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HJC BROWN at BLACKHEATH RFC  

 


Blackheath v Birkenhead Park.

" Blackheath scored three tries through the thrust and acceleration of Brown in the centre. He provided all the straight running and all 3 tries came from his breakthrough and pass to the wing "

 

Leaving St. Luke’s in 1958 he married Pat Russell and went to live in Blackheath after taking up a teaching post at the Haberdashers Aske School at Hatcham. He joined the famous Blackheath team known as ‘The Club’. The President at that time was Bill Tucker, orthopaedic surgeon to the Queen and famous for fixing Denis Compton’s knee. Bill Tucker had a theory that the correct posture was to ‘stand with toes turned inwards like an ape’ HJC relates that several times when propping up the bar he would receive a slap on the shoulders telling him to ‘stand properly’ . It was during this time that his first son Russell was born (‘RJC’). Team mates at Blackheath were Mike Campbell- Lamerton (Scotland and Lions Captain), Peter Wright (England and British Lions), John Owen (England second row) and Norman Bruce (Scotland and Lions).

Blackheath RFC with HJC front left

 


Blackheath V Barbarians White City

" Standing only 5ft 8", but weighing more than 12 stone, Brown had the acceleration and eye for an opening which is the stamp of a class centre "

 

ROBIN MARLAR - London v Paris

“ HJC Brown was in promising form after his recovery from injury. He is quick thinking and moves swiftly and powerfully.Once he took the ball brilliantly off his toes and then, dummying and weaving, made 40 splendid yards.”

 


Blackheath V Neath

" The two centres, P C Sibley and H J C Brown, always thought in terms of attack and both had enough speed and acceleration to beat their counterparts "

HJC

HAROLD JOHN CATLEUGH BROWN was named after his father’s brother HAROLD who was killed in World War 1 at the age of 18 years, then given his father’s name JOHN and his mother’s maiden name CATLEUGH. Always known as John except in the Rugby world when it became ‘HJC’ a format followed with many famous players JPR Williams, JRC Young, GTR Hodgson, TGR Davies, AJF O’Reilly, REG Jeeps etc. Match reports in the press invariably listed full details of the teams at the end of the narrative, always using the full initials of the players. It is still not unusual at an International Match to hear someone shout ‘HJC’ rather than John. 

 

H B Toft - The Observer

" H J C Brown of Blackheath with the muscular legs and low centre of gravity of Bleddyn Williams, was the most thrustful."

 

PERIOD 1959 – 1962

This was an extremely busy time for HJC he having taken up a teaching post in London and playing for Blackheath, Middlesex County and then London XV. HJC scored two tries in the first England trial at Banbury in January 1960 only to break his ankle in a double tackle playing for Middlesex v Surrey at Old Deer Park on the following Wednesday.
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Please click the above thumbnail photos for newspaper cuttings relating to the England trial 

Technical Training Command team. - " One of the best back divisions I ever played with "

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RAF Inter Command Cup Final with HJC playing for Technical Training Command

 

JOHN REASON - England Trial

“ Brown scored two startling tries: he runs well, is compactly built and he tackled Phil Horrocks-Taylor out of the game “


This injury lost him at least 3 England Caps as the rest of the season was lost. Unable to drive, he would travel by train on a pair of elbow crutches to central London daily to receive physiotherapy at Bill Tuckers clinic in Mayfair in the morning and the Middlesex County physiotherapist in Knightsbridge in the afternoon. Despite this specialist, concentrated treatment the injury took 4 months to recover. 

In August 1960 HJC decided on a career change leaving teaching to join the Royal Air Force. Basic Burnham Teaching Scale at the time was £475.00 p.a. rising to £800.00 p.a. after 16 years service. (£9.00 per week to £16.00 per week). The RAF offered a short service commission for 5 years joining in the rank of Flying Officer with a starting salary of £1000.00 p.a. No contest!! His officer training was carried out at RAF Jurby, Isle of Man, and he then took up post as Physical Education Officer at RAF Debden in Essex where his second son Michael was born. 

 

ADVENTURE TRAINING

Whilst Physical Education Officer at RAF Debden, the RAF Police Depot, HJC took advantage of the early Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. 

He led parties on potholing expeditions at Wookey Hole in the Mendips and hill walking and rock climbing expeditions to the Cairngorms and North Wales. HJC recalls ‘ We pitched 2 man tents on six feet of snow near Aviemore, walked and climbed all day returning to our tents at 4.00pm as darkness fell. 

Removing our wet boots and clothes we put them into the bottom of our sleeping bag and got into it as well. We cooked our meal on a primus stove whilst in the sleeping bag and dozed off till next morning. After 7 nights we were happy to get home! Canoeing the Rivers Taff and Teifi in South Wales, and sleeping in the canoes, completed the set on outdoor activities he followed, all requiring fitness, leadership and courage.


 

In the year that followed HJC played for the RAF and Combined Services as well as Middlesex County and London XV versus Paris. 

  JBG THOMAS - RAF v NEWPORT

“ I thought that the RAF captain HJC Brown was the best attacker on the field “

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He was selected for the Barbarians Easter tour of South Wales and played against Swansea and Penarth.

1962 Barbarians Easter Tour of Wales - HJC 2nd from right, back row

 

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Barbarians Easter Tour Itinerary Swansea v Barbarians Penarth v Barbarians

 

 


RAF v Scottish Borders

" Brown popped up to score a try showing tremendous speed in the process

 

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