The Final Scores

FGin1914-1918: And Now For The Final Cost:
These figures show 2014 research into the number of players at the clubs below who lost their lives in the Great War. This may not yet be the Final Cost. There is also an interesting postscript.

Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 1
Barnsley 4 Blackburn Rovers 2
Birmingham City 2 Blackpool 3
Bolton Wanderers 1 Bradford City 9
Derby County 6 Brentford 7
Brighton and Hove Albion 5 Bristol City 5
Bristol Rovers 3 Bury 7
Burnley 5 Cardiff City 0
Chelsea 6 Clapton Orient 4
Coventry City 6 Crystal Palace 4
Bradford Park Avenue 2 Everton 7
Exeter City 6 Fulham 0
Grimsby Town 1 Huddersfield Town 5
Hull City 4 Liverpool 6
Luton Town 3 Manchester City 9
Manchester United 8 Middlesborough 7
Millwall 5 Newcastle United 9

FGin1914-1918: And Now For The Final Cost:
These figures show 2014 research into the number of players at the clubs below who lost their lives in the Great War. This may not yet be the Final Cost. There is also an interesting postscript.

Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 1
Barnsley 4 Blackburn Rovers 2
Birmingham City 2 Blackpool 3
Bolton Wanderers 1 Bradford City 9
Derby County 6 Brentford 7
Brighton and Hove Albion 5 Bristol City 5
Bristol Rovers 3 Bury 7
Burnley 5 Cardiff City 0
Chelsea 6 Clapton Orient 4
Coventry City 6 Crystal Palace 4
Bradford Park Avenue 2 Everton 7
Exeter City 6 Fulham 0
Grimsby Town 1 Huddersfield Town 5
Hull City 4 Liverpool 6
Luton Town 3 Manchester City 9
Manchester United 8 Middlesborough 7
Millwall 5 Newcastle United 9 read more

FGR and WWI Memorials

I pedalled through snowdrops and birdsong,
To the two war memorials in Woodchester,
Then bicycled past umpteen old cloth mills,
River liquid light all along my way,
To Nailsworth, Avening, Minchinhampton and Amberley,
With long barrows and a standing stone for company;
On through Shortwood, Tickmorend and Downend,
To Horsley
(A memorial just by the church, the bus stop and the school),
Before descending through Ruskin Mill’s sluice-scape,
A heron pointing my way back to Nailsworth,
Just before the rain came in, on a mid-day westerly breeze.
My next trip meant the number 35 bus,
A two pound forty single delight,
Gazing at the wood anemone by the roadside,
A palimpsest of ancient woodland by this main road,
Traveling by bus on what was once a prehistoric track,
That once made its way under a gloomy canopy,
But now tarmacadam speeds south of the Cotswold scarp –
But I was on my way to Nympsfield’s war memorial,
Just by the shadowed wall of the Old Chapel,
A crucifix, refashioned from one found on the Somme,
And brought back to this Catholic village in 1917;

I pedalled through snowdrops and birdsong,
To the two war memorials in Woodchester,
Then bicycled past umpteen old cloth mills,
River liquid light all along my way,
To Nailsworth, Avening, Minchinhampton and Amberley,
With long barrows and a standing stone for company;
On through Shortwood, Tickmorend and Downend,
To Horsley
(A memorial just by the church, the bus stop and the school),
Before descending through Ruskin Mill’s sluice-scape,
A heron pointing my way back to Nailsworth,
Just before the rain came in, on a mid-day westerly breeze.
My next trip meant the number 35 bus,
A two pound forty single delight,
Gazing at the wood anemone by the roadside,
A palimpsest of ancient woodland by this main road,
Traveling by bus on what was once a prehistoric track,
That once made its way under a gloomy canopy,
But now tarmacadam speeds south of the Cotswold scarp -
But I was on my way to Nympsfield’s war memorial,
Just by the shadowed wall of the Old Chapel,
A crucifix, refashioned from one found on the Somme,
And brought back to this Catholic village in 1917; read more

The Stroud Valleys, Nailsworth and the Great War

They were summoned from the hillside,
They were called in from the glen,
And the country found them ready
At the stirring call for men.
Let no tears add to their hardship,
As the soldiers pass along,
And although your heart is breaking
Make it sing this cheery song:
Keep the home fires burning
While your hearts are yearning,
Though the lads are far away,
They dream of home.
There’s a silver lining,
Through the dark clouds shining,
Turn the dark cloud inside out,
Till the boys come home.

