1. Thomas William Burgess

  2. The remarkable story of a Yorkshireman who touched fame and lived life to the fullest.


    1872 June 15th TW is born
    1875 Capt. Matthew Webb crosses the channel 21 hours 45 minutes.
    1877 TW learns to swim when his uncle throws him in.
    1881 Family recorded in Rotherham Census
    1882 Alfred Burgess went to London as Tyre-maker to the earl of Shrewsbury
    1883 the year TW moved to London
    1889 TW moves to Paris on Business for the Earl
    1891 Father Alfred and mother as well as sister in Westminster census London
    1893 August 5 marries Anne Rosalie Mioux at Neuilly-sur Seine
    1897 approx. Burgess son is born
    1900 Paris Olympics
    1904 Sept 8th, Channel attempt England to France swam 8hrs.
    1905 July 28th, Channel attempt England to France swam 12hrs. 30 mins.
    1905 Augsut 9th, Channel attempt England to France swam 14hrs.
    1905 August 24th, Channel attempt England to France swam 8hrs. 5 mins
    1905 August 26th, Channel attempt England to France swam 9hrs.
    1906 July 15th, Traversee de Paris a nage
    1906 August 28th, Channel attempt England to France swam 9hrs.
    1906 August 30th, Channel attempt England to France swam 18hrs. 3 mins
    1906 Septemebr 13th, Channel attempt France to England swam 9hrs.
    1907 January 18th daughter Camilla Anna is born
    1908 August 14th, Channel attempt England to France swam 8hrs.
    1908 August 17th, Burgess made an attempt to cross within half-mile of the coast and had to give in to exhaustion after 20 hours 11 minutes
    1908 August 21st, Channel attempt England to France swam 23hrs. 45 mins
    1908 September 8th, Channel attempt England to France swam 2hrs.
    1911, September 11th, Swam the channel
    1911, Business reported to be near Porte D'Asnieres
    1913 January 10th, 4 rue Nicolas Chuquet, 17th arr. Paris --
    1923 Next succesful swims by Henry Sullivan USA, Enrico Tiraboschi Italy and Charles toth USA
    1924 August, Trains unsuccessful Argentinian Lillian Harrison
    1926 August 6th, Ederle trained by Burgess becomes first woman to cross the channel
    1941 October 7th, TW Burgess held in Stalag 142- German prison camp Besancon, France
    1950 july 2, TW dies in Levallois-Perret Paris, recorded as living in Clichy on Bac d'asnieres


    -Thomas William Burgess born in St Ann's road Rotherham
    -as a boy lived in the East Wood Vale district, to which his family had removed.
    -He attended the Parish Church School in Nottingham street (Now the Boy's Welfare Club)
    -After finishing his schooling Thomas William also went to London as a blacksmith's apprentice ( presumably to his father).
    -Joined St. Johns Sunday School at Westminster and was there encouraged by one of the curates to cultivate swimming.Subsequently he joined the Polytechnic Swimming Club and as a youth swam from Blackfriars Bridge to Battersea.
    -While still a young man was sent to Paris to manage a branch establishment for Lord Shrewsbury, wheel and tyre business.

    -He had the good luck and ability to introduce a valuable patent, and built up a most successful motor tyre business, becoming a fairly wealthy man.
    -He married a French woman and made Paris his home.
    -T.W. was 6 feet in height and weighed 15 stone
    -personified in a bronze bust.
    -Mother Camilla Peat professional cook
    -After Webb it took 36 years and 70 attempts before TW made his successful crossing.

