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Olympians of the Past

Whether you love or loathe sport, it's difficult to escape the excitement of this year's Olympic games. In this week's post, I look into the Deceased Online database at some of the athletes of the past and their very different experiences of sporting life from those competing at Rio 2016.

The Olympics is all about breaking boundaries, and pushing faster, higher, stronger as captured in its Latin motto, Citius, altius, fortius. This year's games broke records before it began with Rio de Janeiro being the first South American city to host the tournament. British viewers have so far delighted in the medal successes of swimmers Adam Peaty and Jazz Carlin, divers Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow, and "trap" shooter, Edward Ling.

In the wake of London 2012, I blogged about a couple of Scottish Olympians in the Deceased Online database. As the number of collections has increased over the past four years, more Olympians have appeared.

Close up of the entry for Edward Vaughan Bevan in the Register of Cremations for Cambridge Council
In the Cambridge Collection I found the cremation record of Edward Vaughan Bevan. Unlike today's athletes, who are often focused solely on sport from an early age, Bevan trained and worked as a doctor. He was born in Chesterton, Cambridgeshire on 3rd November 1907 and educated at Bedford School followed by Trinity College, Cambridge. While studying at Cambridge, Bevan rowed with the First Trinity Boat Club, who represented Great Britain the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. Bevan's coxless four took the gold with a record time of 6:36:0 - beating the US team by just one second.

After the games, Bevan retained links with the Olympics. Although he worked full-time as a doctor, he served as treasurer and was involved with coaching the Cambridge University Boat Club. He maintained Olympic links also, sharing his medical practice with the Olympic shot putter, Rex Wood. Bevan died, aged 80, on 22nd February 1988 and was cremated in Cambridge.

Page from the Register of Cremations for Altrincham Crematorium showing the entry for Reginald William Crummack
Many of the Olympians of the past received nothing like the media attention and acclaim that follows British sportspeople like Tom Daley. Reginald William Crummack, known as "Rex", is little-known today but he was a member of the gold-winning British field hockey team at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.

1920 was a very successful year for Britain in field hockey at the Olympics. Strangely there were only four teams in the competition. Britain, however, dominated and the final score was 17-2, with 8 of these goals being scored by captain and centre-forward, Stanley Shoveller. Although Rex Crummack had great success as a hockey player, he was better known at the time as a golfer, having played regularly in the British Amateur Championship since 1909.

Rex Crummack was born in Salford on the 16th February 1887 to a wealthy Lancashire brewer and educated at Rossall School in Fleetwood. After training for the cotton business, Rex joined the St Anne's Hockey Club as well as the Royal Lytham & St Anne's Golf Club. During the First World War, he served with honours as a Captain in the South Lancashire Regiment  but was badly gassed. He last played hockey in 1926 but was appointed an intenerational hockey selector in 1931. He died, aged 79, on 25th October 1966, and was cremated on the 28th October 1966 at Altrincham Crematorium in Greater Manchester.

We enjoy finding forgotten sporting heroes in the Deceased Online database. Do you have any sporting ancestors or have you come across any Olympians in the database that you think should be mentioned? Either way, do let us know in the Comments Box below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We love to hear from you!

As a special holiday promotion, Deceased Online is delighted to offer our registered users the opportunity to double up on pay-per-view vouchers [excludes subscriptions] used to access our records and data. This promotion runs until midnight [BST] on 29th August 2016.
Under the "buy one get one free" offer, all voucher purchases, which start from only £5, will be doubled in value. For every voucher purchased, the same value will be added to your account in the form of a bonus.
When purchasing vouchers, simply click on "add a promotion code" and enter the special code AUG16DBLV in the box provided.

British Olympics Gold Medalists 
Papillon Graphics' Virtual Encyclopedia & Guide to Greater Manchester


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