The History of the Octavians Athletic Club

Donald Burr ( octavians1962@gmail.com) is researching the history of the Club from its beginning in 1962 to its ‘Last Supper’ in 1971. This is the first instalment which covers the setting up of the Club in the Spring of 1962 through to the end of the 1964 season. The succeeding instalments will be for 1965 and 1966, 1967 and 1968 and finally 1969 and 1970. When the Club disbanded the members joined other clubs. Donald would appreciate any further information and comment. He has made contact with Robin Morris and Hugh Stevenson who enjoyed athletics well into their middle age and beyond. Donald himself ran in a few Veteran races until he was 50 and continued trail running until 68. Adrian Weatherhead ran to a very high standard in the Veteran class. Donald would like to hear from others that continued to run long after their Octavian days.

Donald has gleaned his information from www.scotstats.net/archive regarding The Rankings, The Athletes and The Championships and from The Glasgow Herald Archives which can be found on Google News Archives -news.google.co.uk/newspapers

The Inaugural meeting was held in the Royal Scots Club in Abercrombie Place in March or April 1962.Donald Burr went along as the Stewarts College
FP Athletic Club’s Secretary. Gordon Ellis represented Melville College FP, George Sinclair for Heriots and John McDonald for Watsonians.

Who represented Trinity, Boroughmuir, Royal High and Edinburgh Academy?   John McDonald had recently bought himself out the Army.  He had been to Sandhurst and was now working at the Outfitters, Kinloch Anderson at 16 George Street. John was a Shot Putter and it is he who suggested the name Octavians.

There was considerable talent in the FP clubs, but was thinly spread. Looking at the Scotstats from 1959 through to 1961, the following names from the above mentioned schools give a good picture of how a Barbarian type athletic club could do well in Edinburgh and Scottish Athletics.

Edinburgh Academy

Royal High
Peter Bell 1960 100y 10.2 16th

Alex B Burns 1959 880y 1m59.6 30th; 1959 1m 4m23.6 25th; 1960 880y 1m56.9 16th

Frank Dick 1960 100yy 10.2 10th; 220y 22.6 12th; 440y 51.2 23rd; 1961 220y 23.1 27th
CR SAAA 1961 2nd 440H

Watsonians

John Barnet 1960 100y 10.1 9th

Ian C Grant(20/11/41) 1959 LJ 6.3 23rd; 1960 HJ 1.14 18th;1961 110mH 16.8 13th;Dec 4266 5th;
CR SAAA 1961 3rd LJ

John Macdonald (Army)
1961 SP 14.01m 6th, DT 37.85m 10th

Douglas M McNish
1958 880 1min.56.6 14th; 1959 1mile 4min 21.5 18th; 1960 1mile 4min.17.9 10th.

Alistair J Patrick
1961 100 10.2 20th; 220 22.8 14th

George Thomson
1959 JT 54.24 2nd; 1960 DT 33.72 29th; JT 53.67 7th; Dec 4209 7th; 1961 DT 34.82 29th; JT 50.53 7th; CR SAAA 1959 JT 2nd;

Michael E L Weir(1938)
1959 120H 16.3 8th; 440H 57.1 6th; 1960 120H 16.6 13th; 440H 57.6 8th; 1961 440h 58.3 9th; CR SAAA 1959 3rd 440H;

Stewarts
Donald Burr(03/09/1937) 1960 440 51.3 27th:East District 3rd 440 51.6;other times in 1960 – 440y 51.4,51.6,51.9, ; 220y 23.5 ;1961 East District 440 4th; SAAA heats 52.2:
CR SAAA 1960 5th 440

Sandy Hinshelwood (1942)
1960 100 10.3 27th; 220 23.1 25th

W.Fraser Proven (30/10/42)
1960 HJ 1.7 26th; 1961 120H 15.7 4th;

Gordon B R Shannon(05/08/43)
1961 100 10.2 20th; LJ 6.64 11th;

Thomas E W Tait (07/07/41)
1960 LJ 6.44 26th; 1961 100 10.2 20th; 220 23.0 22nd; 1961 LJ 6.48 16th;

Jack Marwick 880;

Duncan Brown 1m

Melville
Gordon Ellis 1959 LJ 6.50 14th: 1960 100y 10.3 27th; 1961 LJ 6.47 17th;

Heriots
Bob Hay (19/11/38)
1959 220y 22.1 5th;440y 49.1 6th; 440yH 56.0 2nd 1960 100m 11.0 4th; 110mH 16.8 16th; 220y 22.8 16th;440y 49.7 7th; 440yH 54.5 1st; Dec 4920 3rd; 1961 220y 23.0 22nd; 440y 49.2 5th; 440yH 54.9 1st; PV 3.2m 14th; Dec 5088 3rd
CR SAAA 1959 1st 440yH 56.7, 2nd 440y 49.1; 1960 1st 440yH 55.0, 2nd Dec; 1961 1st 440yH 54.9, 2nd 440y 49.2, 3rd Dec.

