On 8 November, HTBS posted an entry about the Italian oarsman Francesco ‘Checchin’ Pittaluga (on the right), who in October celebrated his 100th birthday. ‘Checchin’ is the last surviving of the oarsmen who competed at the Berlin Games in 1936 – his coxless four took a fourth place. He took a silver medal at the 1938 European Championships in the coxless four in Milan. One source that I found also claimed that he rowed in the coxed four that took a bronze at the 1937 European Championships which were held at Bosbaan, Amsterdam. I have had a hard time establishing if this was true as old result lists normally only have the names of the winners.
Then the other day I received an interesting e-mail from Johan ten Berg, a Dutch rowing historian, who has come to HTBS's help several times before. In his e-mail Johan wrote that he had published the above photograph of the Italian eight, who became European champions in 1937, in the Dutch rowing magazine Roeien. In a Dutch newspaper (see below), Johan had found that ‘Checchin’ had been called in from Italy to row in the bow seat in the coxed four when the original bow man, Milan Bussani, had had an accident after a training outing on Bosbaan, crushing his middle finger. The Italian crew crossed the finish line as the third boat, claiming the bronze medal – on the top of the page in the newspaper from 16 August, 1937, is a picture from the coxed fours race, showing ‘Checchin’ in the bow seat.
Many thanks to Johan for sharing the information about the 1937 European Championships in Amsterdam.