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Sad News - Dave Hammond

posted 4 Mar 2019, 04:33 by Andy Langman
Dave Hammond 1938 – 2019

Dave, as he was known to us Harwell old-boys of the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s, sadly died on 29th January 2019. Dave was married to his wife Joyce for nearly 60 years, and they had two children Simon & Julie. They now have children of their own and Dave & Joyce were devoted grandparents.

I met Dave for the first time in 1974 when he was Captain of Harwell 3rd XV. This was to be the first game of rugby I ever played and, as instructed, I turned up on the touchline in case the 3rd’s were short (they often were by the way!) Just before KO Dave was asked if he had a full team, his response in broad Yorkshire was, ‘Have I bloody hell as like’. 

Dave was immensely strong and had very broad shoulders in both senses of the word. He was happy at any position in the forwards, but often found himself at prop. His playing days were ended somewhat prematurely (compared to Dad Arnold that is!) through recurring knee problems, but he devoted his undeniable talents to the club committee of which he was chairman for several years in the 70’s & 80’s

Dave was a frequent tourer with the rugby club; he rarely took to the pitch but was just ‘one of the lads’ and played his part in tours of Amsterdam, Jersey & Guernsey in mid 80’s and Portugal in 1989.

In Guernsey he was instrumental in enticing Simon Henderson to ‘pee’ over a bus as a dare after one of our games - the opposition were duly impressed!  The notorious tour to Portugal followed, where (unusually) we had a hotel with a pool.  On arrival most of the lads took to the pool but Dave as reluctant to join in, as it was a wee bit chilly, so we threw him in anyway – wallet and all. Portugal was a notorious tour, our 1st game was against Coimbra and as they had no referee and Dave was volunteered for the job, the result was 4-4, a perfect example of international sportsmanship. Unfortunately, our 2nd game saw us pitted against their national squad and lost 139 – 0, the less said about that the better!

1998 saw the formation of WAGGS, a social golf society for a select band of mostly retired rugby players from Harwell RUFC. Dave was a founder member along with the likes of Dad Arnold, Steve Wright & Nick Millett. WAGGS toured once a year usually to somewhere warm in Europe, either Spain or Portugal. Dave was extremely keen on his golf but his ability was, how can I put it kindly, variable to say the least. He would often have us in stiches of laughter having played a bad shot which was swiftly followed up with some choice words of ‘Yorkshire’. But having said this he did manage to win the trophy one year, the fact of which he never failed to remind us! Dave continued to tour with the WAGSS even after having moved to Taunton - I think his last tour was about 2015? Oh, by the way, WAGGS stands for Wrinkly Aging Gentlemen’s Golf Society! It started out as WOGGS with ‘O’ for Old, but political correctness demanded we make a slight name change.

David Hammond was a great friend and a true gentleman and would always be there for his mates. Dave will be sadly missed by all those who knew him well, of which there were many. Rest in peace mate.

Paul Browning - Harwell RUFC & WAGGS