1914 August

“On it becoming known that the mobilisation of the Territorial Forces was expected great excitement prevailed in Stroud. Holiday makers gathered in groups round the Post Office…Until a late hour on Wednesday the streets of Stroud continued in an animated state, groups of people gathering in the busier parts of the town, eagerly discussing the latest news. The evening papers were snatched up as soon as they were on the streets.”

They were summoned from the hillside,
They were called in from the glen,
And the country found them ready
At the stirring call for men.
Let no tears add to their hardship,
As the soldiers pass along,
And although your heart is breaking
Make it sing this cheery song:
Keep the home fires burning
While your hearts are yearning,
Though the lads are far away,
They dream of home.
There's a silver lining,
Through the dark clouds shining,
Turn the dark cloud inside out,
Till the boys come home.

1914 August

“On it becoming known that the mobilisation of the Territorial Forces was expected great excitement prevailed in Stroud. Holiday makers gathered in groups round the Post Office…Until a late hour on Wednesday the streets of Stroud continued in an animated state, groups of people gathering in the busier parts of the town, eagerly discussing the latest news. The evening papers were snatched up as soon as they were on the streets.”
read more

An FGR and Walter Tull Declamation

Let the living answer the roll call of the dead:
Walter Tull of Spurs and Northampton Town KIA 1918;

And now the names from Forest Green:
Harry Watts was born in 1891 in Avening.
Harry joined the 6th Signal Corps of the Royal Engineers
prior to outbreak of war and became a Corporal.
He received the Military Medal in 1915.

Ernest Beale was born in 1897.
He worked as a brass worker before joining up.
He died in 1916 at Exeter Hospital of meningitis.

Names from another century come back to haunt us:
Walter, and Ernest, and Harry,
Names once shouted over a football pitch,
‘Give it to Walter’,
‘Over here, Harry,
‘Shoot, Ernie’;

The imperatives of a football team
Replaced by new orders in khaki, with
Night patrols, barbed wire and machine guns;
Muddied football boots forgotten
In the trench foot fields of Flanders;
The clamour from the ground and stands
No match for whizz bangs, mortars and howitzers;
The fogs of a November match,
Innocent memories in a gas attack:

‘Over the top tomorrow, Harry’,
‘Keep your head down, Ernie’,
‘Stay quiet. Don’t shoot, Ernie’,
‘Don’t worry, Harry. We’ll get you to hospital’,
‘Where’s Walter?’

Let the living answer the roll call of the dead:
Walter Tull of Spurs and Northampton Town KIA 1918;

And now the names from Forest Green:
Harry Watts was born in 1891 in Avening.
Harry joined the 6th Signal Corps of the Royal Engineers
prior to outbreak of war and became a Corporal.
He received the Military Medal in 1915.

Ernest Beale was born in 1897.
He worked as a brass worker before joining up.
He died in 1916 at Exeter Hospital of meningitis.

Names from another century come back to haunt us:
Walter, and Ernest, and Harry,
Names once shouted over a football pitch,
‘Give it to Walter’,
‘Over here, Harry,
‘Shoot, Ernie’;

The imperatives of a football team
Replaced by new orders in khaki, with
Night patrols, barbed wire and machine guns;
Muddied football boots forgotten
In the trench foot fields of Flanders;
The clamour from the ground and stands
No match for whizz bangs, mortars and howitzers;
The fogs of a November match,
Innocent memories in a gas attack:

‘Over the top tomorrow, Harry’,
‘Keep your head down, Ernie’,
‘Stay quiet. Don’t shoot, Ernie’,
‘Don’t worry, Harry. We’ll get you to hospital’,
‘Where’s Walter?’

read more

A Swindon Town FC and Walter Tull Declamation

Let the living answer the roll call of the dead:
Walter Tull of Spurs and Northampton Town KIA 1918;

And now the names of the Robins:
Billy Brewer KIA 1914
Jim Chalmers KIA 1915
Ted Murphy died of head wounds 1916
Billy Kirby KIA 1917
Albert Milton KIA 1917

Arthur Beadsworth KIA 1917

Freddy Wheatcroft KIA1917

Names from another century come back to haunt us:
Walter, Billy, Jim, Ted, Billy, Albert, Arthur, Freddy,
Names once shouted over a football pitch,
‘Give it to Walter’,
‘Over here, Freddie,
‘Shoot, Billy’;

The imperatives of a football team
Replaced by new orders in khaki, with
Night patrols, barbed wire and machine guns;
Muddied football boots forgotten
In the trench foot fields of Flanders;
The clamour from the ground and stands
No match for whizz bangs, mortars and howitzers;
The fogs of a November match,
Innocent memories in a gas attack:

Let the living answer the roll call of the dead:
Walter Tull of Spurs and Northampton Town KIA 1918;