    -What Bill's father had to say --"Before I say anything about Bill there are two things I want to deny. In the first place he is not a Blacksmith; in the second place he is not a naturalized Frenchman. Now about Bill. Born in Rotherham, Yorkshire he came to London when he was 11 years of age, went to St Margaret's School, joined the Westminster swimming Club. First learned to swim when he was having a holiday by the seaside on the Isle of Man. His uncle flung him into the sea-- that's how he learnt. He was 5 then. He is a great big schoolboy, is 39 years old, weighs nearly 16 stone and goes 45 inches around the chest. He is one of the merriest and lightest-hearted men, and when he laughs you can hear him a mile away. When about 17 he went to Paris with Lord Shrewsbury's rubber tire business, and shorlty afterwards started in the motor car business on his own account. He has lived in Paris ever since, is married and has two childen--a boy of 14 and a girl. The boy is already a good swimmer. He is what I call a sane man on every subject but Channel swimming. That was the one bee in his bonnet.
    -What the King said:--I am commanded to convey to you the hearty congratulations of the King upon your determinaion and endurance in accomplishing the wonderful feat of swimming the Channel today--Stamfordham.
    -What Burgess said: --You majesty's gracious message has touched me deeply. Its receipt has given me more pleasure than the accomplishment of the feat itself. I am proud to be an Englishman and your subject.--Burgess."
    -Notice Burgess, like a real lord or duke, signs himself "Burgess" They do say Burgess particular pals call him "Bill Bailey." During the swim they sang "Bill Bailey"--mixed with the marseillaise" to cheer him up. Bill says, "they can't sing for sour apples."


    -Bust of Burgess-Rotherham and its channel swimmer- The Yorkshire recognition of the Channel swim of T.W. Burgess in September, 1911, is to be completed without further delay. The artist who executed the bust of Rotherham's hero, and when finished it will probably be placed in the Clifton Park Museum.
    -According to the Rotherham Metropolitain Borough Council, the Bust is currently in storage at the Rotherham Clifton Park Museum.
    -the nose of the bust is rubbed smooth from generations of school children rubbing it for luck before going into the baths.
    -bust of Burgess formerly stood in the Old Main Street Baths but is now in the Sheffield Road Baths, Rotherham.
    -NOSE-RUB TRADITION: Bronze statue has been moved from its place of honour in the foyer of the Main Street Baths to that of the Sheffield Road Baths, but I understand that Tom has taken with him an old tradition among school-children of rubbing his shiny nose with their towels as they pass. A colleague who visits the baths each week says it will perhaps take some time for the nose to get back the shine it had before the Main Street Baths closed down, for the closure left the statue alone in the foyer for months. It is said by school children that he who fails to rub Tom's nose drowns when he gets into the water. Of course this is not taken seriously even by the youngest participants in this old Rotherham ritual, but nose-rubbing continues regardless, and Tom's nose gets shinier on a Saturday morning than on any other day in the week.


    The facetiously termed "English channel swimming season" is now here, and, as has been the case for many years, determined attempts will be made to emulate the great feats of Captain Paul Boyton and Captain Webb, made thirty-five years ago. Dozens of ambitious men and women have striven to emulate the feats accomplished by the pair, but none has succeeded. Think of it! Thirty-five years ago two men swam the channel, but despite improved methods of training, wonderful exhibitions of perseverence and attempts annually renewed not one has duplicated the feats of the pair.

    The English channel is probably the best body of water known to thoroughly try the capabilities of a swimmer. First there is necessary the ability to swim, and swim well. Then comes endurance, a potential factor, as the sailors the world over know the channel as one of the stormiest bits of water to be encountered. The historic bay of Biscay s often peaceful, the English channel seldom so.

    Early in 1875 Captain Paul Boyton, the American life guardsman, navigated the channel in his pneumatic rubber suit aided by a paddle, the same equipment as he exhibited himself in for many years in this country. That trip in itself was something, but a few months later Webb surpassed this feat without any artificial aid going from coast to coast in 1 hour 33 minutes less time than it took Boyton to paddle and swimming ten miles further.

    Webb's first attempt was a failure he abandoning it after swimming thirteen and a half miles and being in the water 6 hours 48 minutes 30 seconds. Twelve days later he tried again and won. The Badminton library volume on swimming, from which many of these facts are obtained, states that the nearest point of French land from where Webb dived was Cape Griznez, seventeen and a half miles from Dover in an air line and the actual length of the swim thirty-nine and a half miles. He was in the water 21 hours and 45 minutes.

