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Jonathan Saunders

Footballers died

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I have long been thinking about this but yesterday's tv doc on Facism and Football has reminded me. Does anyone have a definitive list or any sort of list of professional footballers that died/kia during service in WW1?

I know several projects have been done on cricketers and feel sure someone would have compiled a footballers/sportsmen list.

Can anyone help?

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In this article, "Celtic Football Club and the Great War"," Robert Hoskins mentions the following who died in the war and who all played for Celtic. Patrick Slavin, Leigh Roose, Donnie McLeod, Archie McMillan, Robert Craig, John McLaughlin and Peter Johnstone.

And in this article, "Third Lanark Rifle Volunteers Football Club" Ian Livingstone refers to J. Y. Turnbull, VC, and John Ferguson.

Scottish players who died seem very well represented on the web. This Website gives details of players from the Hearts of Midlothian FC who died in the war.

Not every footballer by any means, but I hope it's a start.

Tom

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How about Lt Donald "Donny" Bell, VC of the Green Howards....

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How about Lt Donald "Donny" Bell, VC of the Green Howards....

Yes of course, and there was also Walter Tull, who has already been mentioned on the forum.

Tom

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...and Sandy Turnbull of Manchester United...

Dave.

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The impressive clock Memorial at Haymarket, Edinburgh is dedicated to the Heart of Midlothian players. I read somewhere that only four played again, not necessarily for Hearts.

There must have been similar groups for Manchester, Chelsea, Arsenal etc, but Hearts were the only first team to enlist en bloc as a unit. Lochnagar Crater had a wreath from Hearts among the many laying there this July.

Aye

Malcolm

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CWGC has a little about footballers on its sportsmen and sportswomen information sheet.

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I'm actually right in the middle of researching James Hay, who survived the war after serving in France with RGA. He played for Ayr, Celtic, Newcastle and got 11 caps for Scotland prior to the war.

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There must have been similar groups for Manchester, Chelsea, Arsenal etc,

As far as I know, Turnbull (surprisingly)was the only Manchester United (I don't know about Manchester C**y) player to have died in the war (1917), although several others never played again.

Dave.

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What has always surprised me is that the FA cup was still played in 1915 - or were professional players exempt from joining up at this stage?

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I'll not rise to Croonaert's bait, here.

But will offer John "Cobbler" Hodgkinson who played semi-pro for Stockport County, Grimsby and Nelson.

KIA on 5/6/15 whilst serving with 1/5th East Lancs and remembered on the Cheadle war memorial.

John (Blue Moon) Hartley

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Thanks PALS, please keep the names coming.

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It is odd that it is always Walter Tull who is mentioned in connection with Northampton Town FC - indeed when they unveiled a memorial a year or two ago it was to Tull alone, conveniently and disrespectfully ignoring other figures from the club's history. Tull played far more games for Tottenham Hotspur than Northampton.

It says something about the glamour of other people such as poets and pilots (eg Mannock with Wellingborough links and commemoration) that another local hero and Northampton Town player, Lt. Col Bernard Vann, VC (and various other decorations, MIDs and something like 14 wounds) also of Wellingborough remains without proper commemoration in his home town. Vann was killed during the last 100 days. He had enlisted as a private in 1914 and made a prominent surge up the ranks during the war.

A campaign is getting underway to try and ensure he is appropriately recognised in his home town.

Martin

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Strange co-incidence.

The Edinburgh Evening News tonight has an article.

A Hearts Felt Memorial

A fundraising lunch at Tynecastle on Sunday, November 16th, will help establish a memorial to the Hearts players, among the first to answer the call to arms, who served at the Somme. Seven died there. It's planned to erect it near the First World War battlefield.

Guest speakers at the lunch will be Bob Crampsey, John Gaughan, Willie Lyall and Jack Alexander who has written a book on the Royal Scots involved in the battle. Tickets from Shelley at 0131 200 7299

Must locate Alexander's book.

Aye

Malcolm

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Teapots

I don't think footballers were exempt.

In the Manchester United museum (my son dragged me there!) they have/had a wall on which every player who has been in the team since the year dot is listed. When it comes to the WW1 period there is a note saying that they no longer have a record of all the players as they were found weekly on an 'ad hoc' basis from all over the place - the 'professionals' all being away in the forces (or words to that effect).

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What has always surprised me is that the FA cup was still played in 1915 - or were professional players exempt from joining up at this stage?

