British wrestling history 

H: Halliwell - Hansom


Wrestling Heritage A-Z

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Peter Halliwell
We came across Peter Halliwell around 1970, a youngster from Chorley in Lancashire who was trained by the first class welterweight Alan Wood.  He seemed to be around only a short time before disappearing as quickly as he had arrived.

Phil Halverson (Also known as Billy McKenzie)
Another of the North East lads, a hotbed of wrestling in the 1960s and 1970s. Light heavyweight from Durham working mostly for the independent promoters in the 1970s. Phil, who also used the name Billy McKenzie, did work for Joint Promotions in the mid 1970s after Max Crabtree had taken charge.

Judo Ed Hamill (Also known as Kung Fu, Judo Mike Hamill)
Occasionally a wrestler comes along who creates a real buzz of excitement amongst fans. 

Such was the case when Kung Fu emerged on to the scene in 1971, though tv fans had to wait another three years before they saw  the face of this masked man with a difference.

For a start, unlike most masked men he was not a heavyweight, and moreover he was a good guy!. He had speed, agility, and wrestling skill. We just weren't sure about the good looks, not until his unmasking which was not to come for some time.

Here was a hero of the fans vanquishing all before him, until his defeat (and unmasking) at the hands of Nagasaki at the Royal Abert Hall in March, 1976. 

One month later it was another defeat, and another unmasking, on television, in a bout against Mick McManus.

We all now knew that Kung Fu was Belfast's Eddie Hamill, a pupil of Milo's gym in Belfast. Eddie had turned professional, using the name Judo Mike Hamill, in 1966. He wrestled his way around Ireland before crossing the Irish Sea, initially to work for Orig Williams and the opposition promoters.  The transition from Eddie Hamill to Kung Fu came in 1971. The judo outifit adorned with a golden dragon and semi-mask concealing the upper half of his face made Kung Fu an intriguing addition to the British wrestling scene.

His unmasking in 1974 was far from the end  of his career. Like Count Bartelli before him he proved that he had the charisma and the skill to pursue a career without the mystery of his concealed identity.

He continued as a highly successful wrestler, and toured Canada (re-acquainting himself with the mask) in 1981. 
Al Hamilton
Al Hamilton was a Canadian wrestler, Al Spittles, who took his wrestling name from his home city. He was a muscular, athletic wrestler standing just over six feet tall. Al came to Britain in 1933 and stayed for five years, sharing the ring with the likes of Bert Assirati, Carver Doone, Stan Roberts and Sam Rabin,  After wrestling in Britain Al returned to Canada where he opened a gym in Hamilton.

Flash Jack Hammond
Here's another one where we need our readers' help. Our only information of Flash Hammond are contests recorded in Britain during 1948 and 1949, and appearances in Singapore around 1946 and 1947. Opponents included Jack Dale, Harry Fields, Billy Joyce and Les Kellett.

Jerry Hanley    
A lighter weight wrestler from Plymouth for whom we have a handful of recorded matches in between 1935 and 1939, all in the West Country.

Rab Hannon
Scottish welterweight from Dundee. Began wrestling in the late 1940s and continued  into the 1960s.  "A little bundle of dynamite" proclaimed the posters. Sometime tag partner of Ted Hannon, who was his older brother.  The two brothers spasmodically went along to Charlie Glover’s gym in Barnsley. Whilst Ted went on to work for Joint Promotions Rab remained with the opposition, and a very good worker too according to Sam Betts.

Ted Hannon
The wearing of a velvet jacket and a kilt passed as pretty flamboyant in the early 1960s wrestling world. Add to that a previous existence as a drummer in a dance band and Dundee’s Ted Hannon had the makings of a colourful wrestling persona. Maybe so, but those that do remember Ted are more likely to remember a skilful technician than a showman. We remember him and here was a master of hold and counter-hold, and one of Britain’s top welterweights in the 1960s.  The boy was good. But in those days there were so many that were good.   The kilt was most likely worn because, to Ted, it was the natural thing to wear. He wasn’t one to seek attention through gimmicks, but rather a style that relied on nothing more than wrestling skill. A successful amateur career, reaching the heights of Scottish lightweight champion, led to a wrestling career in which he was regularly seen throughout the United Kingdom. Although he kept a home in Scotland he based himself in Leeds so that he could work nationally.  Not just that, but study at college for a post wrestling engineering course, worked at his uncles garage in Leeds. Mostly seen in singles matches Ted was a tag partner of fellow Scot, Chic Purvey, and the pair travelled to the continent.  Despite a televised win over champion Jack Dempsey, and at the time that meant quite something, and the occasional high profile bout against Pallo at the Royal Albert Hall and McManus on television, Ted Hannon was respected by many but destined to rise no higher than mid card level.

