David William Swarbrick
17th January 1927 – 20 April 2016
We are sorry to have to report the recent death of former England International and Blackheath F.C. 1st XV Captain David Swarbrick.
David was born on Monday 17th January 1927 at Tynemouth, north east England. He was educated at Kingwood School and Merton College, Oxford, where he was President of the Merton Society in 1945.
David joined the Blackheath Football Club whilst at Oxford and gained the first of his six international caps against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on 18th January 1947, the first England game after the Second World War (won 9-6). That season he also played against Ireland at Lansdowne Road, Dublin on 8th February (won 22-0) and France at Twickenham 19th April (won 6-3).
On April 5th 1947 David played his first game for the Barbarians against Cardiff, losing 3-0. Two days later on the 7th April, he was in the Barbarian XV that beat Swansea 7-6. On 9th April they beat the East Midlands at Bedford, 20-8. He was on the Baa-Baas Christmas tour of 1947 when the Barbarians beat Leicester 15-10.
The next season 1947-1948 David represented England against Australia at Twickenham on 3rd January (won 11-0) and Wales at Twickenham on 17th January which ended in 3 all draw.
On March 11th 1948 David played for the Barbarians v East Midlands at Northampton, and won 13-11. Later in that year David went on tour to Argentina with a Combined Oxford and Cambridge team, playing a series of matches in Buenos Aires and Rosario winning all their games.
In December 1948, David was again on the Barbarian Christmas tour playing against Leicester on Dec 28th where they lost 9-8.
On 12th February 1949 David played his last game for England against Ireland in Dublin losing 14-5.
As well as England, Oxford and the Barbarians, David represented Middlesex and also the Midland Counties. At Blackheath he was 1st XV Captain in 1950-51 and 1951-52. During the latter season he arranged a D.W. Swarbrick International XV to play A.M. Rees’ International XV, on 15th December 1951. This game was part of the Festival of Britain celebrations and was on the radio commentated by Robert Hudson and Peter West. A huge crowd turned out to watch the match and also the spectacle of Peter Piper’s teams playing to the 1862 rules. A serious head injury ended David’s rugby career but, he was until his death, a Club member and Vice President.
In 1948 David joined Imperial Chemical Industries Limited and retired as Chairman of ICI Southern Africa, Hillingdon Health Authority and Mount Vernon Trust, Bodleian Fellow, Oxford.
He was a much loved husband, father, brother and Grandfather, and friend of Blackheath Football Club. David’s funeral will take place on Tuesday 3rd May at the Chilterns Crematorium, Whielden Lane, Amersham, Bucks HP7 OND.