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The 'Swinton Massacre' - 50 years on - EXACTLY


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#1 Blue Monkey

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 04:36 PM

Today, Saturday, 9th November, 2013, marks EXACTLY 50 years (Saturday 9th November 1963) since the 2nd Test match at Station Road between Great Britain and Australia which resulted in a convincing win for the touring side by a 50-12 scoreline which, not surprisingly, became known as the 'Swinton Massacre'.

 

There were three Lions on duty that day, Ken Gowers (1), John Stopford (5) and Ron Morgan (12).

 

And, well away from rugby league and sport in general, only 13 days later on Friday 22 November, US President John F. Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas, Texas.

It was one of those landmarks in 20th century history where people are asked 'where were you when'…?

 

I was at a mate's house in York Avenue, Swinton listening to records when it came on the telly.

 

So, for that dwindling band of fans out there who, like me, are old enough to remember, where were YOU when JFK was shot?


Edited by Blue Monkey, 09 November 2013 - 04:40 PM.


#2 LOYALION

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 05:31 PM

At 3yrs old I haven't a clue!

"no-one knows what it's like to be the bad man.........behind blue eyes"


#3 steve wild

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 05:56 PM

I was a foetus

#4 Spelly

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 08:24 PM

I was there at the massacre, and we actually took the lead with a try from John Stopford!

As for JFK, I'd been to the cinema with my mate, and my mam told me when I got home. My dad was on lates at Agecroft, getting back about 8.45, and we informed him when he arrived.

Spelly.

"--- and then on the eighth day, God created Rugby League."

Daily, my intense dislike of the Pinks, Rugby Yawnion, Manchester United, and far-right politics, grows ever larger, and will continue to do so forever more!

Question! What's the connection between Rugby League and Rugby Yawnion? Answer! There isn't one!

My girl-friend asked "If you had to choose between me and Swinton who would it be?" I replied "You know the answer to that one without even asking!"


#5 steve wild

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 08:38 PM

Prior to that game Station Road was known as "The Australians' Graveyard", due to their poor record there (against both GB & Swinton).

#6 lionsfanusa

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 09:16 PM

I was riding my bike down to my girl friend's. She told me as I arrived.

I was at the Swinton massacre too. I don't remember whether that was the same year the Lions drew 2-2 with the Aussies.

I'm sure Steve Wild knows!
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#7 steve wild

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 09:28 PM

Correct Geoff ! In fact that game took place 2 weeks later on the 23rd. The Aussies fielded a strong team, aware that the Lions were the reigning English champions and they wanted to lower our colours.

#8 Gowers Magic Hands

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 12:19 AM

I was at "the massacre" as a ten year old with my dad. I seem to recall that we suffered an injury early in the game and had to play the majority of the game with 12 men ( this of course was before substitutes were introduced into the game). I could well be wrong but didn't Ken Gowers move up to scrum half and much of the match nobody fulfilled the full back role ? I think in these circumstances the scoreline could, in todays game, be seen as understandable. Having said that in the mid 60's a 25 point winning margin was a demolition.

 

I also attended the 2-2 Lions draw with Australia. We brought my great uncle to the match. As a youth he had been a tearaway, breaking his headmaster's leg with his clog and on another occasion flattening 2 policemen who knocked on the door to reprimand him about another missdemeanour. When his father died he changed completely, spending his life with the St Johns Ambulance. In the Boer war the Governor of Ladysmith knitted him a jumper for all he had done for casualties in the Relief of Ladysmith. He became the masseur ( now called the physio) for Bury FC for the side which won the FA cup without conceding a goal, winning the final 6 nil ! Years after he died a friend of his gave me an old Swinton cap dated 1895-8, which I in turn gave to the club, never to be seen again !

 

I notice that the 50 year anniversary of the Swinton - Australia draw falls on the day of the Wembley double header. I think we should try to get this mentioned by the BBC. If Ray French was still commentating I am sure he would have mentioned it for us.

