About sixteen miles north of the City of London, Ontario stands what in the 1800s was known as Biddulph Township. On January 1, 1999 it was amalgamated with the village of Lucan to become Lucan Biddulph an incorporated township on the northern edge of Middlesex County. The settlement of Biddulph dates back to about the year 1830, and formed part of what was known as the Huron Tract owned by the Canada Company, and was largely settled by Irish immigrants, among them the Donnelly’s and the Garrett’s.
On August 3, 1865 a son named, Alexander Noble Garrett, was born to Mark Garrett and Elizabeth (Johnston) Garrett on the homestead, lot 11, South Boundry, in Biddulph. A.N. Garrett, or Garry, as he came to be known, was one of the finest athletes of his day. J.P. Fitzgerald, sports editor of the Toronto Evening Telegram wrote of him, just before he died in 1941. “Sportsmen of a few years back will regret to hear of the serious illness of A.N. Garrett. The veteran is one of the very few all-round athletes left from other days. One of the cleverest second baseman and a natural left-hand hitter, he was also in his day and time an excellent cricketer, a rugby player and a soccer goalkeeper, good enough to make the Canadian team to tour Britain. A big man well over six feet with broad shoulders, he looked the athlete he was.”
In 1884 Garry had left Biddulph behind to attend the University of Toronto, and take an arts course, and it was while he was attending Varsity that he was selected to join the Canadian soccer team that toured Britain in the fall of 1888. He played in every game of the 23 played on the tour, shutting out Hearts, Sunderland and Newton Heath, known today as Manchester United. He was also a member of the Canadian team that toured Britain in 1891, but only played a part of the lengthy tour. He left college before graduation to take a job in the sports department of the Toronto World, one of seven Toronto daily papers of the day. However, his presence on the Toronto sports scene did not end there, his two sons Dudley Mark and Beverley Noble, carrying on the tradition.
Dudley, in particular was an outstanding Canadian rugby player and starred for Toronto Argonauts as a kicker, while Dudley’s son, also named Dudley, emerged in the early 1940s as a very promising hockey player with the Maple Leafs and New York Rangers. But tragically he lost his life at sea, while serving in the Royal Canadian Navy, when HMCS Shawinigan was sunk in the Cabot Straight in 1944.
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