Channel Swimmers M. Holbein and T. Burgess

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:August 1909
:Channel Swimmers M. Holbein and T. Burgess

Montague Holbein and T.W. Burgess on Prince of Wales Pier, 1909 Photograph Image shows Channel swimmer T.W. Burgess (right) wishing Montague Holbein good luck in his cross Channel swim attempt.(Channel Swimmers link)<br />Montague ‘Monty’ Holbein 1901 - 1913<br />Made 11 attempts but all failed. The attempt in 1904 was the first ever Channel Race -  Holbein, Greasley and Haggerty were each sponsored by a different newspaper (Holbein's was the Daily Mirror) but none finished. Holbein’s pacemaker was Burgess and his wife played gramophone records to keep him entertained. His boat was the Tug ‘Scotia’ under Captain Anning, piloted by Captain Foster. He wore a face mask with built-in goggles, affixed to his face with Colloid, and was heavily greased all over in a “dark, thick substance” (1903 stated it was a mixture of Porpoise oil and beeswax). He gave up after 10 hours and 11 ¾ miles. Born Twickenham 1862, a cotton warehouseman by trade. His pilot in 1909 was Charley Cole. Holbein was also a famous long-distance cyclist.<br />England to France: 1 Sept 1903 (17hrs 23m), <br />20/8/04 (10hrs 03m), 24/8/05 (7h 27m).  22/8/13 (2hrs). 11/9/13 (5hrs)<br />France to England: 24/8/01 (12hrs 46m), 31/7/02 (12hrs 30m), 27/8/02 (22hrs 21m), 1/9/07 (7hrs 15m), 11/8/09 (12hrs), 3/9/11 (10hrs 30m).<br />Thomas William Burgess 1904 - 1922<br />The first man to swim the Channel after Webb, some 36 years later. From Rotherham in Yorkshire, he was 39 when successful, on his 17th try. He went on to make 19 attempts in all, but only 1 success. Left South Foreland and landed at Le Chatelet. 22 hrs. 35 mins. He was accompanied by the Walmer boat ‘Elsie’ piloted by H. W. Pearson plus Wyborn, Flood, Mercer Snr., Mercer Jnr., Fache, Jefferys, Beer and Watson. Whorwell was the official photographer and Weidman the pacemaker.  He always more motorists goggles while swimming. In the 2nd Channel race of 1905 Burgess and 5 other men set off  together. As was usual the men were naked, despite having alongside them Annette Kellerman who was wearing a costume though it chaffed her so much she soon gave in. Burgess trained a number of other successful swimmers including Toth (1923), Gertrude Ederle (1926), Temme (1927), Ivy Hawke (1928) and Helmi (1928).<br />Burgess had been living in France for many years and held many French records. He was a Member of the Libellule de Paris Swimming Club. He was listed as Burgess the Frenchman for his first attempt of 6th September 1904 but the papers knew more about him by his 2nd attempt on the 8th. On the 6th, swimming with Weidman of Dover from the tug ‘Gnat’, he gave up after  3 hours but managed to stay in 8 hours a few days later on the 8th.<br />Burgess was the son of Alfred Burgess, a blacksmith of Rotherham. He was born on 15 June 1872 and died in France in 1957



:Channel Swimming

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