A Brief History of the Wags
In the mid-1960s a small group of members met regularly on Wednesday afternoons to play golf. Harvey Boone, an optician, had a half-day on Wednesdays and played with Cyril Thomas, Bertie Brown and J Robertson. Before long others joined them. In 1969 the group was officially recognised as a Section of the Club and became known as the Wednesday Afternoon Golf Society – the Wags. Some years later the Wags agreed to bring forward their tee time to 10.30am to fit in with the needs of the Club.
The Wags is not a “golden oldies” section, it is open to any age, although being mid-week the majority, but not all, are retired men. Many of the older players are sons of former members eg Dave Brampton, Peter Creer, Adrian Paterson, Graham Robertson, and Robert Wendt; many still playing are octogenarians with one nonogenarian.
Some of our early Wags, c. early 1970s
In 1977 Harvey Boone was elected President. Ian Lucas, brother of “Laddie”, was president 1981-1996, Alan Thackrey is the present holder. A Captain is appointed annually in March at a formal dinner with speeches and prize-givings attended by the Chairman, Club Captain, General Manager, Professional, Head Green-keeper and other honoured guests. A Ladies’ Luncheon for Wags (wives and girl-friends) is held in October.
Wags members of 1995
The Wags into the 21st century
In July 2009 the Club celebrated its Centenary.
It was also the 40th Anniversary of the Wags, and in support an annual event to raise funds for the Club Vice-Captain’s nominated charity was established. The trophy played for is the Sandy Lodge Claret Jug produced by the Club to commemorate the Centenary.
For the report on the Wags 40th Anniversary click here
In August 2019 the Wags celebrated its 50th Anniversary.
Our Golden Jubilee Celebration Day on 14th August greeted us with heavy rain and a forecast that was not encouraging. Nevertheless, 90 Wags/Seniors, Guests and Sandy Lodge members arrived hoping the forecasters had got it wrong.
Everyone tucked into their bacon rolls and a morning “party” developed, helped along by some bright words by our then Club Vice-Captain Paul Boyle, the decision to postpone having been taken at 9.00am when the Green Keeper’s radar looked even worse that the Met Office prediction.
The Assistant General Manager, Ben Stockman, came to the rescue and hurriedly rearranged the Club Diary and by the following day we were able to start again! Almost everyone who had booked to play in our aborted first attempt signed up immediately and we all arrived on 25th September to enjoy a glorious sunny day. No, you guessed it, again it was raining cats and dogs.
After breakfast, determined not to be defeated, it was decided that golf is an outdoor sport and the rain would not deter us. Remarkably, as the first groups teed off from the 18 tees, 92 players taking part in the shot-gun start, the rain stopped and at times the sun appeared. As the last group arrived back at the clubhouse the rain started again!
For the report on the Wags 50th Anniversary click here
The Wags today
The Wags Section continues to flourish with about 60 members and as the Club’s Centenary Book states, we provide a friendly environment for social and competitive golf where all are made welcome. There is no lower age limit but most are retired men. We are honoured to have at least seven Club Past-Captains as Wags current members.
Those in the most senior sector joined a group to whom we all remain forever indebted to, those heroes of 1939-45 who served their country. Many of us still remember them well, inspirational modest men all.
The last survivor is Bill Broadhurst, past head-master from Pinner Wood School, ex RAF preparing to partake in the recapture of Singapore in 1945 when VJ day was announced following the bombing of Hiroshima/Nagasaki. Bill will be 100 next January.
Others include Gordon Whyte, seen here with Churchill, Stalin and Truman at Potsdam. Gordon translated for Churchill.
Ron Fawcett cleared mines on the Normandy beaches on D-Day, and Ivan Trobe was one of the first to enter Belsen as photographer when it was liberated. He also flew with RAF bombers taking aerial pictures, flying through heavy flak.
Bill Bates was commissioned into the Indian Army in May 1942 and posted to the 3rd Battalion 8th Gurkha Rifles at Trichinopoly. A week after the action in which he was awarded an MC, Bill led his company in an attack across 300 yards of open ground. The Japanese were overwhelmed; 35 were killed for the loss of three Gurkhas killed and 10 wounded, including Bill who was evacuated to England.
When Bill was no longer able to play golf he became the Wags Scribe, organising our playing order and competitions every Wednesday splendidly. No wonder he could keep us all in order!
For more details of Bill’s wartime service please click here
George Mummery took a convoy of vehicles on the dangerous journey from Syria to Alexandria to support Montgomery in North Africa.
George Brampton , after training in Canada, served in the RAF as a Navigator in Coastal Command flying Sunderland Flying Boats. He flew on convoy protection and anti-submarine patrols in the North Atlantic. Further service saw him in the Mediterranean and Far East. He said “weather was his greatest enemy”. He would also joke that a serious skiing accident in Canada saved his life as his destiny until then had probably been the Mosquito, an extreme form of warfare!
Gordon Paterson served as a lieutenant primarily on HMS Calder on general convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean. In later life Gordon often joked that he avoided a posthumous VC as a result of the captain of another escort ship ramming a stricken U-boat before Gordon could carry out an order to board the U-boat.
From his service days, Gordon had great memories of hearing his first opera in war-torn Naples while on brief shore leave. To listen to a 4-part interview with Gordon by the Imperial War Museum click here
John Wendt served in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as a pilot instructor on an early type of simulator called a Link Trainer, acquiring a moustache and the rank of Flight Sergeant.
Robert (Bob) Creer was born in 1913, and in 1937 before the outbreak of war, he was instrumental in the design and building of the 11 (Fighter) Group Underground Operations Building “The Bunker at Uxbridge”. Subsequently posted to Northern Ireland for construction of radar stations and in 1943 was posted to Cairo then to Kenya as Superintending Engineer Responsible for all works covering Somaliland, Uganda, Kenya, Tanganika, Madagasgar, Mauritius and Seychelles. After the war Robert was responsible for RAF and Civil aviation projects in the UK and Europe, too numerous to list.
His career was crowned with being awarded the O.B.E. in January 1976.