Hunter Mabon(1939)Field Events and Decathlon. SAAA 1st in Shot Putt 1959 to 1961 and Decathlon in 1960

Eric Tainsh
1959 100 10.1 8th; 220 22.9 19th; 1960 100 10.3 27th; 220 22.9 18th;

Trinity
William M Johnstone
1961 LJ 6.7m/6.74w 9th

John Jones 927/10/34
1959 HJ 1.78m 11th, LJ 6.63m 9th, Dec 4447 3rd: 1960 HJ 1.78m 13th,PV 3.20m 8th, LJ 6.69m 7th, Dec 4879 4th; 1961 100m 11.00 4th, 220y 22.7 12th,HJ 1.82m 12th, PV 3.36m 8th, LJ 6.78m 7th, DT 35.05m 23rd, JT 45.78 27th, Dec 5520 2nd.
CR SAAA 1960 3rd Dec, 1961 2nd LJ, 2nd Dec

Derek Richards
1959 100 10.3 25th

John Turnbull
1959 880 1min 54.9 7th; 1960 440 51.00 17th; 880 1min. 58.00 21st; 1961 880 1min.54.6 8th;

Boroughmuir
Norrie Paterson (29/12/41)
1959 100 10.2 15th; 220 22.3 7th;LJ 6.77 5th; 1960 100 10.1 9th; 220 22.5 9th; HJ 1.7 26th; LJ 6.72 6th; 1961 100 10.1 11th

OCTAVIANS

Our first President was Robbie Robertson, a Stewarts FP who was manager of Lillywhites, the Sports Outfitter at the West End of Princes Street. George Sinclair was appointed Secretary and the other attendees made up the initial committee. The first such committee meeting was held in Gordon Ellis’s CA’s office in Drumsheugh Gardens. George was responsible for arranging fixtures. In 1966 Jim Patrick of Watsonians took over as President and Donald Burr as Secretary.

The information regarding the fixtures and performances of the Club and it’s members has come from going through The Glasgow Herald’s Archive ( which can be found on Google News Archives- news.google.co.uk/newspapers), especially the Monday editions from April to September for the years 1962 to 1971.  Further information is welcomed from  past members  personal records and press cuttings.

On the website at present there is mention of the Jenkins brothers, but Donald’s researches have discovered no mention of them ever having run for Octavians. It also mentioned winning the Evening Dispatch Trophy for the best team at the East District Championships but no record of that could be found.

The Evening Dispatch Results are:
1964 1.Edinburgh Univ. 49 2= ESH and Octavians 29 each
1965 1.ESH 4 firsts, 7 seconds and 2 thirds ; Octavians 4 firsts, 4 seconds and 3 thirds
1966 1.ESH 46 2.Edin.Univ. 41 3. Octavians 39
1967 1.ESH 54 2. Edin.Univ. 44 3.Aberdeen Univ. 4.Octavians 28

The Club competed in the Land O’Burns Trophy at Dam Park, Ayr on 6 occasions:-
11/08/1962 1. Bellahouston 50, 2. ESH 48 3. Octavians 45
08/08/1964 Bob Hay, Tony Hogarth and Fraser Proven were running for Scotland v. Ireland at the same meeting, so Octavians were greatly weakened.
14/08/1965 1. ESH 2. Octavians 48 3. Ayr 45
01/08/1966 1.ESH 70 2.Octavians 62 3. EAC
28/07/1967 1.ESH 2.Octavians 3. Bellahouston
17/05/1969 1. Octavians45 2.ESH 44 3.Ayr 44

The Octavians were medal winners in the SAAA Relays
SAAA 4 x 110 Relay
1965 1. Glasgow Univ. 43.2 2.ESH 43.6 3. Octavians 43.6
1966 1. Garscube 42.6 2. ESH 43.3 3. Octavians 43.4 (14th fastest for the years 1948 -1968) The fastest time was 42.4

