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"Recognition at last for brave men..." The Times" nov 8 2012


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In "The Times" dated Nov.8, Mark Souster pays a tribute to Rosslyn Park rugby players who died during ww1, and meets Stephen Cooper author of "The Final Whistle". Three of these gentlemen, Arthur Dingle, H.C.Harrison and Frenchman J.J Conilh de Beyssac (5 caps for France) played in Paris in April 1914 (Stade de Colombes) the last international game before the war... Both Harisson (standing at the back) and Conilh de Beyssac (middle of the line-out, jumping and raising his right arm to the ball) can be identified on my photography of a line out... Final score 13-39 for England is a detail... 11 out of 30 players that day will soon die in the turmoil of ww1...

"The Times" d'hier rend hommage aux rugbymen du Rosslyn Park de Londres morts durant la Grande Guerre, dont le Bordelais Jean-Jacques Conilh de Beyssac, 5 fois sélectionné en Equipe de France (au centre de l'alignement en touche sur la photo)...

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"Recognition at last for brave men..." The Times" nov 8 2012

  1. 1. 76 Thursday November 8 2012 | the timesSport Special report Special report AGENCE ROL / BNF GALLICA Friendly rivals: Harrison, top left harrison’s vc citation in the back row of the 1913-14 Rosslyn Park team photograph, and De Beyssac, played together for their club but were opponents when France and England met at the Stade de Colombes in April 1914, right. Harrison, second from right, was Both died in the killed leading his men into battle First World War and are now “For most conspicuous remembered in gallantry at Zeebrugge on Cooper’s book the night of the 22nd-23rd April, 1918. This officer was in immediate command of the Naval Storming Parties embarked in ‘Vindictive’. Immediately before coming alongside the Mole, Lieutenant-Commander Harrison was struck on the head by aRecognition at fragment of a shell which broke his jaw and knocked him senseless. Recovering consciousness he proceeded on to the Mole and took over command of his party, who were attacking the seaward end of the Mole. The silencing of the guns on the Molelast for brave head was of the first importance, and though in a position fully exposed to the enemy’s machine-gun fire Lieutenant-Commander Harrison gathered his men together and led them to the attack. He was killed at the head of his men, all ofmen who heard whom were either killed or wounded. Lieutenant-Commander Harrison, though already severely wounded and undoubtedly in great pain, displayed indomitable resolution and courage of the highest order in pressing histhe final whistle attack, knowing as he did that any delay in silencing the guns might jeopardise the main object of the expedition, i.e., the blocking of the Zeebrugge- Bruges Canal.”Mark Souster meets an and a former head of youth rugby at the club, as strange. So he set out on a theatre of war and each corner of the Empire. Ireland on Valentine’s Day in 1914, when, according to a report in The england rugby roll of honour the jetty to charge the gun emplace- ments. Harrison, who had been hit in its brutality. He was reputed to be the most complete French forward of the said. “The close association between France and Britain as allies strength-author whose mission two-year odyssey to discover the stories — both in a sporting and “The catalyst was discovering there was no First World War memorial at Times, “he stiffened the English scrum- mage”, the second in Paris. More perti- Caps Years Date of Place of the jaw, rounded up several of his men and, at their head, charged along the prewar era, described as a “a skilful drib- bler, a good lineout technician and a ened the relationship between us and the home unions. French rugby got wonto honour one played death death military context — that lay behind the the club,” Cooper told The Times yes- nently he remains the only England parapet only to be cut down by a sound scrummager”. structured.” faces in the team photographs that terday. “There is to the Second, with rugby international to have been H Alexander 7 1900-02 kia 17/10/15 Hulluch machinegun. Despite attempts to res- During his wartime service he went As a direct result of Cooper’s work,club’s war adorn the clubhouse walls. He did not names such as [Prince] Obolensky. awarded the Victoria Cross. H Berry 4 1910 kia 9/5/15 Festubert cue his body, he was never seen again. from the Transport Corps to tanks. In an individual has approached thedead has led set out to write a book, but that has been the welcome result. This was clearly an oversight.” The theory is that one did exist but The course of his life changed when he answered a call for volunteers for a A J Dingle L Haigh 3 7 1913-14 1910-11 kia 22/8/15 died 6/8/16 Gallipoli Woolwich Captain Carpenter, the commander of the cruiser, HMS Vindictive, wrote in 1918 he had been mentioned in dis- patches and was photographed before Rosslyn Park committee to provide a memorial.to a fitting His intention was merely to collate on a website the fruits of his extensive was somehow lost when the club, formed in 1879, moved from Old Deer “show” that specified all who did must be single and athletic. R H M Hands 2 1910 died 20/4/18 France 1921: “Harrison’s charge down the narrow gangway of death was a worthy taking part in a wartime match