    In order to get the benefits accruing from the tide Webb started his successful swim about an hour after noon and at the completion of his trip had occupied 3 tides. He took but little rest on the journey and then merely to take refreshment, treading water meanwhile and having no artificial assistance whatever. This is attested by newspaper men who accompanied his handlers in a boat on the trip.

    The temperature of the water was 65 degrees, but it is recorded that Webb never complained of the cold and was affected by drowsiness only through the terrible exertion he was subjecting himself to for nearly 22 hours. Before starting Webb was rubbed with porpoise oil, and it is said the sailors carrying him from the Calais sands to a carriage described him as feeling like a lump of tallow.

    A remarkable feature of the exploit is that Webb used the breast stroke throughout, averaging about twenty to the minute, swimming high in the water, so much so that at the conclusion of each stroke the soles of his feet appeared above the surface.

    Poor Webb! Much of the glory he gained through his successful navigation of he channel was lost for the time being when he tried to swim the rapids of the Niagara river below the falls in 1883 and lost his life.

    Others who have tried to swim the channel and failed are Ted Heaton of Liverpool and Drugolloub vel Militchevich, who won the long distance championship of Serbia. He is a powerful man of twenty-eight yars of age.


    Although there is neither pleasure nor profit involved and the iridescent thing called glory is the only reward for a man who dares all and fails, three men will make an attempt to swim the channel next month. Jabez Wolffe who came closer to Webb's great feat than any other man, is to make another attempt some time between Sept 12 and 26. Montague Holbein, who came almost as close as Wolffe eight years ago, is also preparing for another dash. Captain Hoey of New Zealand is down for a trial. There is a report that Miss Lilly Smith, a woman professional of London, will try, and rumours are abroad from Burgess and Wiedman of Dover.

    For some time past the experts on this side of the water have picked out Bud Goodwin of the New York Athletic club as the man most likely to duplicate Webb's feat. He has shown that he has no equal here at long distance work, and he could swim rings around Wolffe, Holbein or even Webb were he here today. Goodwin says next winter he will collect a lot of fat and will take a crack at the channel in 1911.

    There is also some talk of Captain Sam Mahoney making an attempt. The latter is considered to be one of the best swimmers in the country today.

    Swimming the English channel is not like taking a dip in the surf at some seaside resort, a dash through a nice calm lake or a swim from one side of the river to the other. Natation on a rough day in the tempestuous Atlantic ocean gives an idea of the European feat, but still it lacks some of the essential fetures that have made the aquatic marathon unswum by so many.

    The narrowest portion of the mill race of the ocean that runs between England abd France is marked by Cape Griznez, west of Calais and Dover, about eighteen miles as the crow flies, and is, as one of the frequent contenders describe it, "the moving corridor, the marine labyrinth, where the waters of all the neighboring seas cross and thrust themsleves against each other in a capricious set-to; where the winds, sqaulls and gales make the despair of the pilots endeavouring to trace out the itinerary of the swimmers.

    But the channel swimmer can make no bee lines for his goal, no matter if the sea be as calm as a mill pond. From the Atlantic, through the channel and into the North sea, and vice versa, rush the tides. The flood or easterly tide according to computations, drifts the swimmer some seven miles east of Dover, the ebb tide bringing him back again and taking him possibly six miles west of Dover, his course being represented by an irregular figure somewhat resembling the letter W.

    Because of tides and temperature there are but three weeks in the year in which attempts to swim the channel are made. Between August and September is the mystic season, when the water averages 63 or 64 degrees, and for two periods of three days each are found the dead neap tides, when the water is running about one and a quarter miles an hour instead of the usual five miles speed. If an attempt made on one of the neap tides fails the swimmer must wait a fortnight before again essaying his task.

    To add to the difficulties the channel flow has changed greatly since Webb captured the natatorial crown. The immense admiralty pier and the national harbor, capable of accomodating the entire British navy, have been built in the meantime, and the displacement of water has undoubtedly enhanced the strength of the channel currents.