And now the names of the Robins:
Billy Brewer KIA 1914
Jim Chalmers KIA 1915
Ted Murphy died of head wounds 1916
Billy Kirby KIA 1917
Albert Milton KIA 1917

Arthur Beadsworth KIA 1917

Freddy Wheatcroft KIA1917

Names from another century come back to haunt us:
Walter, Billy, Jim, Ted, Billy, Albert, Arthur, Freddy,
Names once shouted over a football pitch,
‘Give it to Walter’,
‘Over here, Freddie,
‘Shoot, Billy’;

The imperatives of a football team
Replaced by new orders in khaki, with
Night patrols, barbed wire and machine guns;
Muddied football boots forgotten
In the trench foot fields of Flanders;
The clamour from the ground and stands
No match for whizz bangs, mortars and howitzers;
The fogs of a November match,
Innocent memories in a gas attack:

read more

A Lament for Dorothy and Archie

Each little river has a tale which, if understood, cannot fail
To edify the Human heart; mine’s of Lovers who’d not part:
Both loved Nature, read her runes and worshipped countless harvest moons.
He, a Minchinhampton Man – she the lanes of Burleigh ran,
Eager, passionate, enthralled to embrace her Archibald.
The stream that gushes into town on Hazel Woods, as hail, crashed down.
High on that ridge where sheep are shorn, a tiny rivulet was born.
It seeped through soil and chiselled stone, caressing sea-spawned Cotswold bone.
A weave of light like soft silk shook became a dancing, babbling brook.
Through Gatcombe Park the waters curled, then through its stately gardens swirled
To trace a spiral as they whirled past Longfords Mill.

Each little river has a tale which, if understood, cannot fail
To edify the Human heart; mine’s of Lovers who’d not part:
Both loved Nature, read her runes and worshipped countless harvest moons.
He, a Minchinhampton Man – she the lanes of Burleigh ran,
Eager, passionate, enthralled to embrace her Archibald.
The stream that gushes into town on Hazel Woods, as hail, crashed down.
High on that ridge where sheep are shorn, a tiny rivulet was born.
It seeped through soil and chiselled stone, caressing sea-spawned Cotswold bone.
A weave of light like soft silk shook became a dancing, babbling brook.
Through Gatcombe Park the waters curled, then through its stately gardens swirled
To trace a spiral as they whirled past Longfords Mill. read more

Remembering Stroud’s Conscientious Objectors from WW1

‘How do you prove you have a conscience?’

You came to me via a pdf,
Out of the blue,
Via a Facebook message,
On a hot afternoon in late July,
With names, occupations, addresses and ages –
A bit like a census, in a strange way:
Official, bald, and bureaucratic
In your modernity,
No telegrams today.

Eighteen conscientious objectors
Whose courage, principles and politics,
Whose ethics, morals and steadfastness
Enabled them to stand up against the crowd,
In those heated days before and after July 1916,
And before and after November 1918.

‘How do you prove you have a conscience?’

You came to me via a pdf,
Out of the blue,
Via a Facebook message,
On a hot afternoon in late July,
With names, occupations, addresses and ages -
A bit like a census, in a strange way:
Official, bald, and bureaucratic
In your modernity,
No telegrams today.

Eighteen conscientious objectors
Whose courage, principles and politics,
Whose ethics, morals and steadfastness
Enabled them to stand up against the crowd,
In those heated days before and after July 1916,
And before and after November 1918.
read more

The Badgers of Slad

The paintings of badgers on the posts at Slad,
Are beguiling and deceptive in their art,
Seemingly comic and anthropomorphic,
Each one contributes to a tragic tale,
Summarised in that curt and cruel word: cull.
They look like Tommies facing execution,
Tied to their posts at dawn’s first red-streaked light:
What passing-bells for those who die for cattle?

‘Only the monstrous anger of the guns,
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle.’

The paintings of badgers on the posts at Slad,
Are beguiling and deceptive in their art,
Seemingly comic and anthropomorphic,
Each one contributes to a tragic tale,
Summarised in that curt and cruel word: cull.
They look like Tommies facing execution,
Tied to their posts at dawn’s first red-streaked light:
What passing-bells for those who die for cattle?

‘Only the monstrous anger of the guns,
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle.’

read more

Echo Chambers – Archibald and Dorothy

Echo Chamber: Voices of Conscience – a sound and photography exhibition marking 100 years of conscientious objection – owes its inspirational existence to Fiona Meadley, Dom Thomas and Ruth Davey. The exhibition includes information submitted by living relatives of Conscientious Objectors from WW1: it was a privilege to contribute to this history, with our performance of the story of Dorothy and Archibald.
The link: http://radicalstroud.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Archie-And-Dorothy.m4a takes you to a recording made of Dorothy and Archibald , featuring the voices of Rachel Simpson and Stuart Butler, as they read the words of Alice Butler and Stuart, during the Stroud Book Festival in November 2016.

