B: The Blue Mask

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The Blue Mask

We come across the name Blue Mask for the first time in June, 1937, wrestling Vic Hessle at the New St James Hall, Newcastle.  He was back again the following month tackling Francis St Clair Gregory and was destined to become the top masked man at the venue for  the following six years.  In June, 2014, Ian Pringle told us that the Newcastle Blue Mask was a local miner, from Chopwell who had worked with his father in law. The Blue Mask was Edmund Beckham, known as Ted born on 12th October, 1913. 

Beckham may have been the Newcastle Blue Mask, and a good one at that, but it was a localised name,  in Newcastle and Middlesbrough, with at least one other known Blue Mask, more possibly more.  Whether Beckham was the original is uncertain, whether the best is unknown, but he was certainly good and a big name in the north east.  He wrestled frequently  at the New St James Hall in Newcastle and was a good opponent for another local man, Dave Armstrong.  On January 13th, 1940, he defeated and unmasked his rival the Green Asp, to reveal the identity of Canadian Carl Van Wurden. 

He was not alone.

The other Blue Mask worked around  Lancashire,  Cheshire and the Isle of Man.  We can find no evidence of the claim at Chester in April, 1938, that the man in the woollen blue hood was undefeated in 200 matches. Opponents included Tony Baer, Sam Rabin, Whipper Watson, Jack Atherton.  

This  Blue Mask was Wigan’s Bob Silcock, unmasked by Ron Historyo.   A great deal can be read about Silcock’s masked identities in Ron Historyo’s On The Trail of Bob Silcock. After a long unbeaten run Silcock voluntarily removed the Blue Mask, with advertised appearances that he would voluntarily unmask in the ring, a blueprint for Count Bartelli’s tour unmasking over a quarter of a century later. One of those pre-planned unmaskings was at Warrington Baths on 13th January, 1939. Well, the removal appears to have vanquished any invincible powers as he was knocked out by Tony Baer. Nobody seems to have told the fans at Chester, just a few miles away, and five nights later the Mask was back in place to overcome Hans Lagren.

Silcock seems to have remained unhooded from that time on, but poor communications and lack of publicity in one part of the country  meant it was unnecessary to spoil the fun for those elsewhere and in Newcastle fans were still shouting for Beckham’s mask to be removed as late as 1944.  That was the  end of Blue Mask appearances  at Newcastle. At forty years old Beckham may have decided to call it a day.

Not the end of the Blue Mask, though.  Relwyskow Promotions featured a Blue Mask in Scotland in 1947, Blue Masks in Yorkshire and Cheshire in 1948. More Beckham or Silcock? Or a third, fourth and even fifth Blue Mask?  Wrestling has always been susceptible to those wanting to cash in on the success of others but we would say that to think of Blue Mask think Beckham or Silcock.

Postscript: Blue Masked Marvel

This does not appear to be a career masked man, more likely various wrestlers in the same guise. We have found a short run of Blue Masked Marvel  contests in Yorkshire between September 1933 and February 1934.  The name emerges again in November 1934 with a series of matches in the West country   running until December of that year. Following the war the name returns to the posters in Hartlepool between April and November, 1946. The masked man (or men) was not invincible but we found no record of him unmasking after defeat.

Page added 18/04/2021