    Webb in his famous swim crossed three tides between Dover and Calais, and his point of landing in a direct line was twenty-one and a quarter miles from England, but he actually swam 39 and a half miles, and it took him 21 hours 45 minutes. Captain Boyton, who used to exhibit in a pneumatic suit with sail and paddle, crossed the channel, but with all these artificial aids he required one hour and 33 minutes longer for 29 miles than Webb, relying on his strength and stamina, needed for a distance greater by ten miles.

    Statistics however give a faint idea to the uninitiated of the hardships involved, so a few of the requisites that all channel swimmers follow before an attempt are given, which increase the wonder at the perseverence of which pure glory is the sole reward:

    Food-Swimmers must be able to take food in the water without the admixture of salt water, in which case seasickness usually results. Diet naturally differs. Webb subsisted largely on brandy and beer, while modern swimmers use beef tea, chicken and fruits, and Burgess in an attempt a year ago rounded off his menu with a red current tart.

    Eyes-The eyes must be accustomed to salt water, and in addition a canvas helmet with glass eyes is generally used, protecting the ears as well.

    Head and Brain- A thin rubber skull cap is generally used to keep the head and brain warm and prevent cold shivers.

    Hands and Feet- Because of the suffering from the cold the hands and feet, together with the stomach, neck, back of the head and outsides of the ears are usually anointed with Stockholm tar, the inside of the ears being plugged with soft dentist's wax held in by wadding.

    Body- The body is smeared with Russian tallow in order to retain the natural heat as long as possible, and lard is used as a second dressing. Perfume is sometimes necessary to prevent an odor which may sicken a swimmer.

    A remarkable feature of Webb's success was that he used the breast stroke almost entirely, varied with a side stroke. The lay swimmer knows the pain emanating from a kink in the back of the neck that this stroke provokes for even a short distance, and Webb felt it proportionately for twenty-on hours. Holbein on the contrary, supports the back stroke as being the better, while Annette Kellerman used the double overarm, or trudgeon, continually for ten and a half hours in her first attempt, swimming twenty one miles and yet being ten miles from France when pulled from the water. The sigle overarm and side strokes appear the favourites with most channel swimmers, however, varied with the breast stroke.

    Webb was essentialy a man of stamina, at the time of his channel jaunt being a slow and ponderous swimmer, using so much force in his breast stroke that he half rose from the water, and the soles of his feet appeared above the surface after each kick. Holbein, too is a man of stamina and had he possessed some speed might have reached the shore on the trial in which he was swept by the tide when half a mile away.


    -The sensation of Wednesday was the swim of Burgess across the channel. It was a victory after many failures and Burgess bursts into tears on landing. He struggled with sickness and exhaustion for 23 hours. The swimmer was cheered by songs and jokes from the accompanying boat.
    -Dramatic story of end of the great swim told by Mr. Weidman, who was in the water with Burgess. "When the water was upt to Bill's knees I said to him. "Bill put yer feet down" Gradually he got his feet down, stood upright, then staggered, and was about to fall. I caught him and helped him up the sandbank, and laid him down. He started crying like a child. This fair upset me --and I began to cry too."


    I was to have made my start on Saturday night, September 2nd, but owing to Mr. Jonas, Dr. Watson, and the late Captain webb's son being unable to accompany me, my swim was postponed, although the weather was perfect. The next evening there was a strong breeze, so I was unable to start before September 5th. Several gentlemen who had agreed to accompany me were unfavourably impressed by the size of my boat, and declined to come, so that when I left Walmer for St. Margaret's Bay there were only eight with me, but at St. Margaret's we managed to get three other independant witnesses.


