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RGS Master Wins French Football Championship Medal

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:20 am
by John Saunders
Interesting headline, eh? It's perfectly true, and it happened in 1913.

James Albert McQueen (1882-1965) taught at the RGS from 1919 to 1946, but before he came to the school, and his WW1 service, he had spent a few years teaching on the continent. He was also a very good goalkeeper who captained a Marseille football team which won the French football league championship. This was written up in his obituary in the May 1965 Wycombiensian.

I've had a look around the web and tracked down the following link. You'll need your school French to read it (or you can feed it into an auto-translation device if you are lazy): ... USFSA_1913

Here's the main detail of the final match:

Wikipedia wrote:Finale[modifier | modifier le code]
27 avril 1913, au Stade des Bruyères, Rouen. 10 400 francs de recettes.
SH Marseille 1-0 FC Rouen (après prolongation)
Arbitre : F. Jénicot
Buts : Mouren
Marseille : MacQueen, J. Baïerle, Bosshardt, H. Scholl, Henri Hattenschwyler, A. Hattenschwyler, Mouren, Macquart, Marcel Vanco, W. Widdington, René Scheibenstock
Rouen : R. Cousinard, Ferris, Millar, Pestre, Mullet, Yaklo, Ami, Duboc, Ramsay, Dumford, Montreuil
Comme toujours au SHM, les Suisses sont majoritaires dans l'effectif. Lors de cette finale, huit Suisses, deux Français et un Anglais sont alignés par le club marseillais

From another page, there is more:

Wikipedia wrote:En 1913, le SH retrouve le lustre des finales nationales. Face au F.C. Rouen, et après prolongation, le SH s'impose 1-0. C'est le troisième et dernier titre national USFSA pour les Suisses Marseillais. Devant le nombre important d'étrangers composant l'équipe marseillaise, le SH n'est pas autorisé à participer au Trophée de France, réunissant les champions des différentes fédérations.

So, if my French is up to it, they wouldn't let the Marseilles team play in the French cup to reunite the champions of the different federations because of the number of foreign players in the team!

And now, la pièce de resistance, a photo of McQueen as the Marseilles goalkeeper...

Re: RGS Master Wins French Football Championship Medal

Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:43 pm
by turnermcqueen
Hi. I found this site whilst looking for information on my father, Leslie McQueen and found his name in a piece of text about his father James McQueen who was a French master at RGS. The blurb about James (my Grandfather) mentioned that he was a football player. On googling this information, I found this thread which had a link to the photo of Grandad that I don't think any of the family have seen before! Although it is strange that someone else is writing about one's own family, it has been a lovely find so I just wanted to say thank you. Best wishes, Liz McQueen

Re: RGS Master Wins French Football Championship Medal

Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 11:08 am
by John Saunders
I've been contacted by an Italian researcher who tells me that James McQueen played for Juventus (Turin) in 1907, and for AC Torino in 1908. Both very famous football teams, of course. Only last night I watched Juventus beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the first leg of the Champions' League Semi-Final!

James McQueen's obit in the Wycombiensian...

May 1965 Wycombiensian wrote:MR. J.A. McQUEEN (1919-46). On March 27th, 1965, at Amersham Hospital, aged 82 years. Mr. James Albert McQueen, who lived in Coningsby Road, High Wycombe, came to teach French at the R.G.S. in 1919, after service in the Royal Artillery. He had taught on the Continent for many years before the Great War and was very well known as a footballer. He was a very good goalkeeper, and captained the Marseilles football team which won the French league championship at that time. He had been brought up at the Royal Caledonian School orphanage after his father, a London policeman, had been tragically killed. He will be kindly remembered by very many Old Boys. He leaves five sons (all Old Boys) and two daughters.

James Albert McQueen was born on 16 May 1882 in 15 Rose Alley, Bishopsgate, London, the son of Richard McQueen, a Scottish-born City of London police officer, and Catherine (née) Butler. His father died in 1886.

