Hong Kong born wicket-keeper and right hand batsman Colin McIver was an amateur sportsman who played 134 first class cricket matches principally for Oxford University and Essex. As a footballer, he represented The Corinthians and won an England Amateur international cap.
Educated at Forest School, Woodford in Essex until July 1901 he was a member of the Cricket XI from 1897 to 1901 being Captain from 1899 to 1901. He topped the batting averages in 1900, with an average of 31. The Forest School magazine wrote the following on his 1900 season: – “Is a really good bat, playing very correct cricket all round the wicket, with a splendid stroke off his legs. Has kept wicket well and captained the side with excellent judgment.”
In the 1901 season he scored 1,003 runs for the school at an average of 100.3, a school record. The school magazine wrote of his 1901 season: – “A really first-class bat, with beautiful strokes all round the wicket. A fair bowler and wicket-keeper. Has made an excellent captain; his place will be most hard to fill.” He was a member of the Football XI from 1897 to 1901 where he played at centre half. The school magazine wrote of his season: – “Has a good command of the ball, shoots well, and combines well with Guy; should make a “class” player.”
He went on to Hertford College Oxford in September 1901 and went on The Casuals Football Tour at Christmas 1901. He represented the University at cricket and received a Blue in the summer of 1903, when he scored 60 against Cambridge, and received a Blue for Football in 1903-04. Meantime he made his debut for Essex in 1902 and would play for them until 1934. He was a member of Ashtead Cricket Club from 1908 and would bring a strong side to play the village team each year for the Groundsman’s Benefit match.
On the 1st of November 1906 he represented England Amateurs against France in Paris at football playing at full back, his only cap, and played regularly for The Corinthians, with whom he toured South Africa with in 1903. He also played in an England trial match in January 1906 for the Amateurs of the South, and played County football for Essex.
In 1913 he represented Essex at cricket and set a County record for the first wicket of 210-1, making 118 against Northamptonshire and 115 against Hampshire before the First World War’s outbreak. He also represented the M.C.C.. He was a director of the Universities and Public Schools Athletic Club in 1911.
On the outbreak of The First World War he enlisted at Dukes Road, Euston Road on the 2nd of September 1914 as Private 2077 in the 28th (County of London) Battalion (Artists Rifles). At a medical examination, which was held on the same day, it was recorded that he was five feet ten inches tall and that he had a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. He applied for a commission in the 4th Battalion Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment on the 12th of January 1915 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2/4th Battalion on the 9th of February 1915.
He sailed with his battalion from Devonport on the 17th of July 1915 on board HMT “Ulysses” and disembarked at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on the 9th of August 1915 between 2.30 am and 5.30am. At 6.40am they received urgent orders to advance towards the position known as Chocolate Hill. As they advanced to the south east of the salt lake they came under shell fire and suffered a number of casualties. When they arrived at the base of Chocolate Hill they were moved forward in support of the rest of the brigade but came under fire from their own artillery and fell back. They went forward again but one again they had to withdraw due to British artillery fire and the scrub being on fire. During this abortive attack, Colin McIver was wounded but, in spite of his wounds and of the burning scrub all around he carried his severely wounded servant, Private Fuller, on his back to the dressing station. He was admitted to 35 Field Ambulance suffering from gunshot wounds to the right leg and was evacuated to Mudros where he was admitted to 16 Stationary Hospital on the 11th of August. He was transferred to 24 Casualty Clearing Station on the 13th of August and was discharged to duty from their Convalescence Department on the 30th of August 1915; he rejoined his battalion the following day.
Having been promoted to the rank of Captain he was transferred to Egypt but caught dysentry, and was relieved of his service for several months while he recovered. A Medical Board was convened at Caxton Hall on the 27th of September 1915 to consider his case: –
“Following 5 months served in Gallipoli and nine months in Egypt this officer contracted dysentery. He is still suffering acute diarrhoea and is in need of rest and treatment. Unfit three months.” On the 24th of April 1917 he was passed as fit for home service by a Medical Board which sat at the Horton (County of London) War Hospital, Epsom and was posted to the 4th Battalion of his regiment at Tunbridge Wells. After a long recovery he was passed as fit for general service at a Medical Board which took place at Tunbridge Wells on the 14th of June 1917.
He later transferred to the Royal Air Force, joining No. 1 School of Aeronautics at Reading on the 26th of June 1918. He was passed as fit to fly on the 25th of September 1918 and re-joined No. 1 School of Aeronautics the same day where he was placed on light duties. He returned to the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment when he joined the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion at Sittingbourne on the 5th of February 1919. He was demobilised at the Officer’s Dispersal Unit, London on the 28th of March 1919.
In a first class career stretching from 1902 to 1934 he scored 4,651 first class runs at an average of 22.25, scoring 5 centuries and having a highest score of 134. As a wicket-keeper he made 122 dismissals, taking 98 catches and making 24 stumpings.
NB This photograph was taken on 8th January 1906 before an Amateurs v Professionals England trial match played at Craven Cottage, Fulham, which the Professionals XI won 1-0.
Amateurs (white shirts): Back Row – PH Farnfield, JG Witherington, CD McIver, HA Nulton
Middle Row – SH Day, Vivian Woodward, Herbert Smith, SS Harris (captain)
Front Row – EGD Wright, TS Rowlandson, GC Vassall
Professionals (striped shirts): Back Row – Jimmy Ashcroft, Joe Walton, Archie Cross, Peter Chambers
Middle Row – Walter Bull, Fred Blackburn, Riley, Fred Threlfall
Front Row – Arthur “Pat” Collins, Tim Coleman, Fred Harrison