen's Club and the Great War Tennis Champions

The famous journalist and historian was the guest of honour at a dinner held at the Queen's Club. London, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the start of the Great War. 

 

Over 100 guests including myself, and other historians, were present.  Hastings gave a very detailed and fascinating lecture of the background and why the Great War broke out.

 

Queen's Club had two very distinguished tennis players who were both killed in the War.  The more famous being Anthony Wilding, a New Zealander but educated at Cambridge, who was a four time Wimbledon champion and also a Queen's champion.  He was killed in 1915 serving as a Captain in the Royal Marines. 

 

The lesser known casualty was Kenneth Powell who was not only a Queen's Club champion in 1908 but also an Olympic hurdler.  He participated in the Olympics in London in 1908, Stockholm in 1912 and he was also Wilding's tennis partner at Cambridge.  His photograph had been hanging in Queen's Club for many years until I recognised the picture and was able to inform members about this forgotten great sportsman.  He was also killed in action in 1915 serving as a private soldier in the Honourable Artillery Company.

 

It is also an interesting fact that Sir Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon, who served as Britain's foreign secretary during the Great War, was also a champion Real Tennis player and won the Amateur Championship at Queen's Club five times.  He is best remembered for his remark at the outbreak of war "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our time",

 

Kenneth powell.jpg

Kenneth Powell

April 11, 2014 by Robert Fuller
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