Born 15th Nov 1886 in St Pancras, London, Carl Joseph Barrett Buchheim was the son of Max Theodore Buchheim, a self-made restaurateur who arrived in Britain from Germany sometime before 1881 when he was working as a waiter in London. His wife and Carl’s mother, Eleanor, was from Bristol, and they married there in 1885.
Originally founded as a choir school for Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow High School was the oldest school in Scotland, and perhaps contrary to assumption, was selective on an ability basis rather than financial, as it was funded by the local authority. The school population was therefore derived from pupils of mixed backgrounds, but all intelligent and driven to succeed. This successful formula turned out numerous politicians, businessmen and academics in the pre-war period.
Carl went on to Glasgow University to study Medicine, where he also played for the University 1st XV – another prestigious team that had formed in 1869 – seven years earlier than Saracens RFC. The University team has fielded 13 internationals in its time, as well as being one of the eight founding members of the Scottish Rugby Union. CJB registered as a qualified doctor on 2nd Aug 1909 in Glasgow, with the same Hill Street address listed.
Not long after this, Carl travelled south to London and joined Saracens. He played in the first XV at a position known then as a ‘Three-quarter back’, to be found between the ‘half-backs’ (now known as fly half & scrum half) and the full back – what we would refer to as a wing or a centre today. After playing in the March 7th 1914 match against the 2nd Life Guards, and scoring the third highest tally of tries across the season, he was singled out in the Club’s History as part of the best side of 1913/1914, despite only playing a few games – presumably the practice of medicine did not lead to a large amount of spare time for extra-curricular pursuits!
CJB Buchheim signed up for war service near the beginning of the war in 1914, and was to make an interesting choice about his background, which we will address next time as we continue to tell our very own Saracens Doctor’s story.