SAAA 4 x 440 Relay
1963 1.Glasgow Univ. 3min.19.3 (beat the previous best time by 3 secs) 2.Octavians 3min.19.5 (5th fastest time for the period 1953 – 1968; the fastest time was 3mim.18.6 by Victoria Park in 1968)
1964 1.Glasgow Univ. 3min.19.1 2. Ayr 3. Octavians

SAAA 1 Mile Medley Relay
1963 1.Ayr 3min.38.0 2. Bellahouston 3.Octavians
1966 1.Bellahouston 3min.32.1 2. Octavians 3min.33.4 (12th fastest for period 1919-1968;fastest by Edinburgh Univ in 1957) 3. Springburn 3min.33.7
1968 1.Bellahouston 3min.37.8 2. Bellahouston B 3min.38.4 3. Octavians 3min. 42.9
SAAA 1600metres Medley Relay
1969 1. Victoria Park 3min. 23.7 2. Bellahouston 3min. 24.5 3. Octavians 3min. 27.2
(6th fastest for period 1969-1999)

Numerous members were SAAA champions or medallists or finalists in the Club’s lifetime 1962 to 1970 and some ran for Scotland. The details of the Club and its members performances are detailed below.

THE STORY OF OUR COMPETITIVE YEARS

1962
Wednesday 10th May 1962 EAC v.Octavians

Cold driving rain and gale force wind

Saturday 19th May 1962 Melrose Sports

Medley Relay (880,2×220,440) 3. Octavians

Wednesday 23rd May 1962. Edinburgh University v.ESH and Octavians
440 yds.1.Frank Dick 50.3. 2. J.Turnbull

Saturday 26th  May 1962. East District Championships at Meadowbank

440 1.R L Hay(EU)50.9 2.J.Turnbull(EP)
120yd Hurdles  1.Bellah(HMS Caledonia)2.Leach(Aberdeen) 3.Fraser Proven(O)                                                       440yd Hurdles 1.R L Hay(EU)57.8 2. Mike Weir(O)  3.
High Jump 1.Smith(Dundee) 6ft 2. J.A.Jones(O) 3.
Long Jump 1.McKechnie(ESH) 20’4″ 2.I W Grant(W) 3. J.A.Jones(O)
Pole Vault 1.Earle(ESH)12’6″ 2.Stevenson(EU)3.J A Jones(O)
Shot Putt 1.Bryce(EU) 44’0″ 2. J.D.McDonald(O)  3..
Javelin   1.Hobson(EU) 173’8″ 2.Reid(Dundee) 3. G.Thompson /strong
Junior 120H 1.A Hogarth 14.7

Saturday 9th June 1962.Lockerbie Sports

4 x 300yd Relay 1.Octavians (T.Tait, J.Marwick, S.Laird and D.Burr)

Saturday  25th June 1962     S.A.A.A.   Championships at Meadowbank
120yd Hurdles 1.Bellah(RN)15.2 2.McLeod(AU)16.3 3.Fraser Proven(O) 16.4
Shot Putt 1.Sutherland(GU)46’1″ 2.J.D.McDonald(O)45’2″3.McPherson(Pit) 44’11”

Saturday 11th August 1962 Land O’Burns at Ayr
Gale force wind and flooded track.
1. Bellahouston 50 2.ESH 48 3.Octavians 45
440 Hurdles A 1. Frank Dick 57.7
440 yds 1. 2. 3. 5.D.Burr(O)
880 yds 1.Davidson(Ayr) 1m56.6 2.Ballantyne(ESH) 3. Frank Dick (o)
4 x 110 relay 1.Octavians 44.3 2.VP 3.Ayr

1963

Wednesday 15th May 1963 Edinburgh University B v. Octavians
220 yds 1. 2. 3.D.J.Burr 24.0
440 yds 1.D.J.Burr 52.9

Wednesday 22nd May 1963 Edinburgh University v. Octavians
440 yds 1. T.Tait 50.5 2. D J Burr 52.2

Saturday 25th May 1963. East District Championships
220yds 1.Togher ESH 22.3 2. T.Tait
440yds 1. T.Tait 49.7 2.R.L.Hay
120yds Hurdles 1.Bellah(RN) 15.9 2. W.F.Proven
PV 1. D.Stevenson 13ft 1″(record) 2.J A Jones.

