James Pollard, Nicholas Pollard, S. Kent Carnie, North
American Falconers Association
With his good friends Stephen Frank and Roger Upton,
this threesome has long been recognized as leading the
revitalization of game hawking in the U.K. following
World War II. Geoffrey’s long-term (since 1965) honorary
membership in NAFA recognized the fact that he also played
a significant role in the development of the sport in North
America —inspiration! Geoffrey was, from the early 1960’s,
an icon to those who were trying to see falconry on this
continent go from a having to a hunting sport. Here was a
falconer actually doing what those in this country wished to
emulate; not only doing it but doing it to perfection.
In Geoffrey Pollard we found the consummate falconer, a
man much admired, emulated, even envied by his peers.
Though he had an interest in guns and, in university, in
boxing, anything outside falconry was peripheral for him.
First trained as a barrister and later as a successful solicitor,
his legal career was simply a means to an end—to enable him
to hawk at a standard that he felt appropriate: the best!
A “hard-core long-winger, a term that brought chuckles
when I used it to describe him at his funeral, even that
Americanism hardly does justice to his commitment to the
sport. He had spent almost twenty seasons -- every season
-- devoted solely to pursuit of red grouse by the time I first
carried his cadge in 1967. And he continued to so spend
every season since. He prized passage peregrines obtained
post-season from the Middle East, flying first over setters and
then, when he could no longer find his beloved Humphrey
Laverack Llewellins, English pointers on the moors of
northern Scotland. Early on I came to believe that with his
single-minded commitment, should he break a leg while
one of his dogs was on point, he would fly the point before
worrying about the leg. I never saw him break a leg but,
bitten by an adder on the moor, his reaction was as I had
suspected. An ambulance was awaiting him at the end of the
tarmac, after he flew the point.
At his memorial service, I surprised some, describing
Geoffrey as only half the falconer we all considered him.
Surprised that is until we consider the whole Pollard team.
It is doubtful if Geoffrey could ever have achieved all that he
did in our sport without the constant support and assistance
of his wife Diana (who predeceased Geoffrey by 10 months)
and of their two sons Nicholas and James. Diana spent their
honeymoon at a French falconers meeting and by the time I
met them, she and the boys had never had another “holiday”
(vacation) except carrying a cadge or on the end of the leash
of a setter, pointer, or pair of flushing spaniels. That pattern
continued throughout all their lives together. Diana served
us lunch in the mews everyday, spent all afternoon totally
engaged in the sport on the hill, then hurried home and while
we had a beer or cider putting up the hawks, cooked delicious
suppers, closed to the gratitude of all with her famed LMP
(lemon meringue pie).
I like to remember Geoffrey as when we flew the last eight
days of the 1969 season. With five peregrines on the cadge,
in those eight days the team killed forty red grouse. Geoffrey
-- with Diana -- set a new mark: not just with significant bags
but in the level of passion and dedication -- a total devotion
-- shown to our sport. With his passing, British falconry,
American falconry, and indeed all the world’s falconry, lost a
Renowned British falconer Geoffrey Pollard passed away at his home, “Endlands,” outside London on the
morning of Sunday, 15 October, 2006.
Consummate falconer, admired, emulated and an inspiration for the signicant
role in developing the sport in North America, Geoffrey is missed by all.
From the early 1960’s Geoffrey lead
the revitalization of game hawking in
the U.K. along with friends Stephen
Frank and Roger Upton.