Regular boxing matches were held in a large marquee on the pit heap in Jarrow in the 1920s and 1930s, by fairground owners that resided there – my father used to reminisce about it many a time.
We lived across the landing in High Street flats in the 60s from the old boxer Peter Cain (known as Petie Caine). He was a real old man then.
His granddaughter, Noreen, told me Petie had been captured by the Russians late WW1 when the Russians wiped out the Tzar and his family in 1918 and became neutral.
He used to box with Russians in the prison camp for extra rations.
His son young, also Petie Cain, a welder (another hard man) drowned while swimming from the North Shields Ferry landing to Jarrow. He used to do it regularly after finishing work at Smiths Docks - often for a wager. But this particular day in the 60s the tide was exceptionally strong and it caught him and he drowned.
Remember it well....
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