London Welsh RFC remember the club men who gave everything in the Great War
Before the 2019 Armistice game between London Welsh and the London Grasshoppers RFC, the teams lined up to pay their respects to the fallen of the Great War, a bugler from the Salvation Army played the last post, club chaplain Paul Hill gave a reading, and club captain Chris Lilly laid a wreath on behalf of the whole LW rugby community.
Armistice day has always been very important to the club as we have sought to honour those brave London Welsh RFC Men who gave their lives in both World Wars.
After the match that day in 2019, long time volunteer and Vice President Nick Smith mentioned to Life Member Terwyn Williams that many London Welsh players had gone to fight in WW1, and a great number did not return, and that we should commision a plaque to commemorate the sacrifice that they made.
This was considered a worthy project, so Pete Lowe and Terwyn Williams started the ball rolling by going through the pre war archives listing all players from the club records, and then through the post war team sheets, cross referencing all names that did and did not feature after the war. This was time consuming and far from straight forward, as many of the players had similar, if not the same, names! Fittingly for a Welsh heritahe club lots of Williams’s and Jones’s etc.
Having agreed upon a final list of names, they decided to enlist some expert help to confirm and verify those that had been an unfortunate casualty of the war, and who came back but did not play again for the club.
With the help of Alan Poole from the Wrexham Archive, Nick Luck from the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum and Alan Radford who crosschecked and confirmed the final list of 23 players who were either killed in the war, or who died after due to wounds sustained in the conflict.
Unfortunately Nick Smith, who’s idea started the project did not live to see its completion, having passed away in 2020, but we are sure he would have been pleased with the end result.
Special thanks should go to Alan Radford, Marjorie Thompson, Paul Bekon, Terwyn Williams and the members and supporters of London Welsh RFC who helped to fund the purchase and engraving of this wonderful piece of Welsh slate.
The formal unveiling will take place as part of the match day that falls cloest to armistice sunday in the 2021/22 Season.
Lest we forget