The False Death Report ... Before the Real One

Pamela Barton was, in the 1930s, the winner of the British Ladies Amateur twice, the U.S. Women's Amateur and French Ladies Amateur once each. Enid Wilson was the winner of three consecutive British Ladies Amateurs. When World War II broke out, both women signed up to serve in their country's defense. They joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force.

And in 1943, rumors reached American golf circles that Barton had been killed and Wilson had lost an eye in air raids. The October 1943 issue of the American magazine Golfdom (still published today as the trade magazine of golf course superintendents) corrected the record:

So, good news! Neither was hurt. Wilson's competitive career was over — she had retired after completing her trifecta in the mid-1930s. But Barton was only 26 years old in 1943. She conceivably had some years as one of the world's best women golfers left.

Unfortunately, the next time reports of Barton's death during wartime reached America, they proved true. Just one month after Golfdom corrected the earlier, incorrect reports, Barton was in fact killed during her service. Her Wikipedia entry explains: "On 13 November 1943, 26-year-old Barton was killed in an air crash at RAF Detling when a de Havilland Tiger Moth in which she was a passenger hit a fuel bowser on take-off in bad weather. She was buried with military honours at the Margate Cemetery in Margate, Kent."

You can read more about Pam Barton here.

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