G: Rex Gable

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Rex Gable
An Englishman Abroad
The posters proclaimed the name in tall letters – an international star from Australia, Canada, maybe the United States.  Switzerland on  occasions. Sometimes he was even British! This was professional wrestling of course and more of the codology that surrounded talented wrestlers. Whatever the posters proclaimed Rex Gable was  as British as Liquorice Allsorts. For the whole of his wrestling career he lived in Southall, moving there in 1933 until he moved to Chingford in Essex in 1967.  He was a truly international star, though, as well known on the Continent, especially Germany, Belgium and Spain as with the home crowds.

Frederick Henry Robinson was  born on 16th May, 1912. Maybe it was a nod to the actor Clark Gable, maybe it just sounded more glamorous, but it was the name Rex Gable that appeared on the posters. Eventually Frederick Henry Robinson changed his name to Rex Gable by deed poll.

We have found him wrestling in 1933 and making a big  impact on the British and European scene in the mid 1930s,  in the opposite corner to big names such as Bert Assirati, The Ghoul, Man Mountain Benny, Bert Mansfield and Dave Armstrong. He was a genuinely national player who could be found on bills the length and breadth of the country.  Daughter Mandy told us, “ I was only young when he was wrestling but remember when I was eight seeing him wrestle in Portsmouth.”

Rex was a strong, powerful heavyweight, standing well over six feet three inches tall; six foot six according to the posters! His long limbs made him quite a straggly character whilst his fair hair and good looks made him a popular star. He was well travelled throughout his career and as early as 1936 we  found him in Belgium competing in a tournament for the European Heavyweight Championship, with the strapline of British Heavyweight Champion.  Rex took part in three matches, losing to Belgian’s Emile Charlier and Constant le Marin, and Poland’s Max Krauser.

Rex was an accomplished wrestler. Whilst reports of rough fighting exist they are outnumbered by stories of a skilful technician. Reporting a contest at Preston in June 1939 the Lancashire Evening Post said that Vic Hessle “Never had a chance against Rex Gable who won as he pleased.” The report went on to state that Rex would not get a real testing until matched against Dave Armstrong or The Masked Marvel.

Serving in the forces during the war brought an abrupt curtailment to Rex’s appearances but following the cessation of hostilities in the European Theatre the hostilities of the ring re-commenced.  He was signed up by the Joint Promotion organisation when they were formed in 1952 and went on to make a few of the earliest television appearances before retiring from the ring in 1960. His last match was at the Wimbledon Palais in 1960. As his career was coming to a close he started a building and decorating business in 1957, which he pursued until 1967. It was then that he moved to Chingford as steward of the Masonic Hall.

Rex Gable died on 25th December, 2000.

Page added 05/07/2020

Reviewed 27/04/2022