The Love of a Brother;From Plaistow to Passchendaele

West Ham United were incorporated as a company in 1900 and here is a 1901 picture of the inaugral Board. "Dad" JWY (Jimmy) Cearns is front row far right. He had previously been on the inaugral committee when in 1895 The Thames Ironworks formed a works football team.

And what happened to those that were left after Fred died in 1917? Eldest brother James had by 1899 married Ellen Elizabeth Paynter who added another West Ham United connection as she was the sister of Charlie Paynter who for 50 years from 1900 was player, trainer and then from 1933 to 1950 manager. They continued the family tradition and had 12 children. One was named Frederick Percy.  

    Brother Will (WJC) by 1924 had joined his father on the Board of West Ham United and between 1946 and 1956 brother Frank was Secretary at the club.

WHUFC club photo for 1924/25 season.
Fred and Percy's brother Will (WJC) is second row from back, third from left and to his left with beard is "Dad" JWY (Jimmy) Cearns.
Second row far right in suit is Charlie Paynter, then trainer.

WHUFC club photo for season 1949/50 shows in the front row Will in centre, now as Chairman, and far left Frank, then as Secretary. Second from right of front row is Leonard Cearns, son of Will, who had become a director in 1948, and next to him is manager Charlie Paynter.

Len Cearns was later joined on the Hammers' Board by his brothers Will F Cearns in 1959 and Brian in 1962. Len was Chairman of the club from 1979 until 1990 when he was succeeded by his son Martin, who in 1978 had become the fourth generation of the Cearns family to serve as a Director. Martin held the Chairmanship from 1990-92 and remained a director until the sale of the club in 2006.