That this team can do anything, even play hockey, is understood," wrote "Our Hockey Correspondent" in a British newspaper, "...for are they not Americans, [i.e.] a bunch of crazy, mixed-up kids." This team is the Privateers of Greenwich, Conn., who bill themselves as America's First International Field Hockey Team, and what prompted Our Correspondent's remarks is that when the Privateers, on a three-week tour endorsed by the People-to-People Sports Committee, arrived in Folkestone for the Easter Hockey Festival, they swaggered to Town Hall "dressed like the Pirates of Penzance" (above) preceding a Dixieland band and proceeded to win their first game. A scheme to land by boat was foiled by an uncooperative tide, however.
Arriving by more conventional means and in orthodox costume, the Privateers also played in Holland, Egypt, Italy, France and Bermuda and, although they won but two matches out of 14, most of them were decided, surprisingly, by but a single goal. "Success," said Captain John Rote at the conclusion of the tour, "is no longer a matter of doubt but only a matter of time."
Privateers Gerd Heidinger, Ronnie Osborne, Frank Thomson, Ron Halstead, John Rote, Jack Kelly and Horst Kersten pose at Town Hall with Folkestone (England) Mayor D. H. Brown. After promising to behave like Christians, not to take unto themselves any women slaves and to depart in a peaceful manner, Privateers were permitted to play in hockey festival.
Stars and stripes, surrounded by Irish and French flags, waves over Folkestone hockey grounds. The tournament attracted 45 teams from England and Continent, and Privateers.
May 3, 1959
Lunging attempt for a score by Privateer Captain John Rote was futile, as United Services of Portsmouth, an armed forces team, won 1-0 at Folkestone's 53rd hockey tournament.