His WW1 army service records indicate that he spoke French, German and Italian fluently. It also records that he was mentioned in dispatches, 3rd Italian Army in [illegible] no.116. (See below)

His army service record includes a letter he himself wrote to the Army Records Section, requesting that he receive the medals he was entitled to. It is worth giving in its entirety:

Royal Grammar School
High Wycombe
31st October 1921

To A/C R.G.A. Records,

Dear Sir,

There is to be special service on Armistice Day at the above school, and His Majesty the King has requested that all members of the O.T.C. and staff wear their medals and decorations. As I am the only member of the staff who has not yet received his medals, I would be pleased if you would expedite issue of same.

I enlisted in the A.P.C. [Army Pay Corps], August 1914, and was transferred to R.G.A. [Royal Garrison Artillery], April 1917, demobilised April 1919, Reg. no. 157560, J. McQueen.

I served with 317 S. Batt [Siege Battery] in Italy from April 1917 and I was mentioned in dispatches, 10/3/18, by the Italian C-in-C [Commander-in-Chief - I think this was H.R.H. Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia though the army record is hard to read].

Hoping to hear from you as promptly as possible.

Yours truly,

James A. McQueen

Re: RGS Master Wins French Football Championship Medal

Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 1:16 pm
by John Saunders
For completeness, here is the appreciation of James McQueen published in the Spring 1948 issue of The Wycombiensian, to mark his retirement:


Yet another of the outstanding personalities on the staff was removed from our midst at the end of the Summer Term, 1947, by the retirement of Mr. J. A. McQueen after 29 years of continuous service as a teacher of French and German.

Mr. McQueen was appointed to the staff by Mr. Arnison immediately after his demobilisation following the First World War. He had lived abroad for some considerable period and had had much experience of teaching English and German in French Schools so that he was able to bring to the School a conversational and practical knowledge of French life and language which has benefited many generations of boys. Apart from his classroom work, Mr. McQueen always took the closest personal interest in the development of individual boys. As a family man whose five boys had all taken a very good part in the life of the School, he always contributed the greatest wisdom and common sense to any staff deliberations and could be relied upon to see through any sham or pretence.

He was always a most active cricketer and right up to his last year in School spent a great amount of time out on the field. During the last war he undertook the charge of the Junior Building and made a great contribution to the games activities of the younger end of the School as well as keeping a very fatherly eye on their general development and progress.

The School has never had a more loyal friend and staunch supporter than Mr. McQueen and he will take with him into retirement the affectionate goodwill of very many colleagues and of countless Old Boys. E.R.T.

A PDF of the entire Spring 1948 Wycombiensian is available at Tony Hare's site here:

Appendix B to the official school history purported to list those masters who, by 1961, had served for at least ten years during Tucker's headmastership. Unaccountably McQueen's name was missing from this list despite the fact that he was well within the stated parameters (Tucker started in 1933 and McQueen retired in 1947). However, there is a splendid pen picture of the man on page 78:

RGS School History by LJ Ashford and CM Haworth wrote:Another "character" was J. A. Macqueen [sic], who taught modern languages from 1918 until after the Second War and was a keen games player. He will be remembered too for his rugged physical attributes: he used to walk to school in his youth from Flackwell Heath - the first 'bus would have made him a few minutes late - he invariably batted without pads, was a skillful [sic] goal-keeper who, we suspect, disapproved of rugger, and smoked hand-rolled cigarettes which were a serious trial to his colleagues. He had five splendid sons at the school, and his daughter often attended the family cricket net with them.

John Mitchell's book of old images of the school has a photo of McQueen but I'm not going to breach copyright by scanning it and putting it here. Old Boys really ought to fork out for their own copy of this excellent book - still available from the school, I think. (Try shopping for it here - though, with the frequency with which the school rejigs its web pages, it may not be long before this becomes a broken link!)