Thomas William Burgess
Thomas William Burgess (15 June 1872 – 2 July 1950) was the second person to successfully complete a swim of the English Channel after Matthew Webb. He performed the feat on 6 September 1911, on his eleventh attempt.
He was born at 7 Lyndhurst Place, Rotherham on 15 June 1872, to Alfred Burgess, a blacksmith, originally from Youlgreave, Derbyshire, and Camilla Anna Peat originally from Harthill, South Yorkshire. In 1926 he trained Gertrude Ederle who in that year became the first woman to swim the English Channel.
Thomas had one sister, Winifred Edith Burgess who was born in Rotherham, May 11, 1875. Thomas's father worked for the Earl of Shrewsbury and accepted the Earl's offer to run a branch of the business in London. The family moved to Westminster, London around 1882. During this time in London, Thomas joined a swimming club and swam to Battersea along the Thames. Around 1889 The Earl offered Thomas the opportunity to set up a French branch of the motor tyre business in Paris, France.
On 8 August 1893 he married Anne Rosalie Mioux, a French woman in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, Paris, France, and lived with her running his motor business in Levallois-Perret, Paris. In the 1920s Thomas bought a summer home at Cap Gris Nez near Calais, as a summer base to train channel swimmers from 1922 to 1934. His main residence was at Clichy, Paris and died at 88 Rue de Villiers, Levallois-Perret, Paris on 2 July 1950.
Thomas had two children, a boy born 1896 and a daughter born in Paris in 1907. It is believed that Thomas's son fought for the British in World War I in the York & Lancaster Regiment. Thomas's maternal uncle was a head teacher at a school in Swinton, South Yorkshire. Thomas's sister married in London and had one daughter Phyllis Camilla Ruegg in 1898. Thomas's niece Phyllis Camilla Ruegg grew up to be the head of an Educational college in London and died at the age of 98 in Camden 1996.
In the 1920s Thomas was hired by Olympian gold medalist and world record holder Gertrude Ederle to train her for her victorious channel swim. In 1941 it was reported by the newspapers that Thomas was taken prisoner by the Nazis and held in a prison camp Stalag 142 in Bascanon, France. He was released later the same year.
- "Thomas William Burgess". Retrieved 2009-08-11. "Born on 15th June, 1872 at Lyndhurst Place, Rotherham, Thomas William Burgess was the son of Alfred Burgess,Journeyman and Blacksmith, born 1851, at Youlgreave, Derbyshire, and Camilla Ann Peat, born 1847 in Harthill. Thomas had a sister, Winifred Edith Burgess (b. 1875)."
- Gallico, Paul (January 19, 1964). "First Queen of Channel Swimmers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-08-12. "The coach who joined the party abroad was none other than that Thomas Burgess who, 15 years before, had been the second to make the Channel crossing ..."
- "Burgess Family". Retrieved 2009-08-11.