90 Years Since Chick 'Cocky' Knight's Hammersmith Bridge Heroics

Second time that local wrestler had rescued someone from drowning

Chick 'Cocky' Knight
Chick 'Cocky' Knight

90 years ago this week Hammersmith Bridge witnessed the rescue of two people who were drowning in the river Thames. A campaign has been started to get the person responsible for the heroic deed recognised by a plaque at the location.

Locally born Chick ‘Cocky’ Knight was walking by the river on 15 June 1930 when he saw two people in the water. One of them was a young girl and the other a man who himself had been attempting a rescue when he got into difficulties.

Professional wrestler Chick, who was a strong swimmer and had worked as a lifeguard at Acton Swimming Baths, jumped in and pulled them out of the river one by one.

This was in fact the second time that he had put his life in peril to rescue someone at risk of drowning. In June 1924, while stationed with the army in Gibraltar, he dived in to save a fellow soldier from a watery grave in Catalan Bay

Chick saved Private E (Edward) Durrant swimming out into the water some 300 metres, bringing him back to shore and then performing CPR. They were bogh serving in the 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment at the time.

Chick during his time with the army

His deeds came to light through the researches of his great nephew Andy Scott. When the local press reported on the exploits of Chick he was nominated for a Mayor of Gibraltar’s posthumous lifesaving award, and if successful, an announcement will be made later his year.

For both rescues Chick received certificates from the Royal Humane Society but Mr Scott is now campaigning to get his great uncle a plaque on Hammersmith Bridge which he feels is long overdue. He has launched a petition which has so far gained over 140 signatures in support.

Born in Hammersmith in 1903, Chick’s full name was Arthur Richard George Knight. He passed away in 1967, having fought all over the world as a professional wrestler, and was one of the first British wrestlers to be seen on BBC TV in 1938. He was known as Cocky, but when he fought abroad he was called The Bear, and was renowned for his love of cigars and beer, which were said to be part of his training regime between fights. He was also a boxer, film star and a bouncer & nightclub doorman. Chick is being inducted into the British Wrestler’s Reunion Hall of Fame later this year.

Mr Scott is also writing the colourful life story of his great uncle, which will be titled ‘London’s Loveable Villain’, and will tell of his life both in and out of the ring, his time in the service, what films he appeared in and as well as his celebrity friendships. It is due to be published later this year.

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June 19, 2020