Saturday 10th June 1963 SAAA Decathlon at Redford

1. J.A.Jones 5347 points
2. I.C.Grant 4739 points
It was reported that John Jones had had little time to train because of cartiledge trouble

Saturday 15th June 1963  S.A.A.A. 4 x 440yds Relay Championship at Goldenacre
Heat 1. Octavians
Final 1. Glasgow University 3min.19.3 (New Scottish Native Record) 2.Octavians 3min 19.5
Previous record 3min.22.3. Octavians time was the 5th fastest for the 4 x 440 by the time the metric 4 x 400 came in 1969. The fastest time and record was Victoria Park in 1968 with 3min.18.6,followed by Edinburgh Southern in the same year with 3min.18.8, 3rd Glasgow Univ. 3min.19.1 in 1963 and 3min.19.3 in 1964 . Octavians team were – 1st leg John Turnbull in 49.9 in the lead
2nd leg Donald Burr in 50.9 to maintain lead
3rd leg Tommy Tait in 49.1 to increase lead to 20yds
last leg Bob Hay in 49.6 who was overtaken by Ming Campbell(47.5) in the last 20 yards to lose by 0.2 secs

Also at Goldenacre that day a future member of the Club, A L Heath of Edinburgh Academy won the Scottish Schools Pole Vault with a height of 10ft.

Saturday 22nd June 1963 SAAA Championships at Meadowbank
440 1. 2. 3.T.Tait 50.1

440 Hurdles 1. R.L.Hay 55.5

Wednesday 5th July 1963 SAAA v.Atalanta
Tommy Tait ran for SAAA in the 220 and 440 and was a member of the 4 x 440 relay team who won in a time of 3min 20.8

Saturday 3rd August 1963 Bridge of Allan Games

Pole Vault 1. J A Jones 13’3 1/2
1 Mile Medley Relay 1. Octavians 3min 43.7
Team 880 J. Turnbull. 220 A.Patrick and M.Bathgate. 440 T.Tait

Saturday 10th August 1963 Home Scots v Anglo Scots at Scotstoun

Tommy Tait 2nd in 51.4 in 440
Fraser Proven 2nd in the 120 Hurdles in 15.3

Saturday 17th August 1963 Edinburgh Highland games at Murrayfield
A.J.Patrick ran a leg of the 4×110 relay for the Scotland team

Saturday 9th September 1963 Shotts Highland Games
SAAA 1 mile Medley Relay 1.Ayr 2. Bellahouston 3.Octavians
HJ (h/cp) 2. J A Jones

1964
Saturday 2nd May 1964. Aberdeen Univ. v. EdinburghUniv.& Octavians  at Aberdeen

440yds 1. T.Tait 51.7
120Yds Hurdles 1. W F Proven 15.7
440yds Hurdles 1.R L Hay 58.5
HJ 1. J A Jones 5ft 8″
Edinburgh Univ. 79, Aberdeen Univ. 70, Octavians 33

Saturday 16th May 1964 St. Andrews Univ. v. Bellahouston v. Octavians

440yds 1. T.Tait 50.6
880yds 1. J Turnbull 1min.57.1
120yds Hurdles 1. A Hogarth 15.3
440yds Hurdles 1. 57.0
HJ 1. J A Jones 5ft 6″
LJ 1. I C Grant 21ft 1 1/4″
TJ 1. I C Grant 45ft 2″
PV 1. J A Jones 11ft
SP 1. W.Noble 41ft 5″
Bellahouston 102 St.Andrews 99 ; Bellahouston 106 Octavians 80;
and St.Andrews 94 Octavians 92.

Saturday 23rd May 1964. League- Octavians v Shettleston v Victoria Park at Redford
100yds 1. A Patrick 10.0
220yds  1.   22.2  2. A Patrick
440yds 1. T Tait 51.1 2. D J Burr
880yds 1. I McPherson (VP) 1min 55.2 by 6yds from 2.J Turnbull(O)
120Yds Hurdles 1.A Hogarth 15.7 2.W F Proven
440yds Hurdles 1.A Hogarth 57.4 2. R L Hay
LJ 1. I Grant 21ft 1 1/2″
TJ 1. I Grant 42ft 8 1/2″
Discus 1.D Lyle 127ft 2 1/2″
PV 1. 10ft 6″ 2 I Grant
4 x 110 Relay 1. Octavians 44.6 2. Victoria Park
4 x 440 Relay 1. Octavians 3min 32.1 (Turnbull, Burr, Hay and Tait)
Octavians 97 Victoria Park 88; Shettleston 100 Octavians 91; Shettleston 99 Victoria Park 99.

