Celebrating the Indomitables

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Sometimes working in Archives can feel a bit like being a detective and the research and investigations don’t end in the strongroom. We’re in the midst of developing content for our summer and autumn events and I’m working on one event in particular at the moment: Celebrating the Indomitables.

The rightly celebrated Great Britain touring side of 1946 remains the most successful to ever go down under and to celebrate the 70th anniversary of their achievements we have an event on the 2nd July where we are going to tell the story of the trip from beginning to end.

The first place to start was our own archives which are particularly rich in this area – the RFL kept some fascinating documents and there are photographs and programmes to do alongside. We also have a couple of player collections from Byrn Knowelden and Dai Jenkins which have a more personal dimension. The Dai Jenkins archive is particularly rich as he donated his trunk and all its contents to the RFL. Our volunteers have been going through all these great collections to see what stories we can tell but it’s not enough! We are also working with Simon Foster, son of tour star Trevor who organised a reunion event a few years ago at the George – he has already been in touch with some of his many contacts.

We have two special aims that are above our usual rugby league events here – we are attempting to invite the families of all the players on the tour, and to track down the shirts that were worn by the players – there are 26 in total.

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This is the one that belonged to Dai Jenkins – you can see the mud is still on it!

We’re going through local and national press, and contacts at clubs across the North and we are interested in speaking to anyone with a connection to the tour, particularly if they have stories of a family member, if they own any memorabilia or even if they served on the HMS Indomitable.

The archive would be really pleased to hear from anyone holding any items relating to the tour or with a connection to: Martin Ryan, Joe Jones, Eric Batten, Jimmy Lewthwaite, Ted Ward, Jack Kitching, Arthur Bassett, Willie Horne, Willie Davies, Tommy McCue, Fred Hughes, Ken Gee or George Curran.

To get in touch please contact me at d.smith@hud.ac.uk

Dave

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