Rear Admiral Sir John Fleming Royal Navy Signed Sportsmen Hawks Club University of Cambridge Antique Menu 1925
Fine antique autograph of Rear Admiral Sir John Fleming (1904-1994), signed on a Menu for Hawks Club, founded in 1872, a private members club for the best sportsmen of Cambridge University, also signed on the back by other members of the prestigious club, dated 4th February 1925.
Fleming was a member of Eisenhower's meteorological team whose forecasts were crucial to the success of the D-Day Landings in June 1944. After gaining his degree from Cambridge he enlisted in the Royal Navy as an Instructor Lieutenant in 1926. He joined the Naval Meteorological Service in 1940, however his duties involved more than just weather forecasts as the Fleet Met Officer on HMS Duke of York, which provided the raw information on which Admiral Fraser based his decisions during the Battle of the North Cape.
The Hawks' Club was formed in 1872 when a proposal to allow members of other colleges into the St John's College Eagles club was rejected. This led to the Hawks' being set up as an equivalent club university-wide. In its early history it was primarily a cricket club, but by the turn of the century other sports were well represented.
As is common with student-run organisations, records are patchy in places and old lists of presidents and members have long been lost. The record is better for the period 1889–1963, as during this time a picture of each year's president was added to a display in the clubhouse, and these have survived to the present day. During the 1950s a number of subsequently notable sportsmen were presidents, and several are listed below.
It is not known whether a Blue was originally a prerequisite for membership; some early presidents do not appear to have competed against Oxford in any sport. However, the personal 'suitability' of candidates for membership does not appear to have changed since the Club was founded. The Club website states that "Candidates have to be clubbable" (i.e. "clubbable" in the sense of a traditional gentlemen's club) and "the Hawks' Club remains unashamedly elite", claiming to include only "the top one per cent" of University sportsmen.
Size: 18 x 11.5 cm approx