The Rowers of Vanity Fair/Rasch FC

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Rasch, Frederic Carne[edit]

“South-East Essex” (Spy), April 2, 1896[edit]

Rasch FC Vanity Fair 1896-04-02.jpg

The late Frederic Carne Rasch, J.P., D.L., of Woodhill, became his father nine-and-forty years ago; and sent him to Eton and to Trinity, Cambridge, where he showed himself healthy in body and mind. That qualified him to be a Lieutenant in the 6th Dragoon Guards (the Carabineers); with whom he served for ten years. After that he naturally became Captain and Honorary Major of the 4th Battalion of the Essex Regiment; which he still is. He is also a Justice of the Peace, a Deputy-Lieutenant, and County Alderman for Essex; besides which, having unsuccessfully contested the Elland Division of the North-West Riding eleven years ago, he has been the chosen representative in Parliament of South-East Essex for ten. He is an Essex man and wholesome, bluff, genial fellow of strong opinions; who calls himself a Democratic Tory.


He is a man of blood who has smelled powder. He also helps to direct a couple of breweries, and it is believed that he does it well. Though he is not a pushing man he is a valuable subject of his Queen and a very useful Member of Parliament; in whom is much common sense, much sense of honour, and a keen sense of the difference between right and wrong. Yet is he a modest fellow with an undue sense of his own merit. The Carabineers owe him their silver kettle drums, which he gave them when he left the Service. He is a quick-spoken, ready man of military precision, who says very straitly what he means to say.


He has athletic propensities; and he has run, ridden, and rowed more races than most men.


Frederic Carne Rasch (1847-1914) rowed for Third Trinity, Cambridge in the 1867 Diamonds.


“He was an advocate of short speeches, and he opposed extreme temperence legislation on the ground that he objected to making drunken people sober by keeping sober people dry” -- a reasonable view for a politician who directed a couple of breweries on the side. Rasch was made a baronet in 1903, resigned from Parliament in 1908 for ill health, and died a month after the 1914-18 war broke out.


The 1869 Oxford vs. Harvard Boat Race[edit]

Oxford Harvard photo 1869.jpg

In the first Anglo-American university match, Oxford beat Harvard by four lengths in coxed fours from Putney to Mortlake on August 27, 1869. The Oxford crew included J.C. Tinné, an uncle of VANITY FAIR rower W.E. Crum. Edmond Warre called them “the best four that ever sat in a boat.” The race report by “Barkins” for Vanity Fair (Sept. 4, 1869):


A Boat-Race between Oxford and Harvard, though technically a match between two amateur boat-clubs, is in the eyes of the public a race between England and America. That the Harvard men altogether repudiated the idea of being the champions of American amateur rowing, we know from their own courteous and modest refusal to row the London Rowing Club, who wrongly interpreted the challenge sent to Oxford as one to England in general. Whether the Harvard crew is the best America can send or not we do not know, but judging from their prestige and their performances in the States, we can be sure they are no unworthy representatives of American amateurs. Their success in America has been almost as marked and as continuous as that of Oxford has been in England for the last few years. They have beaten their rivals of Yale University, and they have beaten a celebrated crew known as the Ward Brothers. At any rate the crowd on the banks of the Thames on Friday afternoon chose to consider the race as one between two nations rather than one between two universities.


That Oxford was worthily represented as far as the personnel of her crew goes, no one who saw the men can doubt. Indeed, it is not every year that Oxford could provide four men of such experience and capacity as Darbishire, Tinné, Yarborough, and Willan -- a twice victorious stroke, a present and a past president, and one who has repeatedly been chosen (if it were not invidious to choose where all are good) as the best of the crew -- four such men are not to be found every day, even in Oxford. But four good men do not necessarily make a successful crew; and disregarding (to use the language of their own University) the final and material causes of the success of the Oxford crew, the efficient cause is to be found in Messrs. Warre and Morrison, without whose able and consistent coaching the four would most assuredly have never been what it was; while the last, or formal cause, we may assume to be that very style or idea which our American rivals came to make trial of, and which exists in the minds of all duly qualified coaches, pre-eminently in those of Warre and Morrison. It was in the possession and zealous assistance of such coaches that Oxford was peculiarly happy. Never did a crew begin to train under fairer auspices than did the Oxford four, or rather five, for they kept an extra man in training last July. We may fairly say that, had this crew been beaten, Oxford would have been in sore distress indeed. Her case would have been far worse than that of Cambridge ever was, for she would not have known to whom she could turn.


"The International Boat Race Galop Dedicated to the Gallant Harvard Crew"

However, all is now over, and Oxford has won once more; and whether it was by half a length or half a mile, she little cares. The sharp drive of the blade through the water, the quick rebound of the hands off the chest, and the pendulum-like swing of the body have won the day again, and we shall still be able to instill the old principles into the ready ears of a rising generation without a qualm of doubt in our inmost souls of the efficacy and truth of those precepts on which we pin our aquatic faith. An account of the actual race is now superfluous; suffice it so say, that Oxford beat Cambridge in America in very much the same way in which she beat Cambridge in England; that a lead to Hammersmith did not ruffle the equanimity of her stroke, that she plodded on behind as usual to Chiswick, and lead as usual in Corney Reach. The race was decided in the old place, abreast of the reservoirs, the only difference being that the Americans kept their rivals harder at work than they have been in some of the ‘Varsity races. . . .

. . . .

. . . No one can pretend that the Oxford men had any cause to be disappointed in their rivals; they proved themselves to be at least their equals in endurance, and made them row hard from start to finish. The race has showed this, among other things, that men trained on milk and vegetables can work as hard and as long as those trained on beef, tea, and beer. Hear and reflect on this, O ye captains, coaches, and trainers.