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A Memory Shared by Mike Remington on the Passing of John Izod

John Izod was my contact in Canada supplied by a member, Jules Greatrix, of the Wanstead RFC in Essex. Just contact John Izod and you will be in for a great time, I was told. Sure enough John invited me down to the club “house” on Woodlawn Ave and I never looked back. I moved in with John and Bill Harper and Roy Jones and a couple of other Nomads after destroying my health living with Bruce Smith, a crazy Nomad if ever there was one. That was out of the frying pan into the fire as the parties John ran were legendary. So much so, we had a visit from Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks. John’s fame was far and wide. He could charm the neighbours into passive resistance in spite of the many escapades that went on at Woodlawn. We were never raided while John ran the place.

Ever the raconteur his famous telling of the American WW2 fighter pilot who lands on a Japanese aircraft carrier by mistake was guaranteed to bring the house down.

Eventually John moved out of Woodlawn on the pretext of getting married. I believe he had a son, Max. He still remained active with the Nomads and Ontario rugby and as far as I can recall he managed a pub in downtown Toronto where rugby people tended to gravitate for some good times.

John moved back to the UK and a curious last connection with me was when I was on holiday there doing a barge cruise somewhere near the Malvern Hills I stopped the barge by a pub next to the canal, as you do in the UK, for breakfast. There was a fellow hanging paintings on the pub walls for sale. I recognised the signature—John Izod. Seems this fellow was John’s agent and John was quite prolific with his paintings.

I am sure Brian Williams and Bill Harper will have a lot more stories to share—sounds like an excuse for a wake if ever there was one. John Izod was a character larger than life and along with the Rev Freddie Miller helped get rugby on its feet in Ontario.

Thanks for letting me know,

Mike Remington