Park & the Great War
Over 80 Rosslyn Park players fell in the Great War 1914-18. In the move from Richmond to the new ground and clubhouse in 1956, any memorial to them was somehow ‘misplaced’.
The first task was to identify their names, as there is no surviving Roll of Honour. Stephen Cooper, former Youth Chair continued the research started by player Richard Cable and has identified some 84 confirmed names, with more unconfirmed ‘probables’. The project launched an U15 tour to France in 2009 and a twinning relationship with Compiegne, where the Armistice was signed in 1918.
Players came from India, Australia, Colombia and South Africa, as well as all over Britain to fight. They died in corners of foreign fields in France, Belgium, Italy, Turkey, Ireland, Egypt, Greece, Palestine and Mesopotamia. What they all had in common was their rugby at Rosslyn Park.
The work of discovery continues, and the story is to become a book, ‘The Final Whistle: the Great War in Fifteen players’. Published in August 2012 by The History Press, available to order now on Amazon.
All royalties will go to the Rosslyn Park Injury Trust and the Prostate Cancer Charity.
“Stephen Cooper has written a haunting and beautiful book. Here we see the grinding slaughter and the everyday humanity of men hurled into the abyss of modern warfare at its most terrible. His book tells the story of men from one rugby club but it is a universal narrative of heroism and loss. He writes superbly and has produced a book of commendable scholarship. I cannot recommend it enough.” - Fergal Keane
“A fresh and fascinating take on the impact of the Great War with a novel and moving focus” – Ian Hislop.
“a deeply moving book about the loss of fifteen members of Rosslyn Park Rugby Club during the Great War. A War that scarred Britain and took so many fine men, who had they lived would have enriched this country. The lives of these young men, all so promising, are poignantly and vividly recalled” – Max Arthur
You can read brief summaries of more lives at www.rugbyremembers.co.uk
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