In late April 1911, the Monmouthshire Evening Post reported on a charity game held at Rodney Parade. A “Married” team was turned out in a variety of shirts owned by the side’s skipper, Charlie Pritchard. A fixture in the fearsome Newport side for the first decade of the twentieth century, Charlie was a core forward in the Welsh pre-First World War “Golden Age” side. Most famously, he was many pundits’ choice as “Man of the Match” on that famous day in December 1905 when Wales beat the All Blacks. He is sat in the centre of the shot, the ball resting on his bandaged knee, his gentle gaze fixed on the camera. He is proudly wearing an All Black shirt. On his left is another Newport legend, George Boots, who is wearing an Anglo-Welsh touring shirt from 1908. Two to his right is Jehoida Hodges, sporting a Springbok shirt from their very first tour in 1906. There are also shirts from Australia (again, the Wallabies’ first ever tour in 1908), each of the Home nations, an Ulster shirt and from club sides such as Cardiff and Watsonians. To see Charlie’s collection of shirts is to see a potted history of the growth of the game.
Across this blog and other social media channels, the World Rugby Museum has commemorated every international rugby player to fall during the First World War. Today is the final entry in the ‘Lest We Forget’ series. With thanks to all those who have contributed articles over the past 4 years.
Photo Credit: Welsh Rugby Union
By the end of October 1918, Fred Perrett had been on active service on the Western Front for three years and, having already been twice wounded, he may well have felt that he had done his bit. For three months now, the German army had been on the retreat and rumours of a ceasefire were spreading. Tragically, however, only a week before the Armistice was signed, Fred was to be caught up in the last major British offensive of the war, the Battle of the Sambre. Continue reading
Sydney Coopper was secretary of the RFU from 1924 to 1947. In 1916 his ship was sunk during the nighttime exchanges during the Battle of Jutland. Coopper survived. This is the story of what happened that night on board HMS Sparrowhawk…
Having had the worst of the daytime exchanges British Admiral John Jellicoe ordered his fleet to spread out in the hope of cutting off the attempted retreat of the German High Seas Fleet. As the sun slipped over the horizon it would be the smaller craft and destroyer flotillas that continued the battle at close range throughout the night. Continue reading
Reginald Oscar Schwarz, who was born in Lee in South London, is perhaps better known as a South African test cricketer than as an England rugby international. His father Robert was a merchant who had been born in Germany, but had become a naturalized British citizen, and his mother Florence came from an industrial background in north-east England. As well as Reginald, they had a son Robert, and a daughter Elsa.
Photo from “Great War – London”
‘Brave Blossoms: the History of Rugby in Japan’ is produced in partnership with ‘England Rugby Travel’ and ‘Kanto District Transport Bureau’.
As the rugby world turns towards the land of the rising sun in anticipation of Asia’s first Rugby World Cup, the World Rugby Museum is delighted to present its new special exhibition ‘Brave Blossoms: the History of Rugby in Japan’.
Featuring new research and objects drawn from around the world, this special exhibition tells the story of how Japan transitioned from the late Edo to early Meiji period and the role that rugby union played in establishing educational and diplomatic links, initially between Japan and Great Britain and then the wider sporting world.
Graphic Magazine, 1874
Throughout the First World War rugby players from all nations and of all levels distinguished themselves by their bravery and conduct. In 1915 the British War Office produced a poster imploring other sports to following the ‘glorious example’ of rugby players by ‘doing their duty’ and enlisting with the armed forces. But that was just the start of the story. Continue reading
Alexander James (Jimmy) Ridland died at Le Quesnoy in France on 5th November 1918 during the final week of the First World War. A rifleman in the 1st Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, he was the last of the 13 All Blacks who lost their lives in the war.
Jimmy Ridland was born on 3rd March 1882 in Invercargill, the son of immigrants from the Shetland Islands. He earned his living as a blacksmith and played his early rugby as a forward for the local Invercargill Star Club. He went on to play for his provincial district Southland in 22 matches between 1907 and 1913, matches which included Southland’s fixture against the touring Anglo-Welsh team in June 1908 (a defeat by 14 points to 8) and their 13-8 victory over the visiting Australian side in September 1913. While not a fashionable province in rugby terms, Southland nevertheless produced nine All Blacks before the First World War including the great half back JW (Billy) Stead, vice-captain of the 1905-06 tour to Britain and France and captain of the All Blacks in four of his seven tests. Continue reading