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australian rowers profiles and history

Viscount Stanley M Bruce CH, MC, PC, FRS

Cambridge University Boat Club (UK)

15 April 1883 - 25th August 1967

1900 - APS Head of the River, three seat - Third

1901 - APS Head of the River, six seat - Fourth

1904 - The Boat Race, Cambridge, two seat - First

1913 - Henley Royal Regatta, Thames Rowing Club, coach - Unplaced

1914 - The Boat Race, Cambridge, coach - First

1919 - Henley Peace Regatta, Cambridge, coach

Bruce was also the first Australian to be elected a Steward of the Henley Royal Regatta.

Stanley Bruce was a talented sportsman. An indication of this prowess was that he was Captain of rowing, football and cricket in his final year at school.

Whilst reading law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he raced in the victorious 1904 Boat Race crew. In 1913, he coached the Thames Rowing Club in the Grand Challenge Cup. He later went onto coach Cambridge to a win in the last Boat Race prior to WWI in 1914.

Bruce served with distinction in WWI in the British Army. He was awarded the Military Cross and the Croix de Guerre and rose to the rank of Captain. After being wounded with a gun shot wound to the knee, he was permitted to return to Australia to recouperate. His Wikipedia entry records: As a decorated soldier on crutches with a gift for public speaking, he was enlisted to become a spokesperson for government recruitment in Australia. His success and popularity in this role brought the attention of the Nationalist League and then Prime Minister Billy Hughes, who lobbied the British government on his behalf and succeeded in convincing the War Office to allow Bruce to relinquish his commission in June 1917. This then led to the commencement of his political career.

And of course his greatest claim to fame was that he was later to become Australia’s eighth Prime Minister in 1923.

Andrew Guerin
June 2021

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