H: Herdia - Hogan
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Gypsy Fernando Herdia
Spanish heavyweight worked in northern England during the winter of 1956-7, with opponents including Francis St Clair Gregory, Jim Hussey and Tony Mancelli.
Welterweight Pete Herman was another of the Barnsley lads, and so unsurprisingly he met Red Devil Charlie Glover as soon as he became interested in boxing. Charlie, father of Leon Arras and a good wrestler himself, ran a boxing and wrestling gymnasium, The Junction. At the time Pete got involved the gym was in Quarry Street and had not yet moved to The Junction Gym behind the public house of that name. Boxing was Pete's first love, but at Charlie's gym the lads would mix together and it wasn't unusual for each to have a go at the other sport. When Pete had a go at the wrestling he found he liked it. He liked it a lot and gradually he found himself learning more alongside Dwight J Inglesburgh, Karl Von Kramer and the rest of the Barnsley lads. They all moved to The Junction Gym in 1956 and a year or so later Pete turned professional. Pete and his friend Sam Betts (Dwight J Ingleburgh) joined the Merchant Navy, based in Goole shovelling coal into the boilers. It was gruelling work but kept Pete in good condition to pursue his wrestling interests. Pete engaged in great matches with Stoker Brooks, Pedro the Gypsy and Butcher Goodman in those early days, working for the independent promoters. In 1965 Pete joined Joint Promotions, though he was quick to tell us that he much preferred his time on the opposition circuit. One of his first opponents in Joint Promotion rings was Peter Preston, and it was a bit of a shock for Pete as he went down by two straight falls. There were to be many other matches with Peter Preston, fortunately with more favourable results, and Pete looks back on them as some of his favourites. Others he enjoyed working with were Vic Faulkner, Linde Caulder and Pedro the Gypsy. Maybe not one of the first names that comes to mind when we remember the old days, but Pete is a typical example of one of those unsung heroes who made the wrestling business great.
Born in Bradford Joe Hill was a central part of the British wrestling scene for four decades, initially as a middleweight wrestler and latterly as one of the country's top referees. Following an amateur career that he shared with his friend Les Kellett. Joe turned professional in the 1940s. Whilst his billing as Northern Area Middleweight Champion may not be overly impressive, his narrow loss in Paris to Gilbert LeDuc in a long bout for the latter's world title was more so. Floowing active wartime service in the RAF Hill returned to the ring, and encouraged his friend Les Kellett to join him. In the 1950s Joe began to cut down his wrestling commitments and gradually moved into a refereeing role. He is the only referee we can think of that was supported by a fan club. the Kelvin Fan Club.
Ron Hinchcliffe (Also known as Leni Robaire)
Dave "The Ratcatcher" Hines made his professional debut in 1968. The twenty-one year old had been learning the professional ropes for a couple of years at Bruno Elrington's Portsmouth gymnasium, alongside Bruno, John Kowalski and Tarantula Alan Turner, under the special guidance of Crusher Mason. Outside the ring Dave worked for his local council in the pest control department, hence his nickname "The Ratcatcher." A good villain who knew how to upset the fans, as much by his verbal abuse as his rule bending antics Dave Hines remained part of the British wrestling scene for over thirty years, a good run by anyone's standards. He had his final bout, against Adrian Finch in 2000.
Dave Hines passed away in May 2012.
We remember Gray Hobman as a muscular, bearded light heavyweight who looked the part but ran up an impressive sequence of losses against run of the mill domestic opposition. He came from New Zealand, more precisely from Rotorua, the town of boiling hot mud pools and spurting geezers. He was said to be the heavyweight champion of New Zealand, having taken the title from Luke Graham in 1968. Gray toured Britain, or rather Dale Martin land, for three months during the summer of 1970.
Bradford heavyweight Jesse Hodgson was quite a force on the heavyweight scene in the first half of the 1960s. With a bushy ginger beard many fans likened him to the Manchester veteran Man Mountain Benny. Training at the Windmill Club and later the Hill Top clubs in Bradford Jess was an amateur for ten years before turning professional in his early twenties. Dave Sutherland remembers, “He used to arrive in his van which had his name emblazoned on the side and his occupation of plumber.” A light heavyweight in his early days Jess soon filled out into a full blown heavyweight. Much of his early career was dogged by cartilage injury and this may have led to his short career.