WRESTLING HERITAGE

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Jim Rawlings, R.I.P.


30th October, 1935 - 25th July, 2019

Born on 30th October, 1935, the third member of the Rawlings clan who, like his brother Bill, was a powerful skilled wrestler who never quite matched the ring presence of the old man. Hardly surprising with Alf being  such a rugged force in the ring.

None of this should take anything away from Jim, who was a valuable part of the 1950s and 1960s wrestling fraternity. Although never a main event performer he was often seen wrestling on television during the first half of the 1960s. Trained by his dad he could certainly handle himself in the ring. 

A “lad’s lad”  young Jim enjoyed getting out and about playing outdoors, which brought him his first media exposure when he was just 13 years old. That first glance of fame came in August, 1949, when young Jim fell fifteen foot from a tree one day when dad was wrestling in Liverpool. Ambulancemen had to climb a wall and cross three fields to reach the youngster and take him to Leeds General Infirmary, where he was admitted with concussion, a fractured shoulder and spinal injury.

Also like brother Bill his father’s influence was given a finishing touch when he went on to train at Ernie Baldwin's Tingley gym, following amateur grounding at the Hill Top Amateur Club in Bradford. 

Not long after making his professional debut he and the family moved to Hamilton in Canada for around six months, returning to the UK in the spring of 1957. Whilst in Canada Jim worked in a factory making nails as well as continuing to wrestle part time.

The Rawlings brothers and their father were often seen working in pairs as a tag team or the three together taking on another team.. 

Like his father Jim Rawlings also became a carer in a children's home and we are fortunate to have the memories of one child for whom he cared.

Jim Rawlings died on 25th July, 2019.


Memories of Uncle Jim 

I was placed in Romanby Shaw Children’s home in Eccleshill, Bradford, West Yorkshire, due to family breakdown in 1970, I was 13 years old.

Staff were known/addressed as “Uncle” or “Auntie” followed by their first name. 
Jim was a big powerful looking bloke with big hands but was a gentleman in manner and actions. He told us that he used to wrestle and showed us some wrestling moves. He was really strong and I remember hanging from one arm while my mate hung from the other, and we quickly realized this was one member of staff that we would never get away with giving cheek to.

He was a really decent chap. I managed to find a set of weight lifting weights in a waste skip and he arranged for me to use them in the boiler room and gave every encouragement to keep fit. I was a bit skeptical about his tales of being a wrestler until one day during the school holidays I was in our local library and I came across a book on wrestling and found his picture amongst the other wrestlers. I took the book back to the home and showed it to him and he was really appreciative and pleased that I had found it.

I was into mending radios and he had a reel to reel tape recorder that the switch crackled when the volume was turned up. So I stripped it down in his kitchen flat, and had it running good as new. He said he would sort me out with a bit of extra spending money and the next day gave me £1 and told me not to let on to his wife as she had said give me 50p. This was in 1973 (good money for a kid)

I remember he had a wife and two children who lived in the attached flat; a young boy and a girl who he really protected; she may have been around 13 years old. I left the home when I was 16 and worked in Bradford for a while then moved down to London and have not had any contact with anyone from the home since. I did go down the road on a nostalgia trip a few years ago but the home has long gone and replaced by offices.

Regards,  Rod.