    Landing on a patch of shingle at the foot of the cliffs a little to the south of St. Margaret's, I was greased down with lard, but, owing to the hot sun, I was unable to put on more than one pound, instead of the usual three or four pounds. This was very unfrotunate, as it gave me insufficient coverage from the cold, and also from the stinging fish, which I met in large numbers. Putting on my cap and goggles, I waded into the water, feeling perfectly fit, and confident of at least beating my previous best record. During the first few minutes I had to take great care to avoid the submerged rocks, which abound round this part of the coast. As we got from the shelter of the land I found that the breeze had freshened considerably, and this being against the tide, was causing a very choppy sea. My old goggles, which I had been using on all my big swims, started leaking badly, and almost immediately I had trouble with my eyes. This got worse, and after two hours I was in great agony, but making very good progress. The sea was also much worse, as the tide, rushing up against the South Goodwin Sands, was causing a very rough and white-capped sea.


    At this stage, seeing things going so very badly, I had a chat with my pilot on the advisability of coming out before I had wasted any more strength, so as to be in a fit condition for a further attempt under moe favourable conditions in a day or so. It was pointed out to me, however, that a little swim of six or eight hours would do me good, so I decided to continue after sponging out my eyes in fresh water and changing my goggles for a pair that Weidman, the Dover Channel swimmer, lent me, only to find further trouble shortly afterwards. The salt water had frequently got down my throat and nostrils, and I began to feel very sick, and thinking that a little food might relieve me, I asked for some chocolate. Unfortunately, as I drank, I got another mouthful of salt water, and was sick immediately. During the next two hours I had several bad attacks of seasickness.


    After five hours swimming, the sea became much calmer, and after taking some Swiss milk chocolate and a few grapes I settled down, feeling much better. Soon after the wind began to die away, so they put on more sail. As I recovered strength the speed of the boat was found to be too slow, so it was decided to start the motor. The noise of this however, got on my nerves, so it was decided to stop it. The pilot, Mr. Pearson, and two boatman, Dick Mercer, senior and junior, volunteered to tow the motor boat from the small rowing boat, and this they did for nearly seventeen hours, without rest and nearly without food. After nne hours we found we were three miles south-west of Varne Buoy, the tide just turning, and an ordinary tide ought just to be setting me towards Calais.


    It looked a position to be envied by any swimmer, but the tide on this occasion set back over the sands towards the English coast, and six hours later, in spite of my efforts, I was still ten miles from Calais. This did not trouble me much, as I now calculated that the tide would send me in a diagonal direction towards Griznez, at which place I hoped to arrive on the turn of the tide and have slack water to finish the swim on. Shortly after this the moon, which had up to this time been shining brightly, went down. It was then found that the big electric lamp on board would not work, so we had to manage with the boat's lamp, good enough to steer by bt not very cheerful.


    I soon got very despondent, and although awake, I had constantly before my eyes the vision of a body of a mutilated man. I now asked the boys in the boat to sing to cheer me up, but they were very unfortunate in the choice of the first few songs. Afterwards they sang the "Marseillaise." This wound me up once more, the song being sung for nearly an hour. I then took Swiss milk and water, or grapes, every half-hour to relieve the monotony, which was getting too much for me. As the sun rose I found my spirits revive, and Weidman coming into the water with me for a morning dip, we had a nice little chat, and I soon forgot my troubles and began once more to enjoy the swim. At the end of 20.5 hours I felt better than when I started. Having been disappointed on other occasions, I had decided not to look ahead until the swim was finished, but as they told me I was now only a mile from shore I could not resist the temptation to look at the land, which I could only see dimly, as the mist was thick. It seemed so close that I then talked of beating Captain Webb's time, but that last mile takesmore swimming than the first 20. After another hour I ad got to within about 800 yards of Griznez, but here the tide sweeping out from the bay to the east of the cape shot us out to sea towards the west, and we were soon nearly two miles from shore. Things were not so bad as they looked, and now the tide began to turn and run to the north-east, and I was soon again within a mile of shore. I now began to go very fast, but this brought on muscular cramp in the region of the heart, and without my knowledge I had also been given strychnine, the kill or cure principle, when I had been delirious, which now made things worse. I could not for some time use my left arm, and I found it gave me great relief to hold my hand over my heart to ease the pain and calm its wild beatings.


