James McNabb, whose distinguished rowing career began at Eton and continued at Trinity College, Cambridge, made his first appearance at Henley in 1920 as a member of the Eton Crew that reached the semi-finals of the Ladies’ Plate. In 1922 he won the Stewards’ with Eton Vikings and the Visitors’ with Third Trinity and, the following year, he again won the Visitors’, this time with Third Trinity, and rowed for Eton Vikings in the Grand. His finest year was probably 1924. He began as a member of the Cambridge crew that scored an upset victory over Oxford in the Boat Race, at Henley he won the Goblets partnering Maxwell Eley and the Stewards’ with Third Trinity and finished the year on a winning note when the Third Trinity crew won the coxless fours at the 1924 Olympic Games.
McNabb was qualified accountant and served the cause of charitable housing for many years. In 1972 he was awarded the OBE for his work with the Peabody Trust. He was the Chief of Clan McNabb but later relinquished his claim to his uncle although the remained president of the Clan Society. He also gave invaluable serve to the sport of rowing. He was honorary treasure at the Amateur Rowing Association for 20 years, honorary secretary and treasurer of Leander and a steward at Henley. He coached the winning Cambridge crew from 1931 to 1933 and, following an interruption for the war when he commanded a regiment in the Royal Artillery in Burma, coached the Oxford crew from 1949 to 1951, making him one of the few people to have coached both Universities.
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