Saturday 30th May 1964 East District Championships at Meadowbank
dispatch trophy 1. Edinburgh Univ. 47 2= ESH and Octavians 29
440yds 1. T Tait 50.9
880yds 1.J C Douglas(ESH) 1min.54.8 2.J Turnbull
120yds Hurdles 1. A Hogarth 2. W F Proven
LJ 1. 2. 3. J A Jones
PV 1.D.Stevenson(EU) 14ft 2. J A Jones

Saturday 6th June 1964 Octavians v Edinburgh AC at Redford

Octavians 78 EAC 58

Saturday 20h June 1964. SAAA 4 x 440 Relay Championship at Babcock and Wilcox Sports at Moorcroft Park, Renfrew.
1. Glasgow Univ. 3min 19.1(0.2 inside last year’s record performance) 2. Ayr Seaforth – 5 yards behind and 3rd Octavians

Saturday 27th June 1964 SAAA Championships at Meadowbank

120yds Hurdles 1.Brown(GU) 15.6 2. W.F.Proven 15.7
440yds Hurdles 1.A.Hogarth 54.9 2. R L Hay 55.3
LJ 1. I C Grant 23ft 0 1/4″

Saturday 11th July 1964 Octavians v Pitreavie at Redford
In cold and blustery conditions Octavians won by 82 points
100yds 1. M Bathgate
220yds 1. M.Bathgate 23.6 2.T Tait
440yds 1. T Tait 52.2 2. I Grant
880yds 1. J Turnbull 2mins
1 mile 1. (P) 4min 45.5 2. 3 D F K Brown
3 miles 1. 2. D F K Brown
HJ 1. H Stevenson 5ft 6″ 2.
LJ 1. 19ft9″ 2. 3. (O)
TJ 1. I C Grant 40ft9″
Jav 1. A L Heath 172ft
PV 1. J A Jones 12ft 5″

Saturday 18th July 1964 An Edinburgh Select team composed of members of Octavians, Edinburgh Southern Harriers and Edinburgh University beat a Scandanavian team Nykoping and Malmo Sports Clubs by 106 points to 74 at Craiglockhart.

100yds 1. M Bathgate
220yds 1.M Bathgate 22.6 (personal best)
440yds 1. T E W Tait 49.6 (personal best)
440yds Hurdles 1. R L Hay 56.3
LJ 1. I C Grant 22ft 9 1/2″

Saturday 1st August 1964 Bridge of Allan Games
100yds h/cap 1. M Bathgate off 2 in 10.7 and 2nd S Laird off 4 1/2

Saturday 8th August 1964. Land O’Burns at Dam Park,Ayr
100yds 1. B Murdoch(BellaH)10.5 2. M Bathgate(O)
220yds 1. Duff (Ayr) 23.0 2. A Patrick (O)
440yds 1. T Tait (O) 50.5
4 x 110 Relay 1.Octavians 44.2 ( Tait, Stevenson, Laird and Bathgate) 2.Bellahouston

At the same meeting was a Scotland v Ireland match in which the following Octavians competed
120yds Hurdles 1.G Brown 15.2 2 W F Proven
440yds Hurdles 1.R L Hay 55.4 2. A Hogarth

Saturday 15th August 1964 Edinburgh Highland Games and Edinburgh v Munich at Murrayfield
440yds 1. R Billson 49.5 2. T Tait

In the second half of the Club’s history (1965 to 1970) we will see David Stevenson joining the Club in 1967 and compete regularly in the Pole Vault . New ,young and very talented athletes joined the Club like Adrian Weatherhead, Alan Heath, Stewart Seale, Ian McCallum, Bill Noble, Hugh Stevenson, Peter Burgess, Robin Morris, Len Penman, Gordon Rule and Hugh Stevenson. We hope that they can provide more information about their athletics career when Donald Burr completes his research in the next few of months. It will also be of interest to know if our members continued well into the Veteran Years of over 40.. Adrian’s achievements are well documented; even George Sinclair’s coaching years and Hugh Stevenson long years in club administration are told by Brian McAusland in his website www.anentscottishrunning.com
One of the items to come is the controversial win at Ayr in 1969 when we beat ESH and Ayr by one point. The photo of the winning team is already on the website in = Galleries – Team Photos – Land O’Burns.