 

To Steve, do you know how many sides have prevented the Kangaroos from scoring a try ?



#9 Gowers Magic Hands

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 12:25 AM

Sorry I meant Governor of Ladysmith's wife !!!



#10 Blue Monkey

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 01:36 AM

Prior to that game Station Road was known as "The Australians' Graveyard", due to their poor record there (against both GB & Swinton).

 

Not heard of that remark before, 'Aussies' graveyard' especially that their previous visit to Station Road in the 1st Test in October 1959 they won quite comfortably by 22-14 against a British side which read like a who's who from the game's Hall of Fame.

The backs contained 4 out of the 7 from Wigan alone - Billy Boston (2), Eric Ashton (3), Mick Sullivan (5) and David Bolton (6). Full back was Eric Fraser (Warrington), left centre was Alan Davies (Oldham) and scrum half Alex Murphy (St Helens). All great players but they failed to blend as a unit like the emerging super star Reg Gasnier (3 tries) and co on the day.

That's the match that had the highest attendance figure (35,224) of a match I watched on the terraces at Station Road, aged just 13.

A large crowd like that at the home of the Lions was truly a sight to behold. What a sight, what an atmosphere.

 

:shout:     :tease:     :bye:


Edited by Blue Monkey, 10 November 2013 - 01:39 AM.


#11 GLENNGARY

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 12:11 PM

you are right Gowers Magic Hands, Alex Murphy playing scrum half got injured early in the match and Ken Gowers playing full back had to go to scrum half to cover for him. As there were no substitutes in those days Great Britain had to play the remainder of the match, which was twenty minutes of the first half and all of the second half with twelve men. Gowers had a blinder at scrum half but the lack of a fullback  told hence the score line.



#12 dummy scissors

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 07:29 PM

Like Blue Monkey I am of an age to recall those dramatic events of 50 years ago. If you are easily bored or are not interested in the ramblings of an older supporter stop reading now!!

 

JFK made quite an impression on my young mind probably starting with his role in defusing the Cuban missile crisis when it seemed the cold war might erupt into World War 3. There was his iconic Berlin speech and his pushing the US space programme up the agenda leading to the moon landing not many years later to say nothing of the glamour and aura that grew up around him.

 

I was 10 years old at the time and was at home in Swinton having been to school as usual when I heard the news of his assassination. I seem to recall the usual evening programmes on TV being pulled or at least disrupted. Maybe my parents just switched off the TV as a mark of respect as people did in those days. I’m not sure exactly but I think it might have been the western “Bonanza“ that I was disappointed to miss.

 

Anyway JFK’s death lead to my (very minor) moment in the local spotlight as I was moved to write a letter of condolence to Jackie Kennedy. When I received a reply from her an aunt of mine who owned a newsagents shop at The Heights tipped off the local press and journalists from The Journal came round to interview me about it! They borrowed a snap of me holding a rugby ball in our back garden that my dad had taken and this appeared in the paper too.

 

That old leather rugby ball was well used by me and my brother as we practiced moves we had seen our Swinton heroes perform at Station Road. The clothes post would double as the base of the scrum and the scissors and dummy scissors ( hence my forum name) were honed to perfection. Unfortunately we were never to get to put the moves into real match practice other than against the local lads in the street as family ties and tradition saw us go to De La Salle on Claremont Road where we played the other code as forwards.

 

I remember those Australian matches at Station Road and was naïve enough to think that supporting Swinton would always be like that with my team at the top of the game and lots of big events to savour at Station Road.

 

How times change but following Swinton is in the blood even though we are a pale shadow of what we once were. I just hope we are still around as an independent entity to continue that proud tradition as members of the Rugby Football League into next season and beyond.



#13 mark richardson

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 09:21 PM

Like Blue Monkey I am of an age to recall those dramatic events of 50 years ago. If you are easily bored or are not interested in the ramblings of an older supporter stop reading now!!

