The Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race – the 1912 Race, When Both Boats Sank…

Posted on March 31st, 2013 by The British Newspaper Archive

The Boat Race takes place in London today and, once again, Oxford University and Cambridge University have both battled their way through the qualifying rounds to make it to the cup final.

But, well, unless you’re a keen follower of it, it’s really the quirky stories about the race that capture the interest of the mildly interested fan (a ‘mildly interested fan’ being defined as: well, I’ve seen both versions of ‘Ben Hur’ a few times, so I know a wee bit about team dynamics in a rowing crew). That is to day, unless something memorable happens for a particular race to lodge in the mind, they all tend to merge into a vague memory of the race. So we did some searches in the Archive to see if we could find stories about the various mutinies, wandering swimmers, and sleepy judges (allegedly) and sinkings that have occurred since the race started.

We discovered that in the 1912 race, both boats sank – hmm, so we think this means that the River Thames was the winner that year. So included below is a newspaper report of the 1912 boat race, as well as a dramatic photo of the Oxford boat shipping water.

Next year, we’ll post a report about the 1877 race where, allegedly, the race judge fell asleep and mistakenly called the race a ‘dead heat’, instead of naming Oxford as a winner.

historical newspaper report about the 1912 oxford and cambridge boat race

Lichfield Mercury – Friday 05 April 1912

Image © Northcliffe Media Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

historical newspaper report about the 1912 oxford and cambridge boat race

Evening Telegraph – Monday 01 April 1912

Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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  • Bill Smith

    I have been a fan of the OXBRIDGE ROWING RIVALRY since I read my mother’s copy of Tom brown at Oxford 70 some years ago. Only saw one race…in ’60s. Oxford won. (That book along with THE RED HAT had a great influence on my life and thinking. Hooray for the blues!

  • boatsforsalephilippines

    The 1912 article can make people or mostly the non-fan of Cambridge and Oxford Boat Race rivalry be interested and curious about what will happen in London regarding the boat race.

    • BNA

      Hi, yes, it’s definitely an article for the neutral fan of the university boat race. Regards, Grant.