|Test Cricket Tours - West Indies to England 1939|
Tour of England 1939 Captain: Rolfe Grant
Fourth West Indies Test tour
Third Test-playing tour of England by West Indies
(April - September 1939)
Jamaican fast bowler Leslie Hylton was not in the original selection but was added to the team on 6 March following representations from the Jamaican Cricket Board. Just as well, for Martindale and Constantine were now past their best. Ernest Rae, as deputy mayor of Kingston, had called on Jamaican cricketers to withdraw in protest at his omission and demanded the West Indies Board should take Donald Lacy as assistant manager and Leslie Hylton as an additional player. Hylton's place was secured on condition that it was paid for by public subscription. The West Indies Board, already paying a captain's fee and for three professionals, insisted that it could afford to take only fifteen players, At the time of sailing the fund for Hylton's expenses was still £400 short but he nevertheless joined the touring group, although Lacy's place as assistant manager was cancelled.
The preliminary arrangements for the tour, were put in place in England, as they had been since 1906, by Mr R H ‘Harry’ Mallett but he was taken ill in March and could not participate, and eventually died in November 1939.
As War loomed, the last seven matches of the tour in England were hastily abandoned and the tour party hurried off to catch the first available ship home across the Atlantic Ocean. The tour would otherwise have finished in Ireland and therefore the tourists fortunately missed catching the 'Athenia' which was the first ship to be torpedoed on the outbreak of war with Germany.
More than 800 people joined the 'Montrose' at Liverpool and 400 more including the West Indian cricketers at Greenock. When two days out to sea, the Admiralty called the ship back to port but, after six hours of delay, she was allowed to sail again.
Other West Indies tours
To England 1933
To India 1948-49
Next tour of England
Members of the Test tour party (16)
Opening batsmen:Rolfe Grant, Jeffrey Stollmeyer.
Middle-order batsmen:George Headley, Paul Bayley, Jimmy Cameron, Victor Stollmeyer, Ken Weekes
Wicket-keepers: Ivan Barrow, Derek Sealy
All-rounder: Gerry Gomez
Spin bowler:Bertie Clarke
Fast bowlers:Leslie Hylton, Learie Constantine, Tyrell Johnson, Manny Martindale, Foffie Williams.
I M Barrow
H P Bayley
J H Cameron
RHB LB vice-captain
C B Clarke
L N Constantine
G E Gomez
R S Grant
RHB opener (OB) captain
G A Headley
L G Hylton
RFM / LBG
T F Johnson
E A Martindale
J E D Sealy
J B Stollmeyer
RHB opener (LB)
V H Stollmeyer
K H Weekes
E A V Williams
Regional representation :
B - Barbados (4)
BG - British Guiana (1)
J - Jamaica (5)
T - Trinidad (6)
°Cameron was educated at Taunton School and Cambridge University and lived in England. The only cricket he had played in Jamaica was for a combined Universities tour the previous winter.
Average age of team at time of first Test match
(24 June 1939) :
26 yrs 4 months
Test Appearances made before the tour
Headley 16, Constantine 15, Barrow 10, Sealy 8, Martindale 7, RS Grant 4, Hylton 4, Bayley 0, Cameron 0, Clarke 0, Gomez 0, Johnson 0, J B Stollmeyer 0, V H Stollmeyer 0, Weekes 0, Williams 0.
Jack M Kidney
Scorer / baggage
The West Indies Board dispensed with the assistant manager post on the grounds that they had not sufficient funds.
Lt-Col William Bowring MBE (of the 1900 West Indies team) chaired the panel which consisted of Vernon C Dias of British Guiana, Jack G Kelshall of Trinidad, Noel ‘Crab’ Nethersole of Jamaica and skipper Rolfe Grant.
On 19 and 21 Feb 1938 the West Indies Board met at Port of Spain to decide the tour arrangements. Rolfe Grant, a Cambridge double blue, was elected unopposed to lead the team in England. Jack M. Kidney was again picked to be Manager as in 1933, and Donald Lacy of Jamaica was elected Assistant Manager. However, a year later, in February 1939 the Board cancelled Lacy's appointment owing to the tour expenses having risen too far.
While Constantine was in Trinidad in January 1939 he was approached about the possibility of playing a part in the tour and he eventually decided not to play league cricket for Rochdale.
The team was chosen following trial matches between Trinidad, Jamaica and a Combined XI.
Tour Party Announced : 7 February 1939.
Not selected : Leslie Hylton, George Mudie (Ja), Cyril Merry, Rupert Tang Choon (Trinidad) Robert Christiani (BG).