Toma Hansom
Toma Hansom, the Norwegian alter ego of Scarborough's Tommy Hanson is a name inextricably linked with wrestling promoter and entrepreneur Don Robinson. Don and Tommy were good friends before they entered the wrestling business, which they did together after approaching Darlington's Jim Stockdale one night at Northallerton Town Hall. Jim taught Don and Tommy the inns and outs of the professional style, and this was the start of a lifetime commitment to wrestling. Tommy turned professional in the early 1960s, many of his matches being on the bills of his friend and business colleague Don Robinson. Tommy would often manage Don's shows in the promoter's absence and was usually the man handing out the wage packets at the end of the night. During the 1960s Tommy worked around the country for all the  top independent promoters: Don Robinson,  Paul Lincoln, Cyril Knowles, Eric Taylor and Johnny Allan. He filled out into a mid heavyweight and could be seen in action against independent wrestlers such as Reg Ray, Jim Stockdale, Spike O'Reilly and the Klondyke brothers. Tommy's matches tended to be all action affairs, and not infrequently a bit of his blood would be spilled, none more so than in his clashes with the thirty stone heavyweight Klondyke Bill.  Klondyke, like Tommy, also worked for Don Robinson in his non wrestling enterprises, and after Don had the idea of turning Klondyke into a wrestling attraction Tommy was entrusted with guiding him through many of those early matches. In the late 1970s Max Crabtree signed Tommy up for Joint Promotions, which allowed him his only television appearance, partnering Ray Steele against Mal Kirk and Ian Muir. A second recorded contest, a win over John Cox, was not broadcast.  Following a long illness Tommy Hanson diedon 13th March 2013, aged 75.

Tributes were paid by fans and colleagues.
Hack: Toma Hansom was a good heavyweight who I watched in some real rough and tough bouts in the 1960s. Saw him a few times against Klondyke Bill, and these were bloody affairs - the blood being Tommy's! I met him the first time a couple of years ago and what a nice man he seemed, with stories of his wrestling days both in the ring and backroom working for Don Robinson. I was saddened to hear of his death following a long illness and much of the last year spent in hospital.

Bill Smith: Sorry to hear about Tommy/Toma passing away........Remember him being in with Klondyke Bill,didn't go myself but saw the posters advertising the bout in Doncaster at I think the Coop Ballroom before it became Romeo and Juliets.

John Mac: Although I only watched Toma twice live in the 60's, and I believe it was fo Paul Lincoln Promotions, once at The Priory Theatre Whitley Bay, a very/very small venue, Toma fought against Klondyke Bill and the next time I believe was at a Paul Lincoln Extravaganza at Newcastle City Hall against Doctor Death (Paul Lincoln). Another Loss Of Our Great Heritage Of UK Wrestlers. RIP Toma.

Eddie Rose: RIP Toma. Tommy was a good heavyweight but my memories of him were as Don Robinson's "lieutenant" at the Scarborough venue. I worked there a few times against Cyril Knowles, Kevin (Pit Bull) Cawley, Ezra Francis etc. He ran the shows smoothly but there was an odd affair with the "Rock of Ages": Tommy gave us a cheque which was made out to a pub down the road and we had to go to the pub (buy a drink or two) then cash the cheques MINUS the drinks! I don't know what the fiddle was except instead of say £10 wages, you got £8.50. Was it some form of tax evasion? Was it Tommy's pub? I often wondered. But he was a good lad all the same.

Reg Harding
Brighton heavyweight Reg Harding was the younger brother of Syd, born in 1945. The two worked as a tag team on occasions. Reg went on to a celebrated career as professional darts player. He died on August 11th, 2014.

Syd Harding
A short lived name on the wrestling circuit of the late 1960’s  Brighton’s heavyweight Syd Harding was trained by Johnny Peters. We have found him wrestling in the German tournaments during the summers of 1967 and 1968.