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DAN MASKELL CBE
Dan Maskell was born in London in 1908 and left school at the age of 15 in 1923. He began a lifelong career in tennis in that year when he became a full-time ball boy at Queen's Club. Within six months he had become a 'junior professional', a system of apprenticeship for those who wished to become qualified tennis coaches. His extraordinary ability at tennis led to his winning the British Open Lawn Tennis Professional Cup in 1927 and the following year he won his first British Professional Championship. Maskell won this title sixteen times between 1928 and 1951. In 1929 Maskell was appointed the first teaching professional at The All England Tennis Club at Wimbledon, where he remained, apart from a gap for war service, until 1951. In 1933 he became coach to the British lawn tennis team which included Fred Perry and which won the Davis Cup that year. Maskell remained the coach of the British team until the early 1950s.
Soon after the outbreak of the Second World War Dan Maskell joined the Royal Air Force and was appointed its first and only Rehabilitation Officer with the task of restoring wounded air crew to health and, if possible, returning them to active service. The Medical Rehabilitation Unit (MRU) was located in the RAF hospital which had been set up in the Palace Hotel, Torquay. After the Palace Hotel was bombed in 1942 the MRU was moved to Loughborough. It was based at Loughborough College where it had the use of Hazlerigg and Rutland Halls and nearby residences in Ashby Road. The MRU opened its work at Loughborough on 1 December 1942 and remained there until the end of the war, by which time it had passed through over 10,000 men fit to return to active service. Dan Maskell reached the rank of Squadron Leader and for his services to the RAF and the MRU he was awarded the OBE in 1945.
Dan Maskell continued playing and coaching tennis after the war and again coached the British Davis Cup team from 1949 to 1952. In 1949, however, he embarked on a new career when he was appointed a tennis radio summariser by the BBC. Two years later he became a BBC television commentator, a post he was to hold for forty years and which made him famous around the world as "The Voice of Wimbledon". During this period, from 1955 to 1973, he was also training manager of the Lawn Tennis Association. Among many honours bestowed on Dan Maskell were Life Membership of the All England Tennis Club, Wimbledon, in 1956; the award of the CBE for services to tennis in 1982; and the award by Loughborough University of Technology of the honorary degree of Master of Arts for outstanding public achievement. Dan Maskell died on 10 December 1992.