Lancaster nostalgia: footballer Bill Tyson

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Bill Tyson was born at 29 River Street, Lancaster on January 9 1910 and was an excellent footballer, playing for top teams in the 1920s and 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 19, Bill received a postcard from Lancaster Town secretary Fred Willoughby, saying he had been selected to play for the reserves against Blackburn Rovers A team in the West Lancashire League at the Giant Axe on January 4 1930.

From 1928-29 for five seasons Bill made 21 appearances for the reserves and a single appearance for the first team in a 5-1 defeat 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.

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 photograph.

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 an outstanding team and 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 First Division title by two points from Bill’s former club Williamsons. Galgate also reached the final of the Senior Challenge Cup, but lost 3-1 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 life at risk to save another, a true footballing hero.

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