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Wigan v Widnes April 22nd 1939
Wigan v Widnes April 22nd 1939
Photo: Keith
Views: 473
Item #: 35059
With thanks to Colin who suggested I post a photo of my father when he played for Wigan. He was B J (Jack) Bowen, a Welshman who joined from Llanelli in 1938, aged 23. Like many of his fellow Welsh players he married a local girl and remained in Wigan after he retired and, like many other fellow players, became a tenant landlord for the next 24 years. He passed away, totally "compos mentis", peacefully in 2009, one month short of his 94th birthday. In the photo he’s seen on the right hand side, running across to provide cover. The colours are inconsistent, Wigan have more stripes on their jerseys than Widnes. I only came across this photo in the last few months. Jim Jackson is on the ground with Joe Jones trying to make the tackle. Wigan won this encounter 18-7, and completed the 1938-39 season with two more victories.

Comment by: John on 11th April 2024 at 23:01

Keith, you've done a wonderful job of colourisation on this photo.
By the way there is a war-time rugby programme for a Wigan v Wakefield match in 1944, for sale on Ebay at the moment (starting at £59! ) and listing your father at loose forward.

Comment by: Veronica on 12th April 2024 at 09:06

It must be marvellous for both you and Tom to see photos of dads in those matches before you were born and not even a twinkle in their eyes. I envy you both.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 12th April 2024 at 09:49

Keith, brilliant that you could find this picture and the colourisation is very good, it really brings things to life.
Always amazes me that the Welsh RU did not break away with the Northern Union with so many working class roots in common. Still, they have given us some great and memorable players over the years. You must be proud.

Comment by: Keith on 12th April 2024 at 21:38

Thank you all for those kind comments. My ‘journey’ to find more information continues. I have even been fortunate enough to find a short 1944 film (on the internet) of my father playing for Wigan in the 2nd leg of the Challenge Cup against Bradford at Odsal stadium.

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