Appendix 4: Searching for the first medal

It would be interesting to find the first Championship medal, or at least find out whether it still exists. To this end I have been researching the Forrest family. A few more facts have emerged about John Clark Forrest. He was a prominent freemason, an honorary Sheriff-Substitute, an Independent Liberal candidate for Mid Lanarkshire in the 1885 election and Commanding Officer of the 5th Volunteer Battalion of the Scottish Rifles. More relevant to his sporting prowess, he was a fine curler and in 1888-89 was vice-president of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club. From 1875 until 1882 he was president of Hamilton Bowling Club. He was also a good tennis player and an expert horseman. He died of cancer in 1893 aged 60.

As I mention in the article about the 1870s, John had three daughters: they were Jane Wilson Forrest, Jessie Clark Forrest and Annie Logan Forrest. After their mother died they were cared for by her unmarried sister Jane Logan who herself died in 1920.

Jane was born in 1860 and died unmarried in Blantyre in 1930.

John’s Will deals with his stocks and the rents due to him rather than with individual items, but it is tempting to think that he would have expected his middle daughter to look after the medal as she also won the Championship.

Jessie was born in 1861 and married John Falconer, of the Egyptian Marine Service, in 1897. They lived in the Middle East for many years, becoming friendly with TE Lawrence, and they had two sons – John Forrest Falconer (known as Forrest) in 1899 and Colin Logan Falconer in 1901 – and Jessie died at her elder son's house in Fleet in 1947. I found Colin the easier to trace: he had a successful career in the RAF, becoming an Air Commodore and being awarded an OBE in 1941 and a CBE in 1945. He died in 1994 and his wife Pamela in 2003 (both in Cornwall). His CBE medal was auctioned in 1997 with other unknown items. Colin and Pamela had a daughter Barbara Jean, born in Belfast in 1947, and now living in Seattle. Unfortunately she knows nothing of the medal but she has kindly sent me some excellent photographs of her grandmother. I have now also been in touch with Forrest Falconer's daughter (and Jessie's other granddaughter) Rosemary Hathorn, but sadly she knows nothing of the medal either. If her father ever had it, it was possibly lost in one burglary or another. I think I have explored all reasonable avenues as far as Jessie's family is concerned.

That leaves Annie. She was born in 1866, her mother dying of scarlet fever four days later. In 1889 she married Lieutenant (later Major) Paul Alfred Charrier. Paul was killed at Etreux in 1914, at which time Annie was living on the Isle of Wight. Thanks to Alex McKee, a great-grandson of Annie's, I have now discovered that they had five children. There were three daughters: (Leonore) Dorothy (1890-1961), (Constance) Maud (1894-1951) and Gladys Florence (1895-1964). The last was a published poet who emigrated to the USA in 1923 and married a Charles Chamblin. Two sons were born rather later: Alfred James Forrest (1907-69) and Percy Patrick Gordon (1909-83). I am not aware of any children except Dorothy's. Her eldest son, Alexander Paul Charrier McKee, among whose many accomplishments was sub-aqua diving, was responsible for locating the Mary Rose. Whatever will I discover if I look further into this branch of John Clark Forrest's descendants, which is fascinating in its own right irrespective of my attempt to find the medal?

In view of my fairly extensive but unsuccessful attempts to find it, it is of course something of a long shot that the medal still exists, but it may – and there may also be more ‘Woolston’ cups just waiting to be found. Finally, should anyone run across a marble clock inscribed ‘nunquam non paratus’ (the motto of the Johnstones, meaning 'never unprepared') grab hold of it, for it was presented to Macfie when he won the 1871 Championship.

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