Would you imagine that a woman playing hockey for England could cause a diplomatic incident? This is one of the stories that I researched in the Archives & Research Collections at the University of Bath Library where many of the All England Women's Hockey Association (AEWHA) records are stored.
Angela Tuckett (1906-1994) went to Clifton High School and we know that she was playing hockey in 1922. She went on to play club hockey for Weston, St Cross, Bath and Lansdowne, county hockey for Gloucester, territorial hockey for the West and gained 11 caps for England playing in 1931-1932 and 1935. She usually played right wing and she scored 3 goals for her country. She was "a brilliant player with a mind and methods of her own", wrote Marjorie Pollard, the editor of "Women's Hockey" magazine.
Angela became the first woman solicitor in Bristol, qualified as a pilot, was a member of the Communist party and had many other talents, which made her stand out among other women hockey players of her time.
The diplomatic incident is referred to in a book by Rosie McGregor entitled "Angela Remembered" and took place on 14th April 1935 when England were playing Germany in Berlin - a warm up, it seems, for the Olympic Games to be held in Germany the following year. The book reveals the life of a talented lady, ahead of her time, against the social and political conditions then prevailing, when hockey players such as Mary Mildred Knott, Marjorie Pollard, Phyllis Burness and Ruth Maddox were in their prime. Angela, as a member of the 1935 England team, did not return the Nazi salute when required. She was later harassed by reporters and complaints were made at the highest level about her behaviour. She was reprimanded and was never selected to play for England again.
The AEWHA records at the University of Bath include Annual General Meeting minutes and scrapbooks of other players who were on the 1935 tour. The AEWHA written report on the visit of the English team to 'the Continent', given by the captain Miss Knott, was accompanied by an asterisk. One can only assume that the asterisk meant that a verbal report was also given as there is no trace of what was said. It seems that Angela had not followed the tour instructions to abide by certain criteria of behaviour and this was used to discipline her. There was no mention in any of the individual tour records about this incident, but her England career was over.
I wonder what Angela made of it with her legal brain.
Angela Remembered: The Life of Angela Gradwell Tuckett, Rosie MacGregor, 2015.
Collection of loose material including press cuttings and associated memorabilia relating to the visit of the AEWHA touring team to Holland and Germany, April 1935 (AEWHA/D/1/39b)