WWII and its aftermath

The onset of World War 2 inevitably brought about the end of many sporting activites. Golf was affected more than many sports in that golfing land was requisitioned for agricultural purposes and rapidly went "under the plough". All county competitions ceased and did not resume until 1946. In place of the 1940 County Championship, the Union organised a 36 hole scratch and handicap charity competition at Sandiway in aid of the Red Cross.

This article quotes the CUGC Secretary, Maurice Budd, who by this point in the war had already learnt of the closure of at least two affiliated clubs. More would follow, and most would struggle financially as the war progressed.

 

 

 

Wartime defences being dug on a golf course

 

Despite the efforts of the enemy to destroy and then re-build the West Cheshire Club, it did not survive and became an industrial area after the war

It was not unusual for Home Guard platoons to be based at golf clubs. At Prestbury, the local platoon were based at the golf club and were commanded by none other than Kenneth Stoker, formerly of Royal Liverpool and a previous Cheshire team captain and President.

On 8th May, 1941 a Heinkel HE111 twin engined bomber was caught by a spotlight located in Poynton. It was pounced on by at least one night fighter, probably from R.A.F. Cranage, and was shot down in flames, coming to rest alongside Stockport Golf Club's sixth hole. The crew had all bailed out, but were quickly rounded up 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibition matches for charity were frequent and well supported events during the war. This picture was taken at Reddish Vale in 1940 when Henry Cotton took on Dick Burton in aid of the Red Cross.

Below: Henry Cotton holes out in an exhibition match at Upton-by-Chester, 1944

It was not unusual for leading local amateurs to take part in exhibition matches. In October, 1940 Harold Humphreys (Alderley Edge) and Harold Harker (Reddish Vale) played George Duncan (Mere) and Fred Taggart (Wilmslow) over 36 holes at Alderley Edge G.C.

Henry Cotton appeared at Stockport G.C. in 1941

The Cheshire Union were keen to resume county golf following VE Day in 1945, and instituted the Victory Trophy to mark the end of hostilities. This was a handicap pairs competition, hosted in the first year by Sandiway, home club of the County Secretary, despite there being two holes still assigned to agricultural production. The golfers of the county were clearly keen to get back to some competitive activity, as 76 pairs entered the event.

Quite a number of clubs took some time to return to normality after the war, largely because areas of their courses had to be re-instated after being taken for agricultural use. It was 1948/49 before Bromborough G.C. got back to anything close to normal operation.

The County Championship was resumed the following year at Royal Liverpool, Charles Walker Timmis of the host club becoming the first post-war winner. As for inter-county matches, these resumed in 1946 and Cheshire had several new faces in the ranks. Unfortunately we lost all four fixtures in 1946 (we played Lancashire and Yorkshire home and away), and fared no better in 1947 either. By 1949, however, Cheshire had assembled a very respectable team, and embarked on possibly our the best run of results over the next decade.

Charles W. Timmis

 

 

 

 

Written and researched by Jerry Dixon