WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

L:  Alf Lagren


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Following an amateur grounding at Kirkcaldy East-Bank Alfred Lagergren  turned professional  using the name Alf Lagren.  He was born on 19th October, 1913, the son of  Alfred and Mary Lagergren, of Methil, Fife a town on the east coast of Scotland. 

Before turning to wrestling Alf was a well known body builder in the locality  At a local festival in 1932 it was reported 19 year old Alf exhibited muscle control followed by a clever weight-lifting exhibition.

Scotland wasn’t exotic enough for wrestling promoters and so when we first uncovered Alf wrestling in 1934 he was billed as Swedish. Wrestling the Golden Hawk in Portsmouth in 1934 Alf body slammed his opponent and scored the first fall in 25 seconds.  Whilst appreciating a  fine and clean contest the reporter of the Portsmouth Evening News said, “They did all sorts of things I did not understand.” Alf apparently understood less than the Hawk as he lost in the sixth round.

Records suggest that Alf was a skilled wrestler and popular with the fans. We have  records of Alf wrestling from the mid 1930s onwards, working with the best of them all, including Charlie Green, Danny Davey and Jack Dale,  and beating each of them on occasions. As well as wrestling throughout Britain there are reports of Alf wrestling in Sweden and France. 

In Scotland Alf was almost invincible, whilst elsewhere the Swedish version of Alf had a good record but not quite unbeatable. Such was the reality of professional wrestling. Although we acknowledge that results in wrestling prove little the results do suggest that Alf was a class act, a good enough wrestler to hold his own with the best.

At the outbreak of war he volunteered for the Royal Air Force. He served with 13th (South Lancs) Parachute Battalion and took part in Battalion deployment to the Ardennes in Winter 1944-5.

Lieutenant Alfred Lagergren  was killed on 3 January 1945, aged 31 years old,  buried at Hotton War Cemetery, Belgium. His wife in the official records was stated as Catherine Lagergren, and we have found a marriage record of 1936 in Westminster, London. 

A letter from his Commanding Officer to his parents  states that Alfred and his platoon were surrounded by Germans whilst entering the village of Bure, “With amazing  bravery and absolute coolness Lieutenant Lagagren kept the enemy at bay by himself by standing in the doorway of a house  throwing grenades passed to him members of his platoon. This went on for some time until  the Germans brought up a  machine gun and Lieutenant Langergren lost his life. There has never been a braver or more self sacrificing act than this.”