    At the end of 22 hours, I took off my gogglesto have a look about me, and I found that I was only 400 yards from the shore to the west of Griznez. The tide, coming up the shore from Boulogne, now began to be felt. Having on other occasions been in this position and been drifted back after a long struggle, I decided on a bold course, which to the others on the boat looked very risky. I decided to swim away from this tide and once more miss the land. This really was the secret of my success, as after making a tremendous effort, and swimming as I have nver done before, I found that after another half hour I was just opposite the place where I had been at the end of the 20th hour, having only gained about three-quarters of a mile towards the shore in two hours. I was now inside the bay, and there was no more contrary tides to fight, but my last effort left me for some time very exhausted, so I swam on my back for a distance. This rested me, and I soon recovered. I now took things very easy. Soon after this I looked ahead and saw some men waiting for me on the beach and others running towards where they thought I should land.


    Shortly my hand touched the bottom, but I swam on untill my head touched the bottom also. I then stood up, but at once I staggered and nearly fell, catching the hand of Weidman to save me from falling. He told me to take things easy, so I walked forward staggering, a lot more from the change of movement than actual weakness. My friends, now very excited, rushed from the boat, some jumping into the water up to their waists with their clothes on. As I put my foot on dry land they rushed to me, and were really troublesome in their attentions. After being wiped down and having had a little champagne, I was soon myself again. After explaining to the French people where I had come from, and taking the names of the important witnesses, I went on board the boat, and curling round on the floor, wen to sleep for an hour or so, whilst my friends went to celebrate at the nearest hotel.


  8. TIME-TABLE of the swim

    -Tuesday 11:15 AM --Start from under cliffs between St. Margaret's Bay and South Foreland. Favorable wind.
    -12:00 --Two miles out Well and Cheerful.
    -1 to 3 p.m. --Sea got choppy. Burgess much troubled and ill several times.
    -2:15PM --Six miles directly off land, but still troubled by choppy seas. Burgess very seriously considered leaving water.
    -3 p.m. Burgess takes chocolate. Soon after becomes ill. Large coasting steamer passed, slowing down and altering course to suit swimmer. Crew cheered Burgess.
    -4:30 p.m. Channel boat passed far to eastward. Drift took her down opposite Shakespeare colliery, between Folkestone and Dover.
    -5:15 p.m. Weather improved. Swimmer is far better spirits.
    -6:15 p.m. Carried by ebb tide 3 miles south of Varne buoy, but ten miles directy across, Burgess satisfied.
    -6:30 p.m. sun sets and win falls .
    -7:30 p.m. Burgess ate grapes. Borrowed Weidman's goggles. Eyes better. Slowed up for rest. Felt very fit, and hoped "to do it this time" Chatted with people in boat.
    -9:20 p.m. Weidman swam with Burgess. Sea like millpond. Burgess took more food.
    -Wednesday 4:20 AM --3 miles from Sangatte.Swimmer had made splendid progress: a little weak, but all right. though he felt light headed. Party sang to him to cheer him up.
    -5 a.m. --Swimmer weary. Complaind of muscular cramp. Frequently enquired position.
    6:30 a.m. Weidman went in. Burgess criticised his stroke, and gave him a swimming lesson.
    7:40 a.m. Burgess asked for 20 drops of champagne every hour and "not a drop more". Brightened up when told he was only one mile and a half from shore. "No champagne then," he said.
    9:50 put his foot down.
    THE END.

