Rugby Union’s tribute to the fallen

Last week, while in France for the Rugby World Cup, the England team made a journey to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Thiepval in France.  In the presence of the full squad of players, the captain and head coach laid a poppy wreath at the memorial.

Read more from The Times

Like other sportsmen, rugby players were among the casualties of the World Wars and the UKNIWM has records of a number of club memorials as well as those at the Rugby Union headquarters at Twickenham, one of which records 27 England internationals from the First World War, and 14 from the Second.

According to the report of the Thiepval ceremony in The Times, 185 international players from the eight leading rugby playing nations lost their lives in the two World Wars.

One of the most notable memorials to a rugby player is that to the England international Lt Col Edgar Mobbs, DSO in Northampton.  It features the bronze statue of a robed female figure representing the goddess of fame.

Northampton also has a memorial to Walter Tull, a footballer with Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town. He was the first Black Briton to be given a commission in the British Army in a combat role.


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