WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

P: Kid Pittman


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Kid Pittman

The name Kid Pittman may not be familiar to most readers but he is more worthy of inclusion in the pages of Wrestling Heritage than many of those we more readily remember. Reputedly a skilled wrestler he was forever in a supporting role and a mainstay of Dale Martin Promotions for twenty years.

Percival Francis Pittman was born in Camberwell on 9th October, 1919 and became interested in wrestling in his early teens. Not just wrestling, he was also a good amateur boxer and member of the Globe Rowing Club in Greenwich. A pupil at Borough Polytechnic in Southwark (now London South Bank University) he left school at fourteen, as was usual at that time.

He joined the John Ruskin Amateur Wrestling Club and  was trained by Aubrey "Bull" Coleman. Kid Pittman turned professional shortly before the outbreak of war, a bout at Rochester Casino in 1938. 

Percy's career was interrupted in 1939 when he was called up for service in the Royal Airforce, where he was awarded a medal for bravery. Before the war a youngster had turned up at the John Ruskin and  was befriended and encouraged by Percy. That youngster was Billy Matthews, who was to become one of Britain's most famous wrestlers, Mick McManus. The two men were to remain linked, both personally and professionally, throughout their lives.

Following the end of the war when both Mick and Percy returned home Percy encouraged Mick to turn professional. The two of them also went into business and started a haulage company that specialised in transporting timber. As the revival of wrestling continued in the late 1940s Percy and Mick found that wrestling took up too much time for them to also concentrate on their haulage business. So they sold their lorries and started a printing business in Peckham High Street. They specialised in printing sporting tickets, programmes and literature. Again the business was a success and outgrew the two of them, at which time they sold it to Norman Morrell. 

Another string was added to his bow in the 1950s when Percy became the proprietor to the Tulse Hill Filling Station in London.

In 1947 he was featured on BBC television and wrestled Johnny Lipman. A skilled technical wrestler Percy Pitman weighed around 12 stones and was 5 feet 9 inches tall. For twenty years he wrestled the top names in British wrestling, retiring from the ring around 1960. 

Percy Pittman died in 2003.

Page added 23/09/2021