Islington Corinthians World Tour 1937-38

It was a Boys Own Billy Bunter world trip to end all world trips  – so of its time, it is hard to think of anything comparable. The sunset days of Empire, although no body knew it, let alone them. All amateurs. The trip was financed from the crowds attracted as they went on.

They played and won throughout India Malaya & Singapore and chits were signed for at grand luncheons, teas & dances in front of Maharajahs & Viceroys. They dodged bullets at the Khyber Pass. They played in Indo-China Shanghai & Hong Kong where they encountered some “local difficulties” with the occupying Japanese. They even played [and lost] a game in Japan itself! They travelled through Manila & Philippine beaches onto Hawaii and then Hollywood where they met up with a variety of movie stars. Then a trip along the Rockies into Canada and more games won.

It must have been a bit of a drab sight as they returned to Tilbury after the better part of a year away.

Johnny Sherwood is worthy of a special mention. He scored a bucket full of goals throughout the World Tour but suffered a war experience as bad as it gets for survivors. He flew into Singapore as a soldier just as the British surrendered becoming part of the devilish slave labour force building the River Kwai railway line. Remarkably he reckoned he came across one of the players from the Kanto Japanese team he had played against in 1938 but this time instead of the graciousness & respect of an opponent he was met with the brutality and abuse of a guard.  Eventually, as the war ran away from them, the Japanese forcibly transported POW`s back to Japan in cattle class ships which had to dodge terrifying allied submarine attacks. He was in a POW camp in Nagasaki when the Americans dropped the bomb!

He survived it all and here`s to him. RIP Johnny.

As for the Corinthians, they made a short trip to Iceland in 1939, but then the War intervened and the club disappeared from view.