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MAJOR E.G. WYNARD DSO, OBE

 

Edward George Wynyard was born on the 1st of April 1861, in Saharanpur, India, son of a magistrate in the Bengal Civil Service. He was educated at Charterhouse School from 1874 to 1877, and later studied at St Edward's School, Oxford which he left in 1879 to pursue a career in the army.

Having enjoyed tremendous feats in both football and cricket he was said to have also excelled at Rugby whilst at St Edward's. An accomplished player it was said of him that had he not entered the army, he would have also reached the top of that sport as well. As it was however, he excelled at football, cricket and a developing alpine sport as well...  

 

Wynard, sat on the left of this picture, with his FA Cup winning, Old Cartusians teammates of 1881.

 

"Teddy" Wynard won the FA Cup for Old Carthusians in 1881. The final, played at the Kennigton Oval, was between two old boys sides with the team from Charterhouse up against the Old Etonians, the final score was 3-0 to the Carthusians.

Only months before the Corinthians were formed, Wynard played a starring role in the final. Described by the competitions founder, C.W. Alcock as a "heavy forward" who "charges and dribbles well; always middles splendidly" - he certainly proved the great man right in the final of April 9th, 1881. First scoring the opening goal - he later assisted the sides Canadian skipper, Edward Parry for the second in a fine win which was considered a real upset in the Old Carthusians first ever final.

The same year he would go on to join the army and his football career was greatly curtailed due to this work. Yet he would still later play for Corinthians in 1893, scoring five goals for the club - but his talents should have seen him feature more often for the club than he was able to allow.

 

The Army's finest cricketer, E.G. Wynard.

 

Wynyard was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 1st Regiment, Warwick Militia in 1881, transferring to regular service with the King's Liverpool Regiment in May 1883. He was stationed in India and saw active service in the Burma Expedition of 1885–87, winning the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and twice being mentioned in despatches. He was promoted to Captain in March, 1890 and was transferred again the same year, to the Welch Regiment.  He eventually retired in 1903, after a period as an instructor at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

Such a career in the Army stole from him the finest years of his  sporting life, most notably, in cricket - he was said to have been the finest cricketer in the Army, able to do anything with bat or ball.

Despite the handicap however, Wynard managed to play three times for England and even represented South Africa as well, during their tour of England in 1907! For England, he played in W.G. Grace's final test against Australia in 1896 and later twice against South Africa in 1905. He regretfully though had to decline a place on the tour to Australia because of Army duties in 1897–98. And was again later invited to captain England on the Ashes tour of Australia in 1907–08 but again declined, this time for family reasons.

However he was able to find the time to captain and tour with the MCC all around the world. Visiting with the team New Zealand, West Indies (where he scored 562 runs), Egypt, North America, South Africa and even Canada in 1923 when, aged 62 he lead the bowling records with his famed underarm lobs. 

At county level, he played for Hampshire (for whom he also play Hockey) for thirty years between 1878 and 1908 and in 1896, he was the second-highest scoring first-class player in the national batting averages with 1,038 runs, an average of 49.42.

 

W.G. Grace, whom Wynard successfully imitated at Sandhurst.

 

Yet the Army remained his priority and while in charge of cricket at Sandhurst, Wynard arranged an officer cadets' match against his old teammate, W.G. Grace's XI. A superstar of his day though, just two days before the game, Grace wrote to say he would be unable to play after all. Disappointed to have been let down, Wynard hatched a plan. On learning that none of the cadets had ever actually seen W.G. Grace play, Wynyard decided to cleverly disguise himself with make-up and a false beard and he played in the match with the visiting team, batting as the great man! Making several runs he then purposely got hit on the hand so that he could retire 'hurt', later revealing his identity minus beard and cap at the teams' lunch. No one had seen through the disguise or his realistic imitation of Grace's batting style!

 

Tobogganing at Davos, 1894, the birthplace of many a winter Alpine sport.

 

Clearly a man armed with a sense of humour and a thirst for adventure it's little  wonder then how in 1894, Teddy Wynard recorded a surprising and rather unique feat for a Corinthian - by becoming the fastest man on snow! 

Quite why he was in Davos, Switzerland during the winter of 1893/94, is not entirely clear. Yet it was an innovative town rife with new alpine sports to be explored, invented and mastered - ideal for a man of Wynard's character.

 

Competitors await their turn to race in the International Toboggan race which Wynard won in 1894.

The 'International Toboggan Championship' had been held at the Swiss town since 1883, with the course running alongside the 3km main road to Klosters. The track and event led to other such sports as Skeleton, Luge and Bobsleigh being invented as competitors looked for ways to gain an advantage - which Wynard mastered in early 1894. Taking roughly 9 minutes to complete the course, Wynard's success is as wonderful as it is a surprising entry to the annals of Corinthian history.

 

On the 9th of December, 1893, Wynard rescued a local drowning in this Swiss lake.

 

Whether it was his "heavy" frame, as C.W. Alcock previously described him as having, that helped on the toboggan - we'll never know. But it could also have been his bravery which that winter won him many plaudits too, for another commendable act. For it was while in the area that he rescued a local from drowning in a lake on the 9th of December, which earned him the award in 1895 of the Medal of the Royal Humane Society. It was a winter to remember for Teddy!

Clearly amongst an elite set though, Davos was the place to be seen in 1894 as he would have rubbed shoulders with the likes of Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes books, who was there reporting for the Strand Magazine about a new sport known as "Ski-ing".

Whether Wynard tried his hand at the sport can't be said, though Doyle clearly appreciated the new pasttimes appeal, of which he wrote, "Man will find that "ski"-ing opens up a field of sport for him which is, I think, unique. I am convinced that the time will come when hundreds will come to Switzerland for the "ski "-ing season, in March and April." How right he's been proven to be.

 

From the Strand Magazine, 1894, Conan Doyle reports from Davos on the a new sport called "Ski-ing".

 

After the outbreak of World War 1,  Teddy Wynyard was recalled to the Army in September 1914 as a Major with the King's Liverpool Regiment once more. He was then later made Commandant at Thornhill Labour Camp, Aldershot, before finally retiring a second time in April 1919 when he was awarded his Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

He lived an extraordinary and colourful life, he was every bit a true and glorious Corinthian.

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