Channel swimmers Stearne and Wolffe at South Foreland

Channel swimmers Stearne and Wolffe at South Foreland

Channel Swimmers William Stearne (left) and Jabez Wolffe, pictured on the South Foreland with their team. Wolffe’s trainers, Billy Kellingley is on the left and William Brickett is on the right.

Jabez Wolffe made 22 unsuccessful attempts to swim the Channel from 18 July 1906 to 15 July 1914. He made three attempts in 1906. Two in 1907. Four in 1908. Two in 1909. 2 in 1910. Two in 1911. Two in 1912. One in 1913. and one in 1914. The first World War then put a stop to his attempts.

He swam a double Solent in June 1914. After the War he trained Gertrude Ederle on her unsuccessful attempt in 1925.He then trained three successful Ladies, Hilda Sharp Aug 1928, Peggy Duncan Sept 1930, and Sunny Lowry Aug 1933

Brickett, Walter Septimus (1865 – 1933), Professional Swimming Trainer. A renowned sportsman in his own right, for running and boxing as well as swimming, Brickett became a professional trainer after being an amateur competitor.

Born in St. Pancras, London, in 1865, the son of a grocer, Brickett originally worked for a pianoforte maker. He ran a number of swimming clubs in the London area and marketed himself as a Professor of Swimming. He trained Jabez Wolffe for a number of his swims 1906 &– 1907 and then became the British Olympic Team swimming coach for the 1908 London Games and 1912 Stockholm Games (where one of his pupils, Belle White, won Bronze in the High Dive). He was also coach for the ABA boxing championships.

He trained a number of swimmers including other Channel failures such as Lily Smith (GB) in 1913, Clarabelle Barratt (USA) in 1926 and Connie Gilhead (GB) in 1929.

He was a 65-year-old widower when he began training Ethel Mitchell, a 36 year old from Havant, and he made her his 2nd wife in 1931. He retired in 1932, moving down to Havant from St. Pancras, but died unexpectedly in 1933, aged 67.

William John Kellingley (1877 – 11 July 1961) was a leading figure in long distance swimming. He was the Brighton one mile Champion, and the winner of the half mile Championship.

Born Polegate, Sussex. Died Deal, Kent. Apprenticed as a railway coachmaker and worked for the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway. Married Brighton 1924 Minnie M Miller. Married Steyning 1930 Ethel Maud Alp. In 1931 he gave up coachmaking to become a full-time Channel swimming coach in Deal, Kent. He died there in 1961

He trained Millie Corson, Jabez Wolffe, Miss Lillian Harrison, an Argentine Distance Swimmer, in 1924, The Zittenfield twins, Frank Perks (who swam for ten hours in his France to England attempt), and Mrs Myrtil Huddlestone (she swam for 21hrs 13mins, England to France – she still had 7 miles to go to Cap-Gris-Nez). He also trained Edouard Bernat (swam for 15hrs from Shakespeare Beach), Captain George Morris, Miss Eva Morrison, and lastly George Brewster, who later swam in the 1950 Mail Race.

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