When the British Colleges of Physical Education were established many years ago for training teachers of Physical Education each adopted its own emblem by which it became recognised. Even when these colleges have now become part of larger institutions they have maintained the emblems, for example:
- Loughborough University - the Olympic torch bearer
- Leeds Metropolitan University - the Discobolus
- Brunel University - the Javelin thrower
In those early years, Cardiff Teacher Training College Physical Education (now Cardiff Met) staff thought long and hard about a suitable emblem, and delved far back in time for inspiration . . .
In the 15th Century, in the middle period of the Hundred Years War, Henry V gathered around him an army with which to invade France. Reputedly fine archers, the call came for the ordinary Welsh man to take up his arms and join Henry. As soon as they were commanded, these ordinary men, with their elder sons had to go. Taking only their bows and a little food they walked out of their homes leaving their loved ones behind and marched to the various points of embarkation. These men, most of whom had never left Wales before, found themselves marching through France. They were part of a dirty, tired and hungry army that marched hundreds of miles across France in search of the final victory that Henry V needed, and they marched much further than they had intended.
The French opposition sent out an enormous force between 20,000 to 30,000 to cut off the British. The resplendent and glittering army finally caught up with Henry V’s 5000 exhausted men in October 1415 at AGINCOURT. The French had an enormous superiority in numbers.
Preliminary attacks by the French cavalry were repelled by Henry’s bowmen; and when the main French assaults were launched by armoured men across a sodden field, the lightly equipped and more mobile archers engaged their flanks with swords and axes and cut their assailants down. Three hours of battle ended in disaster for the French. The Constable himself, 12 other members of the highest nobility, some 1,500 knights and about 4,500 men-at-arms were killed on the French side, whereas the losses of Henry V’s army were estimated to be fewer than 450.
The early members of the Physical Education staff of the Cardiff Training College (now Cardiff Met) did not have to look far for an emblem that would embody the skill, courage and hwyl which thereafter was to become synonymous with the sporting deeds of its students: they chose ‘The Welsh Bowman’.
Prepared by Sean Power, Former Director: UWIC Academy of Athletics and Head of the School of Sport