HELP SOLVING FAMILY MYSTERY

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thoscameron
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HELP SOLVING FAMILY MYSTERY

Post by thoscameron » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:00 pm

Greetings,

It has long been part of our family lore here in Canada that my grandfather, Thomas Cameron, played with the Scottish National Team that beat England in the International sometime between 1906 and 1921. I have an old photograph (see link) on the back of which is written, "This is Scotlands Team against England. We won by 2-1 in the International." Below this is written, "(Cunningham-Manager) (illegible-Airdrie) (Murray-Johnson) (Spittal-Glasgow) (Starke-Dundee) (Cameron-Troon) (Gallagher-Rob Roy) (Coll-Parkhead-Trainer) (illegible-Glasgow) (Starke-Dundee)[<--name appears twice] (Smith-Manchester City) (illegible-Third Lanark) (Mcgee-Clyde)." My grandfather appears in the photo in the back row, 3rd from the right.

I have checked Scottish National Team records and 1906 is the only year around that time that Scotland beat England by a score of 2-1. The list of players in the record for that match, however, bears no resemblance to the names on the back of the photo. The crest displayed on the player's jerseys in the photo appears to be a stylized "FC" superimposed over a wide letter "B". Is it possible that the team in the photo is a junior or amateur one? I know that my grandfather worked in the Ailsa Shipyard, Troon, about that time and I don't believe that he was a professional footballer.

I am hoping that someone will be able to help me solve the mystery of the team in the photo and resolve the question of whether or not my grandfather may have represented Scotland in an international football match.

Many thanks,

Tom Cameron

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thoscameron/5555710044/

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Re: HELP SOLVING FAMILY MYSTERY

Post by Scottish » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:49 am

Hi there and welcome to the forum. First thing to say is that this definitely is NOT a full international. It doesn't have anything to do with full or part-time status. It would have been perfectly possible for your grandfather to have worked at Ailsa and played league football but he didn't. The only Thomas Camerons registered with league clubs were long after 1921. Nor has any player of that name ever appeared for the Scotland international team. I hate to spoil a piece of "family lore" but if it's any consolation you're not the first and I doubt if you'll be the last.

One possibility is a Junior international. There were three 2-1 victories for Scotland over England in the years you mention. I can say that it definitely wasn't 1921 which leaves the matches in 1911 and 1918 both at Firhill as possibilities. However, another problem emerges and that's the teams referenced in the photo. Players from Man City, Clyde, Third Lanark, Airdrie and Dundee would have been ineligible to take part in a Junior match. Nor did Rob Roy have any player by name of Gallagher capped at Junior level so it looks like that can be ruled out too.

As can amateur internationals which didn't start until later than 1921.

All of which, while ruling out some possibilities, still leaves the problem of what type of game this was. Taking variations of spelling into account I still can't find a player called Stark/Starke with Dundee but there was a Joseph McGhie (note spelling) who signed for Clyde in 1916.

It's possible it may have been a military match of some kind. An inter-regimental game, perhaps? Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings and also not to be more helpful.

thoscameron
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Re: HELP SOLVING FAMILY MYSTERY

Post by thoscameron » Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:44 pm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thoscameron/5558549352/

Thank you very much for your reply to my post. I had another look at the reverse side of the photo (link above) and it is evident that the writer (my grandfather, I think. It is not my father's writing) has corrected the spelling of the name, "McGee-Clyde" by writing the letter "i" over the first letter "e", changing it to "McGie." If this is the same McGie who signed for Clyde in 1916 then the photo must have been taken in 1916 or sometime after. That helps to explain my grandfather's receding hairline in the photo. He turned 30 in 1916 and he looks to be about that age in the photo.

Given that official international play was suspended during the First World War years, I'm wondering if a Scottish team may have been formed to play an exhibition games(s) against England when many of the usual players were away serving in the armed forces. My grandfather was, by this time, totally deaf as a result of injuries suffered in his job as a Ship Plater. Although he served in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers from 1905 to 1908 (when he became deaf), he did not serve in the military during the war because of his deafness. That probably saved his life and may have given him an opportunity to play in a competition that he would otherwise not have been qualified for. Do you think such a thing is possible?

For what it's worth, he had a reputation as an honest, reliable, man not given to the sort of exaggeration required to falsify the information on the photo. Even if he had done, it would be quite a stretch to write a bunch of phony names and supposed team affiliations on the back. The presence in the photo of the dapper fellows in suits and boater hats suggests that the team organization (whatever team it was) was a cut above what one would expect in a neighbourhood league. As well, he has written "(missing) . . . this to my Father" on the back. Because it appears that he gave the photo to his father at some point, it is unlikely that he would have gone on to write that, "This is Scotlands team against England (etc.)" His father (James Inglis Cameron 1858-1941) was the Foreman Pattern Maker at the Ailsa Shipyard and would certainly have known whether or not his son had played for Scotland. At least he would not have been fooled by false claims or ignorant of the truth about the origin of the other players named, i.e. who they were and whether they played for the teams written beside their names.

I am not surprised to learn that the photograph is not a photo of any Scotland National Team that anyone has ever heard of. As ignorant as I am myself of Scottish football history, I would expect to see a thistle, or rampant lion, on their shirts rather than a "BFC" (or whatever it is.) While it would be a dissapointment to learn that the "family lore" might be based on a falsehood, it would be more disappointing to think that my grandfather was something of a fraud. That would surprise me because I knew him when lived with us in Canada (1965-1966), he didn't seem the type, and I can't think how he would have thought that he would get away with it. Especially not if his father had ever actually seen the photo with its inscription on the reverse side. I think that my grandfather received the photo back when his own father died in 1941 and that it was sent to my father when he himself died in 1967. I got it when my father died in 1976. So, if the photograph is not "Scotland's Team against England," I wonder who they could be?

Many thanks again,

Tom Cameron

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Re: HELP SOLVING FAMILY MYSTERY

Post by Scottish » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:09 pm

Please, I wasn't intending to suggest your grandfather was being in any way fraudulent or falsifying details. Not in the slightest. And, clearly, the line-up and surroundings indicate a match taking place at an enclosed ground not some public park. My best guess is that it is an informal match arranged between Scots and English. What I meant by disappointing is that it is not any kind of official or quasi-official wartime international at any recognised level of the game. Troon, by the way, was without a club at Junior level between 1908-1920 so it may have been a local amateur team your grandfather was playing for.

thoscameron
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Re: HELP SOLVING FAMILY MYSTERY

Post by thoscameron » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:22 am

I very much appreciate your help with this and can tell you that without your assistance, it would not have been possible for me to do anything other than look at the photograph and scratch my head! This website is a great resource and I hope that you continue to provide answers to difficult questions for a long time to come. Thank you.

Tom Cameron

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