Echo Chamber: Voices of Conscience - a sound and photography exhibition marking 100 years of conscientious objection – owes its inspirational existence to Fiona Meadley, Dom Thomas and Ruth Davey. The exhibition includes information submitted by living relatives of Conscientious Objectors from WW1: it was a privilege to contribute to this history, with our performance of the story of Dorothy and Archibald.
The link: http://radicalstroud.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Archie-And-Dorothy.m4a takes you to a recording made of Dorothy and Archibald , featuring the voices of Rachel Simpson and Stuart Butler, as they read the words of Alice Butler and Stuart, during the Stroud Book Festival in November 2016. read more

1916-1926: from the Somme to the General Strike

The British Army at the start of the Great War
Was essentially ‘Wellingtonian’:
A predominantly country-set set of officers,
A predominantly rural army of men,
Battalions and companies of men and officers,
With a reverence for tradition and locality,
Be it the BEF or the Territorials:
‘I daresay it is snobbish to say so, but the fact remains that men will follow a gentleman much more readily than they will an officer whose social position is not so well assured.’
Kitchener’s recruits changed that, of course,
And then with conscription, by the end of the war,
5 million industrial workers had joined the army –
‘More than 10% of the … workforce joined up in the first two months of war’;
Two and a half million men had volunteered by 1916
And a further 2 million men indicated
That they would willingly countenance conscription;
This patriotism still meant some cultural problems, however:
Trade unionism, for example;
But, in the main, military discipline did its job:
From saluting right through to executions …
Although when trouble did break out, as at Etaples,
Then the old class antagonisms came to the surface –
As with General Haig:
‘Men of this stamp are not content with remaining quiet,
they come from a class which like to air real or fancied grievances…’;
But class prejudice was of little consequence
When placed alongside racial prejudice –
When colonial support workers went on strike in France,
Summary public shootings were the response.

So, after this contextualization,
I, do make Oath, that I will be faithful and bear true Allegiance to His Majesty King George the Fifth, His Heirs, and Successors, and that I will, as in duty bound, honestly and faithfully defend His Majesty, His Heirs, and Successors, in Person, Crown and Dignity, against all enemies, and will observe and obey all orders of His Majesty, His Heirs and Successors, and of the Generals and Officers set over me.
So help me God.

So now on to the Somme:

‘Pals’ Battalions, on the whistle, lads. Steady pace in straight lines.
Into the remembrance of statistics’:
‘How many officers and men went over the top on July 1st 1916?’
‘150,000, sir.’
‘What weight did the men carry?”
’66 lbs: rifle, grenades, ammo, rations, cape, helmet, gas masks (two), goggles, sandbags (empty, four), field dressing, pick/shovel, water bottle, mess tin, sir.’
‘And our casualties?’
’19,000 dead and 38,000 wounded. Highest figures ever in a single day, sir.’
‘Good man. Correct again. And was that it?’
‘No, sir: another five months of bloody attrition, sir, and another 420,000 casualties. ’
‘How long was the front?”
‘Eighteen miles, sir; but listen to this account of the 1st of July from Captain Gerald Brenan, M.C., sir. It gives a flavour of the battle.’
‘The battle opened a little after sunrise on 1 July 1916, with a bombardment that shook the air with its roar and sent up the earth on the German trenches in gigantic fountains. It seemed as though no human being could live through that. Then our men climbed by short ladders onto the parapet and began to move forward shoulder to shoulder, one behind the other, across the rough ground. They moved slowly because each of them carried a weight of 66 pounds. Then the German barrage fell on our trenches and their machine-guns began to rattle furiously. Clouds of blue and grey smoke from the bursting shells, mixing with a light ground mist, hid the general view, but in the gaps I could see little ant-like figures, some of them keeping on in a broken line, others falling, crawling, lying still. Each of them carried on his backs a tin triangle to assist in their identification by our artillery, and the early morning sun shone on these triangles and made them glitter. But as the hours passed I could not see that any of them had reached the German front line and later I knew why: our bombardment had not penetrated the deep dugouts the Germans had excavated in the chalk and their machine-gunners had come out and were mowing our men down …
The sun rose higher and higher in the sky, the heat of that scorching summer day grew and grew, but though I was never able to get any coherent picture, the failure of our assault on Serre gradually became obvious. Those three or four hundred yards of rough ground that lay in front of our front lines were thickly sprinkled with silver triangles, only a few of which still moved, while the German parapet was bare and still the pounding of our front trenches went on …
After fifty-six hours spent in shell-holes, sleeping among and even pillowed by dead comrades, without water, without food, having to defend themselves the whole time, a few of the more determined had managed to creep or fight their way back through the German lines to tell their tale.’
‘ Now here’s the last two stanzas from a poem by Second-Lieutenant Robert Ernest Vernede, 3rd Battalion, the Rifle Brigade, sir: it’s a poem about three selfless and quietly heroic sergeants who were killed, sir.’
‘Those sergeants I lost at Delville
On a night that was cruel and black,
They gave their lives for England’s sake,
They never will come back.