  9. -The witnesses of the great swim who accompanied Burgess on board the motor-boat Elsie were Mr.J. Weidman and Mr. A Whorwell, Dover swimming Club; Mr A.H. Bier. Dover; Dick Mercer senior and junior, Walmer boatmen; Mr. W.H. Pearson, captain of the boat and pilot: Mr. AS. Wauchope Watson, food specialist; MR. Fache engineer; Mr. R. Flood, of Sydenham; Mr. E. A. Jefferys, Stamford Hill; Mr. W.H. Wyburn Walmer. No discussion this time as to whether "he got there".
    -TW First attempt to cross the channel was in September 6th, 1904, giving up after a struggle of 15 hours. The next day he started again but after covering 22 miles in about 9 hours, was forced to abandon his attempt because of a gale. In his successive tries Burgess each time was forced to abandon the atempt when the goal was almost within his grasp
    -distance is only 20 miles but swimmers are compelled to zig-zag in combatting the waves and tides.
    -Left England the morning of the 5th Sep 1911
    -September 6th 1911, his 13th attempt, enters the water at 11:15 in saint Margaret Bay near the lighthouse o South Foreland, 22 hours and 30 minutes later after valinat struggle against opposing todes and currents the bearded athlete (1,83M 95 kilos) reaches the beach at Chatelet east of Cap Griz Nez. Originally from Yorkshire Burgess worked in a tire factory in Paris, and had a garage with his Wife. He always swam with motorcyclist goggles. He received Telegrams from both the King of England and Matthew Webb son of the first to cross. TW coached Gertrude Ederle, Edward Temme. His success allowed him to buy large wodden house at Griz-Nez, "The Villa of Cross-Channel Swimming".
    -The swim was made 6th-7th 1911 TW aged 37
    -On September 6th 1911 he swam the English Channel from Dove to Cape Griz Nez>
    -began his swim from the Shore near South Foreland at 11:15AM, high water having been at 9:50AM
    -He started from South Foreland at 10:50 yesterday morning
    -This occasion was to be his last attempt he started from South Foreland a strong tide was flowing and the swimmer had a tough task to get past Goodwin sands.
    -Four hours after his departure, the swimmer was only 6 miles on his way. This was the last heard of him until the news of his success in reaching the french shore reached here and considerable anxiety was being felt as to his fate. A heavy fog enveloped the channel last night and the crsooing steamers failed to sight the swimmer.
    -Showed that when he entered the water at Dover that he would not spare himself and started of for the French coast at top speed.
    -Lifes ambition to cross the channel
    -The flood or east going tide would continue untill untill about 1PM, at which time Burgess was near the South Sands Head of the Goodwins. Between that time and 5PM the ebb tide took him back towards the Varne Sandbank, and when the flood tide began again at 7:30PM he was not in a favourable position because at this part of the Channel the tide sets N.E., and Burgess was carried back towards England. Swimming across this tide, which continued till about 1AM or 1:30AM, he was then in mid-channel between dover and Calais. The next tide was kinder, as Burgess said in a subsequent interview, and at 4:30 a.m. he had got into a position three miles from Sangatte, west of Calais. He swam in the direction of Cap Griz Nez, and was off that point at 7 a.m. At 7:40 a.m. he was 1.5 miles off. It was impossible to get across the tide to land at Cap Griz Nez, and Burgess was carried past it 400 yards off the shore. He tried to land on the western side of the Cape, but the north-easterly flowing tide then intervened, and caried him around the point again, and though very nearly done -- he had to "rest" by swimming on his back --Burgess succeeded in getting across this tide and landing at le Chatelt, a village on the shore, about a mile east of Gris Nez. His mileage for the 22 and a half hours swim worked out to one and three-quarter miles per hour. At the start the conditions were ideal, sea temperature 66 degrees, and the swim Burgess used a left over-arm stroke. He was accompanied by the Walmer motor-boat "Elsie" captained by H. W. Pearson, pilot, and a party of ten others.
    -Distance between Coast about 20 miles(ref Syracuse Herald sep-6-1911)
    -Had to struggle for hours to keep from being carried by the strong channel current
    -burst into tears of joy when he set foot on French soil
    -his 9th attempt was succesful
    -his success after 9 attempts
    -his 13th attempt was successful
    -15 unsuccessful attempts
    -On 16th attempt he swam from South Foreland, Dover to Le Chatelet a little village 2 miles east of Cap Griz Nez in 22 hours 35 minutes. He covered about 60 miles.
    -in the water 22 hours 35 minutes
    -in the water 24 hours and 45 minutes
    -jellyfish stings, sea sickness and cramps
    -in mid-channel stung severely by Jellyfish and became ill and was ready to abandon the swim when but a sot distance off the french coast he met the ebbing tides and battled for 3 hours before reaching slack water.
    -in a dense fog got separated from the boats that were following him and for a time all traces of him were lost
    -during the crossing Friends in his accompanying boat sang to him
    -News flashed ahead and a large crowd gatheed to welcome him. A fleet of boats put out from Griz Nez bearing spectators.
    -Arrived at Cape Griz Nez at 10:30AM
    -had covered nearly 40 miles swimming
    -estimated Burgess covered 35 miles