JFK made quite an impression on my young mind probably starting with his role in defusing the Cuban missile crisis when it seemed the cold war might erupt into World War 3. There was his iconic Berlin speech and his pushing the US space programme up the agenda leading to the moon landing not many years later to say nothing of the glamour and aura that grew up around him.

I was 10 years old at the time and was at home in Swinton having been to school as usual when I heard the news of his assassination. I seem to recall the usual evening programmes on TV being pulled or at least disrupted. Maybe my parents just switched off the TV as a mark of respect as people did in those days. I’m not sure exactly but I think it might have been the western “Bonanza“ that I was disappointed to miss.

Anyway JFK’s death lead to my (very minor) moment in the local spotlight as I was moved to write a letter of condolence to Jackie Kennedy. When I received a reply from her an aunt of mine who owned a newsagents shop at The Heights tipped off the local press and journalists from The Journal came round to interview me about it! They borrowed a snap of me holding a rugby ball in our back garden that my dad had taken and this appeared in the paper too.

That old leather rugby ball was well used by me and my brother as we practiced moves we had seen our Swinton heroes perform at Station Road. The clothes post would double as the base of the scrum and the scissors and dummy scissors ( hence my forum name) were honed to perfection. Unfortunately we were never to get to put the moves into real match practice other than against the local lads in the street as family ties and tradition saw us go to De La Salle on Claremont Road where we played the other code as forwards.

I remember those Australian matches at Station Road and was naïve enough to think that supporting Swinton would always be like that with my team at the top of the game and lots of big events to savour at Station Road.

How times change but following Swinton is in the blood even though we are a pale shadow of what we once were. I just hope we are still around as an independent entity to continue that proud tradition as members of the Rugby Football League into next season and beyond.

A great read Dummy scissors.

#14 lionwolf

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 09:28 PM

Last Night The Kangaroos put 50 past Ireland on the 50th anniversary of the Swinton Australia 50 Great Britain 12



#15 class of 63

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 12:53 AM

I was there too and have the programme which I got signed by Alex Murphy when I met him a a Grand Final many years later and just to add to Blue Monkeys information of Gowers/Buckley and Stopford playing on that day, ealier in the season on 25 September 1963 we had Gowers/Buckley/Stopford and Williams playing for Lancashire against the Australians at Wigan - great memories, lets hope there are more to come.



#16 westerner

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 01:23 AM

re disruption to tv programmes due to JFK's assassination on 22/11/63 it is interesting to know that Dr Who was due to begin it's first episode that day but was put back till the next day---whatever happened to that little BBC production!!!



#17 Blue Monkey

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 11:06 AM

and just to add to Blue Monkey's information of Gowers/Buckley and Stopford playing on that day, 

 

Correction, it was Gowers, Stopford and Morgan who turned out that day. Alan Buckley did not play, but I think he was picked for the 3rd Test at Headingley as was also Ken Roberts who by that time had gone to Halifax.



#18 class of 63

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 01:43 PM

Correction, it was Gowers, Stopford and Morgan who turned out that day. Alan Buckley did not play, but I think he was picked for the 3rd Test at Headingley as was also Ken Roberts who by that time had gone to Halifax.

Sorry as you stated in your original post you are correct - me simply getting the names mixed up



#19 Blue Monkey

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 03:01 PM

Sorry as you stated in your original post you are correct - me simply getting the names mixed up

 

I know, I'm the same sometimes, a sign of old age just round the corner.



#20 guest from down under

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 06:25 PM

Tenuous connection to the jfk event . about seven years ago on holiday i got talking and had a few drinks with a bloke called caruth c byrd , no joke and this was in tombstone at the crystal palace saloon . turned out his family owned the texas book depositary in dallas and he was in the process of settling authenticity  in the courts so he could sell the actual window that lee harvey oswald shot jfk from on ebay .






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