The 1911 Army and Navy Boxing Championships were held at the Connaught Drill Hall in Alfred Street, Portsmouth over a four-day period between Wednesday 18 October and Saturday 21 October.
These were the first Championships to be held under the auspices of the new Royal Navy and Army Boxing Association and the first official joint Service tournament ever held in Portsmouth.
‘Boxing’ stated that the tournament “was remarkable for many reasons. In the first place the general arrangements were about as perfect as they well could be. Liuet. C C Walcot is a born organiser – another Kitchener – and he had rendered everything as clear and as easy for the public and press as it could possibly be. Everyone who attended was assured of a perfect view of all the proceedings, while the M.C.’s services, clearly and distinctly as every announcement was made, were scarcely needed. Everyone present was able to tell at once the pair who were about to take the ring. The number of the contests told us to which division and to which series of that division the bout belonged, while the numbers of the men and the fact that the corners were separately coloured enabled us at once and always to identify the men. Every pair wore not only a red and green sash respectively, but also red and green gloves. The judge’s votes were indicated by the appearance of red and green lights, thus dispensing with the wearisome trot of the old-time officials who used to collect the votes for presentation to the referee. Further the winner was announced by the hoisting of a red or green flag”.
It would appear that the Royal Navy in this, the first ever Championships held at ‘home’, spared nothing in trying to impress all and sundry with their efficiency.
The referees and judges were Commander P M R Royd (Royal Navy), Lieutenant Hunt (RN), Lieutenant Curtis (RN), Lieutenant St Clair (RN), Major M C Harrison (ASC), Major E Wray (RMLI), Lieut. H Formby (RN), Captain G M Lindsay (Rifle Brigade) and Captain R B Campbell (Gordon Highlanders).
The first pair to enter the ring did so at shortly after 9 o’clock in the morning of Wednesday October 18th. 186 competitors took part in the Championships.
The Officers Championships were won by:
Featherweight Captain G Wildman-Lushington (Royal Marine Artillery)
Lightweight Midshipman P B Lawder (Royal Navy)
Middleweight Lieutenant H D Bentinck (3rd Coldstream Guards)
Heavyweight Lieutenant A Moutray-Read (1st Northamptonshire Regiment)
On the final evening the prizes were presented by Commander-in-Chief Admiral Sir W Moore KCB, who was himself the vice-president of the Royal Navy and Army Boxing Association. The number of seats sold for each of the sessions were : Wednesday am – 800, Wednesday evening – 1200, Thursday am – 1000, Thursday evening – 1500, Friday am – 980, Friday evening – 2200, Saturday evening – 3100. Altogether 10,780 paid at the door over the four days. View the full results of the Championships.
Those participants who fell in the Great War include :
Gunner Tricks (Royal Marine Artillery) died onboard HMS Invincible at Jutland on 31 May 1916.
Leading Seaman Baverstock (HMS Venerable) died onboard HMS Good Hope at Coronel on 1 November 1914.
Corporal Harry Monkhouse (Lancashire Fusileers) died 2nd May 1915 and commemorated on the Menin gate at Ypres.
Stoker Hugh Brough (HMS Achilles) died 1st November 1914 on board HMS Good Hope.
Private Tom McCormick e (Manchester Regiment) died on 6th July 1916 at the Battle of the Somme whilst a Sergeant. Originally from Dundalk McCormick became the British Welterweight Champion in 1914 and was one of the most high profile boxing casualties of World War One..
Driver H Riddle (Royal Field Artillery) died 1st July 1916 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme
Able-Seaman Shave (HMS Mars) died 22nd September 1914 on board HMS Aboukir.
Leading Stoker Priseman (RN Barracks Portsmouth) - died on board HMS Queen Mary at Jutland on 31 May 1916.
Amongst the Officer’s Champions, Anketell Moutray-Read was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross on for his actions in rallying disorganised and retiring troops on September 25th 1915. He died on that day .
Lieutenant Henry David Bentinck died on 2nd October 1916, aged 35. He was then a Major in the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards.
Captain Gilbert Vernon Wildman-Lushington died before the war in a flying accident at Eastchurch, Hampshire.
Amongst the Officer’s Champions only Lawder survived the war.