    -Returned to South Yorkshire a hero was given a reception at Rotherham
    -Gave a swimming demonstration at Rotherham baths
    -was presented with a gold watch and a silver tray
    -Later the same day visited Sheffield for second civic reception


    -Jabez Wolffe made 20 attempts,
    -Jabez Wolffe his best effort in 1908 coming within a half mile of the french coast
    -Jabez Wolffe in 1911 made an attempt to cross France-England got within a mile
    -Montague Holbein tried 7 times to cross he arrived within a mile of Dover after swimming 22 hours 21 minutes giving up because of exhaustion.
    -Annette Kellerman a native born australian called the world's greatest woman swimmer made several attempts without success.
    -Proposed swimming match of 30 miles, between Jabbez Wolffe and Burgess. There is a difference of opinion between the two swimmers on where to have the match. Burgess wants the contest to be settled in the Mediterranean or some other place where the water is warmer than around the British Isles. Wolffe wants the contest to come off on the open sea.
    -TW trained Lillian Harrison Argentinian 1924
    -TW trained Ishaq Helmi the Egyptian swimmer 1926
    -Ederle hired Burgess to replace Wolffe as her coach. Burgess was one of 5 swimmers to have swum the channel. Burgess who knew the geography of the channel and how the tides could change suddenly, tried to guide her to a calmer route. "Slow down!" He called to her. At one point her left leg grew numb and she had trouble kicking . Burgess urged her to give up. "Come out! Come out!" he shouted at her
    -Unsuccesful attempt August 1905, Annette Kellerman, TW Burgess already had 3 attempts, Horace Mew. three of them made a start under favourable conditions. After covering 6 miles Kellerman was overcome by sea-sickness. Mew gave in after 7 hours. Montague Holbein also made an attempt.
    -Burgess gets a great deal of credit here for his coaching. He believed that miss Ederle last year went too far down toward Boulogne before the next tide took her north. This mistake was not repeated this time, for she kept well to the course set out and managed, fortunately to reach the english coast of the third tide. Ederle returned almost immediately to the tug and was wrapped in trainer Burgess's coat, the only clothing she had besides her swimming costume. Burgess said twice during the swim he wanted her to get out --the first time at noon and the second time at 6 oclock.


    -postcard received in Britain, states Burgess is in Stalag 142- german prison camp at Besancon France
    -In June 1941 he was eported to have been imprisoned by the Germans in stalag 142 near Besancon, but was released later in the sme year.
    -November 29th 1941: Mr. Thomas William Burgess, the Rotherham born channel swimmer , who was head of a wheel tyre business in Paris, was reported to have been released from a German rison camp in France.
    -Mr. Thomas William Burgess, the Rotherham-born Channel swimmer, who was the head of a very successful wheel tyre business in Paris, which he started in 1897, is reported to have been released from a German prison camp in France. The Channel was first swum in 1871 by Capt. webb, and the feat was not accomplished by any other swimmer untill forty years afterwards, when Mr. Burgess showed how it could be done. The two sons of the latter, both born in France, served throughout the last war, one of them in the York and Lancaster Regiment.

  10. Questions to answer: Where is the gold watch Silver Plate awarded to him?