I'd like to be able to identify the flagbearer. The British Olympic Association's Official Report of the VIIIth Olympiad, compiled by F G L Fairlie, does not say, but from other photographs in that publication it would seem that two of the bobsleigh team are leading Team GB. I think that is Lieutenant W G Horton with the banner, and Lieutenant A D Crabbe with the flag, but confirmation is required.
Although the event was not called the ‘Olympic Winter Games’ at the time, it was organised under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee, and included many of the ceremonial aspects of the Olympic Games. In the parade on January 25, the teams were headed for the main ice arena, the Stade du Mont Blanc, where Camille Mandrillon took the Olympic Oath on behalf of the athletes, see here.
As I write this I'm looking forward to watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Games in Sochi. I imagine these will be quite different than ninety years ago! Read more about the first opening ceremony here, and watch a short video of the parade here. Spot the GB curlers walking past!
I have previously written in detail about the1924 curling competition, see here, this being won by a British team, four Scots - Willie Jackson (skip), Robin Welsh (3rd), Tom Murray (2nd) and Laurence Jackson (lead). The curling rink was to the side of the of the main arena, see below.
This is a similar photo to that in the Spaarnestad collection in the Netherlands National Archives (here) which is dated January 27, the day before the first official match.
I do not believe that this was one of the medal matches. If the date of the photo in the Netherlands National Archives is correct, I thought it must be a practice session. The first official match of the curling competition was held on the morning of Monday, January 28, 1924. Sweden beat France, 18-10. The following day, Tuesday, January 29, 1924, Great Britain played Sweden and won 38-7. On Wednesday, January 30, 1924, GB played France, winning 46-4. And that was the competition over.
I speculated before, see here, that there could have been friendly games, after the main matches. Now there is evidence that the curling rink was put to good use before the main games took place.
When the draw for the curling competition was made, a Swiss team was expected to take part, and the first games were to take place on Saturday, January 26. But the Swiss withdrew. A new draw was made and the competition proper began on the Monday, January 28. That meant that there were two free days between the opening parade and the first medal game. Ture Odlund indicates that in these days the Swedes and the Scots played three 'friendly' games, and the Swedes played a further two games against France! The teams would have got to know each other well before the medal games took place.
There's just another puzzle in this photo. The scoreboard at the back seems to read France 4 Britain 39. It doesn't apply to the game being played, but could, perhaps, be a left over from the medal game on the morning of Tuesday, January 29, when GB beat France 46-4, with the last end or two still to be added. If this is indeed the case, then these games are being played after the medal matches have all been completed. And that would make sense.
It would not be until 1988 that women curlers stepped on to Olympic ice officially, when curling was a demonstration sport in Calgary. No GB team though. See who played then, here.
There's one other image which I've come across recently.
The insert words, bottom right, can be translated as, "The player has just launched his stone too slow and those in his team sweep the ice in front of the stone to extend its slide." Several players in the cartoon can be easily identified. That's certainly Sweden's skip, Johan Petter Ahlen, calling the shot in the head. But it is two of the British squad (identifiable by their plus-fours) that are doing the sweeping. I would guess that's supposed to be Tom Murray on the right, and either Robin Welsh or John McLeod on the left. I suppose that the illustrator has used artistic license in his composition intended to describe an aspect of the game, but it would be nice to think that the Swedes and the Brits did mix up their teams for a friendly game at some point in Chamonix all these years ago!
Thanks to Lars Ingels for help with this article. The top photo is from a scrapbook now in the care of Tom Murray's great grandaughter. The origins of the other images are as indicated.