P: Palmer - Parky
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Mostly remembered by fans as one of Dale Martin Promotions top referees and dapper M.C. Bobby Palmer had a previous life as a professional wrestler. He was born in Bow, London, on 21st October, 1914, but spent much of his youth in Brighton, learning to wrestle at the Brighton and Hove Athletic Club. His youthful appearance in later years made it hard to believe that here was a man who had combined wartime service with wrestling, Corporal Bobby Palmer on the posters.
In 1936 Bobby became a steward on the passenger liner, The Orford, As a young lightweight Bobby gained initial success, including a visit to Australia, before his career was interrupted by service as a parachutist in the R.A.F during the war.
Bobby resumed wrestling activities full time following the war. We find him refereeing from 1947 onwards, whilst also continuing to wrestle. In 1952 he wrestled George Kidd for the world lightweight championship at the Caird Hall, Dundee. Bobby took the opening fall before succumbing to falls in the eighth and ninth rounds.
When not in the ring Bobby worked as a film stuntman, was an antiques dealer and car delivery manager. As a referee, and later Master of Ceremonies, dapper Bobby brought dignity to occasions that would otherwise have been less so and helped to build the credibility of the wrestling days we celebrate on these pages.
He died on 26th January, 1999, aged 84.
Flore Alfred Joseph Pantobe was born on 24th November, 1915 in the French overseas territory of Guadleoupe, a Caribbean island in the Leeward islands. He was a successful professional boxer before turning to wrestling, where he was a big name in France and Spain. He came to Britain in 1951 and again in 1952 with opponents that included Jim Armstrong, Bert Assirati, Ernie Baldwin, and Bill Verna. After retiring from the ring Jim Pantobe became an optician in Paris.
A Greek technician who was a favourite of Greeks around the world. Hold and counter hold was the style of this stylist who visited the UK during the winter of 1963-4 whilst claiming the World Junior Heavyweight Championship. He came to Britain following tours of France, Germany, Lebanon, Australia and the United States. The Wrestler magazines assertion that he had remained undefeated for ten years seemed less than credible as he notched up a sequence of British defeats, not just against the usual suspects Georges Gordienko, Bill Robisnon and Josef Zaranoff but against lesser lights that included Johnny Czeslaw.
In the early 1950s a rumbustious heavyweight hit the British wrestling circuit, clashing with top class opposition such as Count Bartelli, Jack Atherton and Ernest Baldwin. He was certainly something of a hard nut because on many occasions he ventured where so many others feared to tread and was remembered for some great bouts with the legendary Bert Assirati. Papini accompanied Assirati to India during his 1953 tour. He was reputed to be a very hard man and a difficult opponent who was very hard to handle.
Craggy faced Darlington heavyweight active for Joint Promotions during an intensive three-year period from 1969 before, like so many before and after him, disappearing abruptly and without trace. Born in 1940, Ray was an amateur boxer who later turned to wrestling and enrolling at the Gladstone Street Youth centre in Darlington. In his early twenties Ray turned his attention to making a bit of money from his talent and decided there was no better way to learn the rougher rudiments of the professional ring than follow in the footsteps of Bull Davis, Kincaid and many others; dedicating 4½ years to learning the trade in fairground wrestling and boxing booths. He then graduated to independent promotions on his way to meeting Judo Pete Roberts at the Royal Albert Hall in 1971 and other top heavyweights such as Gwyn Davies, Tibor Szakacs, Wayne Bridges and Rocky Wall in Joint Promotion rings.
See the entry for Mr Big
The muscular Billy Parky came into the 1960s wrestling scene after winning the Mr Britain competition, under his real name of Bill Parkinson. The Mancunian used his formidable strength to his advantage, but never really hit the big time in wrestling circles.