Army & Navy Boxing Championships 1914

About the Championships

The 1914 Army and Navy Boxing Championships were held at the Connaught Drill Hall in Alfred Street, Portsmouth over a four-day period between Wednesday 15 April and Saturday 18 April.

Lance-Corporal Jones, 1st South Wales Borderers, middleweight champion 1914.

This was the first time the Championships had taken place at the end of the boxing season, as all previous Championships had been held during the autumn. The movement of the date caused some controversy, with many within the boxing associations of both services preferring to stick with tradition. There had been no Championships in 1913, and the 1912 Championships had been held just eighteen months previously.

The presidents of the Organising Committee in 1914 were Colonel V A Couper (Superintendent of the Army Gymnasia) and Captain F O Lewis (Royal Navy). The Championships were administered by Commander Snagge and Lieutenant Burnett, both of the Royal Navy, and by ex Chief Petty Officer Thompson.

The referees and judges were Captain John D Kelly (RN), Commander Snagge (RN), Lieutenant Commander Brookfield (RN), Lieutenant Commander Hart (RN), Lieutenant Newcombe (RN), Lieutenant Bulteel (RN), Lieutenant Shuter (RN), Lieutenant Burnett (RN), Major Cowey (RAMC), Major Heathcote (KOYLI), Captain Rome (11th Hussars), Lieutenant R B Campbell (Gordon Highlanders), Captain Wakley (Loyal North Lancs), Lieutenant Evans (1st KRRC), Major Wright (Northumberland Fusileers), Lieutenant Commander Gaskell (RN) and Captain Garnier (RMLI).

Originally 210 competitors entered the competitions, but only 108 took part.

The Officer’s Championships were won by:

Featherweight – Lieutenant A R Banks (Naval School of Physical Training).

Lightweight – Lieutenant A B Butterworth (Army Service Corps)

Welterweight – Lieutenant G le Q Martel (Royal Engineers)

Middleweight – Sub Lieutenant L H Bayley (HMS Dolphin)

Light-heavyweight – 2nd Lieutenant M H Collier (HMS Dolphin)

Heavyweight – Lieutenant W F Makeig-Jones (RN Barracks Portsmouth)

On the final evening the prizes were presented by Admiral Sir Hedworth Meux. Six thousand people attended the matches on the final Saturday: the matinee attracted around 2,000 spectators, and the evening session a full house of 4,000. View the full results of the Championships.

About the boxers

The Great War commenced only four months later and many of the competitors lost their lives. These included :

Lieut. Collier, HMS Dolphin, crusierweight champion 1914. 2nd Lieutenant M H Collier (HMS Dolphin) – lost on submarine H10 on 19th January 1918.

Sergeant Sharpley (Essex Regiment) – died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme – 1 July 1916. He had been given the Distinguished Conduct Medal and was mentioned in despatches.

Shoeing-Smith Coope (19th Lancers) – died on 9 June 1917.

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.
Pte. Stout, 2nd Leinster Regt., featherweight champion 1914.
Signalman Othen (HMS Bulwark) – died onboard HMS Bulwark on 26 November 1914.

Leading Stoker Priseman (RN Barracks Portsmouth) - died on board HMS Queen Mary at Jutland on 31 May 1916.

In addition, amongst the referees, Lieutenant Commander Shuter died 16 September 1915 after an illness; Lieutenant Bulteel died onboard torpedo boat TB12 on 10 June 1915; Captain Wakley (Loyal North Lancs) died 11 February 1917; Lieutenant Commander Gaskell (RN) died alongside Leading Seaman Baverstock onboard the Good Hope at Coronel on 1 November 1914.

Lieutenant G le Q Martel (Royal Engineers) greatly distinguished himself during the War by taking part in the development of the tank and he took part in the Battle of Cambrai. Between the wars he served as an instructor at the Indian Army’s staff college at Quetta, India, and then at the War Office as Assistant Director and Deputy Director of Mechanisation. In early 1943, he became the head of the British Military Mission to the Soviet Union. He retired from the Army in 1958 at the rank of full General.

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