Bill Tyson: “Footballing Hero”

Bill Tyson was born at 29 River Street, Lancaster on January 9th 1910 and was an excellent footballer playing for top teams in the 1920s & 30s like Dry Dock United, Williamsons and the all-conquering Galgate side of 1935-36.  His twin brother Bob also played in the North Lancs League and was certainly at Galgate with Bill in season 1935-36.

At the age of nineteen Bill received a postcard from Lancaster Town secretary, Fred Willoughby, saying he had been selected to play for the Reserves against Blackburn Rovers “A” in the West Lancashire League on the Giant Axe on January 4th 1930.

From 1928-29 for five seasons Bill made 21 appearances for the Reserves and a single appearance for the First team in a losing debut, 1-5, against Fleetwood at Highbury.  During that time he was playing for Dry Dock United in the North Lancs League and it wasn’t unusual for the “Dockers” to stand in and represent Lancaster Town Reserves in fixtures.  From 1933-34 Bill would be found playing for Williamsons where he was a joiner.

Number 4 St George’s Quay in 2015
where the Tyson family lived over 8 decades ago

Postcard advising Bill of his selection for the
Reserves against Blackburn Rovers “A”

Sometime after 1929 and prior to 1933 Bill became an instant hero as reported in the Lancaster Guardian, “Mr William Tyson of 4 St George’s Quay, Lancaster, former centre half for Dry Dock United, who has at times assisted Lancaster Town, was the central figure in a dramatic rescue from the River Lune, near Carlisle Bridge, on Monday night.  Tyson had been bathing in the River Lune with some friends and had just dressed and was walking away when he heard some people on St George’s Quay shouting that there was a child drowning.  Walking along the bank, Tyson and his friends noticed bubbles rising to the surface of the river at a point where there is a deep gully.  Tyson walked into the water but found it impossible to reach the child, and fully clothed, he dived into the river and swam to the child who was already on the bottom of the gully struggling.  Tyson secured hold of the child but his struggles compelled the rescuer to go under.  Tyson, however, succeeded in gaining the river bank with his burden, and the child - a boy of between eight and nine years of age- who was not wearing clothes and had apparently got into difficulties whilst bathing, was handed over to people who successfully resorted to artificial respiration.  Tyson went home to change and when he returned to the spot was told that the child had gone home without giving his name or address.”

We will never know who that child was.

From 1933-34 for two seasons Bill would be found playing for Williamsons as can be seen from the photographs.

Williamsons 1933-34 with the Senior Challenge Cup in front of the cricket pavilion on Lune Road

Three Williamsons’ teams in 1933-34 pictured on Lune Road

Bill’s next port of call was to be the village of Galgate and to play for the “Silkboys” who had also welcomed back into the fold Joe Myerscough who had played for Galgate prior to WWI before going on to play for Manchester United.

Galgate were certainly an outstanding team as they won the Parkinson Cup by defeating Williamsons 1-0 on the Giant Axe in front of 1,034 spectators, the Infirmary Senior Cup by defeating Cellulose 1-0 and clinched the Division I title by two points from Bill’s former club Williamsons. Galgate also reached the final of the Senior Challenge Cup but lost 1-3 to Standfast Dyers & Printers on the Giant Axe following a 1-1 draw at the same venue.  They would reach the final of this competition for the next three seasons and lose them all.

Not only was Bill Tyson an outstanding footballer of his time he was prepared to put his own life at risk to save another, a true footballing hero.

Galgate 1935-36 with three trophies

Front Row: Walter Wilson, centre, was the captain with Joe Myerscough 3rd from the right

Back Row: Bill Tyson 3rd from the right & twin brother Bob 2nd from the right

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