Hylton was added to the side later on 6 March. Jeffrey Stollmeyer wrote : “Well-wishers in Jamaica had got together and subscribed his board, fare and lodging, etc. … he was a commanding personality but he also contained a fiery temper which had got him into trouble and was probably the cause of his missing the 1933 tour to England. While playing in the trials prior to that tour, an lbw appeal by him was turned down by the umpire who happened to be the elder brother of the captain-elect. When Hylton threw the ball down in disgust his goose was cooked,”
“Looking back at the selection of the  team, there was a certain amount of hit and miss but, as things turned out, it was not those who were criticised most who were to be the biggest failures. Everything Under The Sun (1983)
Time between selection and departure from West Indies
(7 February - 10 April)
Bridgetown T Plymouth
Kingston T Liverpool
On 10 April the Trinidad players and Bayley sailed to Bridgetown on the MV 'Columbia'. The next day, joined by Clarke, Sealy, Williams and Kidney, the squad left Barbados at 12.15 pm and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, these nine players reaching Plymouth on 21 April.
Leonard Harbin (T) who was not selected, sailed with them to England to follow the tour.
The five Jamaican players left Kingston harbour on the 'Tortuguero' on 11 April for Garston Docks, Liverpool. They disembarked on 24 April. Martindale and Constantine were already in England.
The first match was on the Busbridge Estate on 1 May but bad weather prevented any play.
Time spent in England
(21 April - 26 August)
On-tour selection panel
Rolfe Grant, John Cameron and Jack Kidney, with George Headley and Learie Constantine co-opted.
None. Victor Stollmeyer suffered from tonsilitis in the early part of the tour. A damaged hand cut vice-captain John Cameron's tour short.
Reginald Earle's XI
Leslie Ames's XI
Won 3 w
Lost 85 r
M C C
Lost 7 w
Won inns 5 r
Lost 73 r
Won 2 w
Won inns 228 r
Won 9 w
Won inns 60 r
ENGLAND First Test
LOST 8 w
Won inns 94 r
� West Bridgford
Sir Julien Cahn's XI
ENGLAND Second Test
Won 7 w
Won 10 w
Lost inns 72 r
Won 2 w
Lost 7 w
ENGLAND Third Test
WE Butlin's XI
An England XI
H D G Leveson-Gower's XI
Won and played on
� not first-class
Time spent in England before First Test:
(21 April - 24 June)
Time from end of final Test until departure from England 4 days
(22 August - 26 August)
Test appearances on tour
3 - Clarke, Constantine, R S Grant, Headley, Martindale, Sealy, J B Stollmeyer.
2 - Cameron, Gomez, Hylton, KH Weekes.
1 - Barrow, Johnson, V B Stollmeyer, Williams.
0 - Bayley.
• Constantine, though now 36 and past his best, again captured 100 wickets on the tour. Headley was again far ahead as the leading batsman with 1745 runs at an average of 72.
• Headley scored a century in each innings of the first Test match, the second time he had done this in a Test match (he had previously done so in Georgetown in 1930).
Other first-class matches
ϯ Minor matches
There were eight cancelled matches
Return to West Indies
Greenock T Montreal
Montreal t New York
New York T Bridgetown
Following receipt of a letter from Kent CCC cancelling their fixture, the team made its decision to go home immediately and caught the night train from Euston to Glasgow, except for Martindale and Constantine who had homes in England. The 'Montrose' sailed from Greenock on the Clyde on 26 August for Montreal.
Although some members of the team were not in favour of abandoning the tour when they did, doing so prevented the West Indians from boarding the 'Athenia', which left Liverpool on 2 September and was torpedoed off northern Ireland en route to Montreal.
In a one-day match held on 4 September the West Indians beat a Montreal XI but a second game was cancelled. Grant, Gomez and the two Stollmeyers remained in Canada while most of the touring party went by train to New York. Hylton and Cameron remained there.
Clarke, Sealy and Williams arrived safely in Barbados from New York with manager Jack M Kidney on 13 September on the ‘Argentina'. Bayley and Johnson sailed on to Port of Spain (14 September) and Georgetown (16 September). Headley, Barrow and Weekes landed in Kingston, Jamaica, on the 'Antigua' from New York on 24 September.
Time away from West Indies
(10 April to 13 September)
The three professionals in the side. Headley, Constantine and Martindale, got £600 apiece for the tour with a £50 kit allowance, in addition to their expenses for the tour, which were paid to all other members of the side, at roughly £250 per man. In addition there was a further allowance of £200 to the captain which was not given in previous tours.
The receipts of £10 000 covered the expenses of the tour. Kidney thought that playing their remaining tour fixtures would almost certainly have involved financial loss because of the imminence of war, as holiday-makers would be in no mood for festival matches and attendances would be small.
Published accounts of the tour
The tour is described in chapter 3 of “Everything Under the Sun” (1983) by Jeffrey Stollmeyer [Stanley Paul]
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