Teapots - What you need to remember is that both the league season & the FA Cup commenced August/September 1914 when it was still very much a case of 'business as usual'. I suppose that the footballing powers that be decided it was better to finish the league & cup fixtures rather than cancel them part way thru the season which is why football continued until May 1915. I think that the 1915 FA Cup final was nicknamed 'The Kharki Cup Final' due to the amount of soldiers in the crowd.

Will

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According to my copy of 'The Aston Villa Story' by Ian Johnson, the FA Cup and Football League were officially suspended 'for the duration' in August 1915. The Villa, who had been one of the dominant pre-war teams, had a bad 1914-15 season, being knocked out in the second round of the cup by Man City (bet that cheered you up John) and finishing 13th in the League. Although many Villans served in the war, they seem to have got off lightly. The book records only Arthur Hobson and Tommy Barber as among the dead. Tommy Barber, a powerful wing-half, is I believe the Private in 2/4th Ox and Bucks killed on 16th August 1917 whose name is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial. I have so far not been able to identify the correct Arthur Hobson from 11 possibles on the CWGC and SDGW databases. Further research is required. With most of the experienced players returning safely from the war, there were apparently high hopes that the glory days would continue. Admission prices at Villa Park went up from a tanner to a shilling! The club had a record sixth FA Cup triumph in 1920.

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Mark is quite right about the suspension of the Football League in 1915. The "Kahki" cup final in 1915 took place between Chelsea and Sheffield United, Sheffield winning 3-0.

Professional footballers were not exempt military service. I would be interested to know however, about a story that West Bromwich Albion had formed a company of infantry along with some of its supporters. Truth of myth?

Terry Reeves

(Long suffering Coventry City FC supporter}

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Tommy Fiske played in the 'Khaki' Cup Final of 1915:

'On 9th January 1915 Tommy kept goal for Forest in their Cup Final match against his old team Norwich, but Forest lost 1-4. He returned to the Front in 1916 and was wounded. He spent a recovery period in a Southampton hospital before rejoining the 1st Norfolk Regiment with the British Expeditionary Force in France. On 20th September 1917 he was posted to 8th Battalion and promoted to Sergeant.'

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I can see a very long research project forming here, altough I should finish the current one first. It will mean hours spent at the PRO/NA or thumbing* through contemporary local newspapers. Such is life!!

* more like sitting in front of fische

Thanks to all who have responded.

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According to my copy of 'The Aston Villa Story' by Ian Johnson

Mark

A mate of mine from work is a relative of Sam Hardy, who he says played for Villa and then joined the RN during WW1. We looked him up at the PRO and found that he was possibly a Steward. Is there anything in your book about him ?

Michael

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Michael-Goalkeeper Sam Hardy did indeed serve in the Royal Navy. He played 183 games for Villa and was in the FA Cup winning teams of 1913 and 1920. I have a fuller bio of him if you want.

The mystery of Tommy Barber, who headed the winning goal against Sunderland in the 1913 Cup Final continues. Although 2 Villa histories record that he died in the war, a more recent one 'Villa Park Encyclopaedia' by Dean Hayes maintains that he survived service in the 'Footballers' Battalion' only to die of TB in Nuneaton in 1925 aged 39. What was the Footballers' Battalion?

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There were two (and this is not including the Sportsmen's Battalion)...

17th (Service) Battalion (1st Football), the Middlesex Regiment

Formed in London on 12 December 1914, by Rt-Hon. W. Joynson Hicks, MP. July 1915 : attached to 100th Brigade, 33rd Division. 8 December 1915 : transferred to 6th Brigade, 2nd Division. 10 February 1918 : disbanded in Belgium.

23rd (Service) Battalion (2nd Football), the Middlesex Regiment

Formed in London on 29 June 1915, by Rt-Hon. W. Joynson Hicks, MP. November 1915 : attached to 123rd Brigade, 41st Division.

And how about this one...

14th (Service) Battalion (Swansea), the Welsh Regiment.

Formed at Swansea, October 1914, by the Mayor and Corporation and the Swansea Football and Cricket Club. November 1914 : attached to 129th Brigade, 43rd Division. 28 April 1915 : formation became the 114th Brigade, 38th Division.

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Chris-I'll try to find out which one Barber served in. Michael-I have unearthed a photo of Sam Hardy which I shall post anon.

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