Channel Swimmer Montague Holbein and his boatman Charley Cole on Marine Parade, Dover.

Channel Swimmer

Montague Holbein and Charley Cole, 1909. Image shows Channel Swimmer Montague Holbein with his support boatman Charley Cole on Marine Parade. This picture, taken the day before Holbein’s cross Channel swim attempt shows the Grand Hotel and Dover Castle in the background.

Montague ‘Monty’ Holbein. Made 11 attempts but all failed. The attempt in 1904 was in 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.

Holbein made eleven unsuccessful swims from 1901 to 1913; England to France: 1 Sept 1903 (17hrs 23m); 20/8/04 (10hrs 03m); 24/8/05 (7h 27m); 22/8/13 (2hrs); 11/9/13 (5hrs)

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). Best swim, 1902 quarter mile from English coast.

He was a runner, cyclist, and swimmer. He won the 24hr cycle race (North Road) for four successive years.

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