What of the hundreds in whose hearts
Thoughts no less splendid burn? …
I wonder what England will do for them
If ever they return?’

‘A few more statistics please, my good man. Death by our own hands – by the war’s end, how many of our men were executed by firing squad?’
‘346, I think, sir.’
‘Do you have any reports in my valise that we could share?’
‘Course, sir. Certainly sir. Here we are; three cases of privates.’
“The man has a very bad character both in civil life and in the army. He is probably useless as a soldier. For the above reasons I feel it my duty to recommend that the sentence be carried out. I am quite aware that the general worthlessness of the man is inclined to influence above decision, but I have given due weight to this point and see no reason to allow it to alter my opinion. I do not think it affects my judgment.”
“This man was not a man who gave much trouble neither was he in any way a man whom one would pick out as a good man. He is considered by his Platoon Commander to be of poor intellect, and I consider that he is a typical slum product of a low level intelligence…”
“The …Battalion … contains a proportion of rough characters and lately there has been a certain amount of insubordination especially when orders are issued for heavy work in the trenches. I am reluctantly compelled to state that I think an example is necessary in the interests of discipline of the Brigade.”
‘Is that enough, sir?’
‘Anything on NCO’s?’
‘Course, sir. Here we are again, happy as can be, all good friends and jolly good company.’
“As an NCO he is a failure, being too familiar with his subordinates, and surly and morose to his superiors … Chief cause of complaint is that NCOs will not assert themselves as they come from the same class of men as those in the ranks and think too much of their position after the war when they will all be in the workshops again.”
‘Were most men executed for funk? Cowardice?’
‘No, sir. Desertion. Here’s the views of two different generals, sir.’
“‘I consider the extreme penalty should be inflicted because: (a) the man has already deserted once on active service (b) he has no intention of fighting for his country (c) is quite worthless, as a soldier or in any other capacity and is better removed from the world.”
“He was no rotter deserving to die like that. He was merely fragile. He had volunteered to fight for his country … at the dictates of his own young heart. He failed. And for that failure he was condemned to die …”
‘What did the young man say?’
‘He said, sir, “What will my mother say?”’
‘You’re going on a walk today, aren’t you?”
‘Yes sir, Bristol, sir; we’re meeting at Temple Meads and then walking around St Philips and the Dings; we’re remembering the days of the Triple Industrial Alliance before the war. And remembering Alfred Jefferies who lived in St Philips and was executed for desertion on November 1st 1916: firing squad at dawn, sir. His brother Arthur was killed in 1916 too, at the Somme, sir. A bad year for the family, sir.’
‘Cheer me up, old chap, for God’s sake. Sing me a song or something.’
‘Course sir, certainly sir.’
“If you want to find the old battalion,
I know where they are, I know where they are, I know where they are
If you want to find the old battalion, I know where they are,
They’re hanging on the old barbed wire,
I’ve seen ’em, I’ve seen ’em, hanging on the old barbed wire.
I’ve seen ’em, I’ve seen ’em, hanging on the old barbed wire.”

‘Before I finish, sir, one last thought. I’ve often reminisced about the old days sir, and one thing’s stuck in my mind but it’s rarely mentioned, sir. You know how people talk about the sacrifices and heroism at the Somme and so on, sir. But I’ve often thought what if those men had lived? Then we wouldn’t have lost the General Strike ten years later, sir. Just a thought sir – but worth thinking about.’

‘I’d like to finish, now, sir, if I may, with the last two stanzas of Siegfried Sassoon’s poem Aftermath, from March 1919. Thank you, sir, it’s been a pleasure to talk to you.’

“Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz –
The nights you watched and wired and dug sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench –
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, ‘Is it all going to happen again?”

Do you remember that hour of din before the attack –
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized you and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads – those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?”

‘Just think, sir, those boys might have won the General Strike, sir. And I wouldn’t be calling you sir, sir. Would I?’