Jack Pilbrow


As you know one of our members is Graham Pilbrow.  Graham has achieved a great deal at our Club and in external Competitions.  This, however, is about his Dad, Jack.


Jack started bowling as a provisional member at the Muswell Hill Bowling Club (Founded in 1901), Middlesex as a 16 year old in 1932.  He became a full member in 1934. When Jack started bowling his father, Walter, bought him a brand new set of Thomas Taylor Lignum bowls.  He bowled with the same set all his career.


His record at Muswell Hill is as follows:


Winner Hastings Open Pairs 1934 Winner Club Singles Championship 1934 & 1935, Runner Up 1938

Winner Club Handicap Singles 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937 & 1938     Winner Pairs 1936, Runner Up 1937

Winner Paddington Open Pairs ‘Morning Post Cup’ 1935 & 1938

Semi Finalist Paddington Open Pairs 1935  Middlesex ‘Middleton Cup’ player 1935, 1936, 1937 & 1938

Runner Up in Hastings Open Rink Tournament 1936    Winner Middlesex County Singles 1937

Semi Finalist E B A Singles 1937    Runner Up Hastings Open Singles 1938

Winner Hastings Open Triples 1937    Winner Club Jubilee Cup Singles 1937


England International 1938/39 (at age 23 – the youngest player to represent England)

Jack also played in the International Series in 1939, when his promising England career was interrupted by World War Two.


London & Southern Counties Bowling Association (Founded 1895)


Winner – Gold Badge 1938  (to be competed for by one representative, preferably the Club Champion, from each affiliated Club every year).


Indoor – Paddington I B C


Winner Paddington Indoor Club Championship 1936 & 1937, Runner Up 1938

Winner Paddington Indoor Handicap Singles 1938

Runner Up Paddington Indoor Pairs Championship 1936

Winner Paddington Indoor Open Rink Tournament  1937, Runner Up 1936

Member of the Paddington team runners up ‘Penny’ Cup for E B A (Indoor Section) Club Championship 1937


Jack played at West Harrow B C in the early 1960’s & played in the Middleton Cup.


Jack moved to Epsom Bowling Club 1975.  He won the Men’s Handicap Singles in 1981 & was Runner Up in the Men’s Singles Championship in 1984.  He was also Runner Up in the Men’s Triples in 1980.

In 1980 Jack was elected Club Secretary.  He remained in office until 1995.


In 1980 Jack won the Surrey County Bowling Association Secretaries Trophy at the age of 76.


On the 4th March 1986 at a Committee Meeting Jack outlined a Competition aimed at raising Club funds which would involve 12 other Clubs each providing one rink to play against Epsom B C.  This went ahead from 1986 to 1997 when Graham took over.  It became known as ‘The Event’.  (you can view details of this Competition by going to ‘Results’ then ‘The Event’). The Competition was discontinued after the 2012 season.


Sadly Jack died in 1998.


Jack’s wife Bobby was also a member of Epsom Bowling Club and there is a very interesting story involving her.

The article below appeared in the Daily Mail on 19th December 1946. (If you type ‘Rooftop Dakota’ in Google you will see the full report & photographs of the plane on the roof – several links).

The Rooftop Dakota

On 19th December 1946, a Dakota plane crashed onto the roof of a house in Angus Drive, near Northholt Aerodrome in Middlesex...

Over the past 3 weeks, Home Truths has followed the story of the Rooftop Dakota.  First Irene Zigmund, whose house it was, told us of the incredible escape of herself and her 4 month old son David, who was asleep in his cot upstairs when the plane landed on the house.  Next the air hostess, Bobby Pilbrow, and the son of one of the passengers on the plane, John Livingston, got in touch with us, to tell us their bit of the story.


Dakota Sheared off five house tops

One of the most remarkable escape stories in aviation comes from Ruislip (Middlesex) on Thursday December 19th 1946.
This story involved Bobbie Pilbrow (Graham’s mum).

A Glasgow bound Dakota pancaked into a housetop after tearing the roofs off four houses. No one was seriously injured. The crash occurred in a blinding snow storm shortly after the plane took off from Northolt airport.
Rescue crews ran up ladders to cut a hole in the fuselage, and the 5 occupants of the ‘plane (including Bobbie Pilbrow) climbed through the house to walk downstairs to safety.

The following article appeared in the Daily Mail on 20th December 1946

By William Mattinson, Daily Mail Reporter

I met Mr. Joe Levene yesterday as we were both about to alight from a No. 158 bus at Angus-drive, Ruislip, Middlesex, where a Railway Air Services Dakota had crashed on a pair of semi-detached houses. "Plane crash?" echoed Mr. Levene. He looked towards Angus-drive, and together we saw the nightmarish picture of a plane apparently frozen in mid-air, its nose and wings hidden by the housetops.
Suddenly Mr. Levene stopped and muttered to himself: "It's our house". The plane was at rest on the roof of  No. 46, and Mr. Levene ran inside. "It's our new home," he gulped when he came out.  "We're going to get married on Sunday." "My father-in-law phoned me at work and said he'd  been told there was a slight leak in the house. I suppose they wanted to break it to me gently.
"My fiancée, Miss Fay (Libby) Tregor, is out shopping, trying to get a few more blankets now they're off the  dockets. She'll be coming over here." Inside the new utility furniture was smothered in plaster. A new electric fire stood in the front garden. "We were going to Switzerland for our honeymoon  on Monday," said Mr. Levene. "I'd better call it off." When Miss Tregor returned she looked at the wreck and wept. Mrs. Florence Zigmond, of 44, Angus-drive, whose home was also damaged, was out in the road buying
fish when the plane hit the two semi-detached houses obliquely, swung violently round, and pushed the roof
off her house. One wing cut into the tiles 18in. above the small bedroom where David, her four-and-a- half-month-old baby, was sleeping. The windows of the room were not even cracked. Mrs. Zigmond screamed: "Save my baby," and the fish salesman dashed into the house and brought David to safety. The plane, a freighter, taxied across Northolt airfield in the snow at 11.50 a.m. with four crew and one passenger. It failed to rise, skimmed across the railway line, and brushed heavily through a tree-top. The nose dipped, but
Captain W. J. Johnson, the pilot, pulled it up. With 500 gallons of petrol aboard the machine careered across the
fields without gaining sufficient height to clear the houses in Angus-drive.
Onlookers were certain all in her must be killed. Yet all escaped from a crash at 150 miles an hour with slight injuries.


Hope that this article is of interest.