be- tween a French military XV and a com- “Rosslyn Park has such a great history but we do not have a memorialtribute research, a project made easier by the Park to Roehampton in 1956. Cooper The 1,000-plus volunteers called A L Harrison 2 1914 kia 23/4/18 Zeebrugge finale to the large number of charges, bined Anzac XV. In June he was part of of any public record of those who died,”W “ detailed records kept by the became an historical detective, follow- themselves, in typically morbid H A Hodges 2 1906 kia 24/3/18 Nr Mons which, as a forward of the first rank, he a tank-led counter-attack at Méry, in Chris Ritchie, the chairman, said. “The Commonwealth War Graves Commis- ing up clues, cross-referencing leads, humour, the “Suicide Club” or the R E Inglis 3 1886 kia 18/9/16 Ginschy had led down many a rugby football book is important in helping us to ap- hen the nation stops to re- sion. The overwhelming reaction to it changed his mind. Memories were collating a mountain of information. In the end 15 stories selected themselves, played five times for his country. Besides being members of the club, “Death or Glory Boys”. Their mission was an assault on Zeebrugge to counter P D Kendall 3 1901-03 kia 25/1/15 Ypres ground. He played the game to the end.” The final toll was 188 killed, 384 The catalyst was preciate and highlight what these guys did. Looking at the photographs on the J A King 12 1911-13 kia 9/8/16 Guillemont member at stirred, family members got in touch, recounting not just tales of rugby and they played against each other in the the threat posed by German U-boats in R O Lagden 1 1911 kia 1/3/15 St Eloi wounded and 16 missing. The raid finding there wall you can feel part of it. It adds to ” 11am on photographs, diaries, letters and Rosslyn Park but also of interconnect- last international before the Great their pens in Bruges; the plan was to succeeded in as much as two ships were our understanding of history and the Sunday, the priceless snippets of information were ing lives. “It makes you realise how War, when the countries met at Stade lock the entrance by scuttling ships D Lambert 7 1907-11 kia 13/10/15 Loos successfully scuttled. It was a propagan- was no First World War sacrifices those young men made. G E B Dobbs 2 1906 died 17/6/17 Poperinghe thoughts of the Rosslyn provided. It became his own personal mission. In turn he has discovered 85 these men were part of a relatively small group connected partly by educa- de Colombes, near Paris, in April 1914. England won 39-13 and took the grand laden with concrete. To succeed meant first taking a two-mile long and heavily A F Maynard 3 1914 kia 13/11/16 Beaumont Hamel da triumph more than a strategic one, though Winston Churchill described it memorial at “It helps our younger generation to appreciate what this club stands forPark club, one of the oldest in England, names of those who died, 13 more than tion, partly by rugby, partly by their slam. They were opponents on that day fortified jetty. To provide cover Wing E R Mobbs 7 1909-10 kia 29/7/17 Zillebeke as an “episode unsurpassed in the Rosslyn Park and its past. We are trying to re-will turn to the members lost in the two the official initial estimate. All but two place in society,” Cooper said. but only a few years later were to die in Commander Frank Brock, scion of the W M B Nanson 2 1907 kia 4/6/15 El Krithia history of the Royal Navy”. establish through a new generationworld wars, in particular those from the were officers. The chapters chronicle the lives of a common cause. In all 11 of the 30 eponymous fireworks family, was F E Oakeley 4 1913-14 kia ?/11/14 At Sea A photograph exists of Harrison and France, when his primitive Schneider that it is not about money, it is about1914-18 conflict. The Final Whistle: the Great War in some men who died heroically and players never returned, six Englishmen asked to create a smokescreen. How- R L Pillman 1 1914 died 9/7/16 Armentières De Beyssac at a lineout. Harrison vehicle took three direct hits to its left the club meaning something to them Seventy-two of them were killed in Fifteen Players is his fitting tribute not were decorated; others who were killed and five Frenchmen. ever, as the Allied force approached, a R W Poulton-Palmer 17 1909-14 kia 5/5/15 Ploegsteert Wood stands at the back while the French- flank, which had no escape hatch. For and breeding loyalty again.”the First World War, including some of simply to 15 individuals cut down in simply doing their duty. They include In any company Harrison would gust of wind cleared the smoke, man’s face is partly covered by the out- the crew who had to lie flat on theirthe finest players of their generation. their prime, but a paean to all those those about Guy du Maurier, a play- stand out, not least by his sheer size and exposing them to withering gunfire J E Raphael 9 1902-06 died 11/6/17 Rémy stretched arm of a team-mate compet- bellies in less than a metre of space, the 6 The Final Whistle: the Great War inThat bare, cold statistic is contained in who died in the First World War. As wright and the uncle of Daphne, the his lantern-jawed profile. A career and bombardment. R O Schwarz 3 1899-01 died 18/11/18 France ing for the ball. De Beyssac, who was tank earned its sobriquet as a mobile Fifteen Players is published by Spell-a yellowing press report from the Fergal Keane, the Irish writer and novelist; John Bodenham, a perfumer, naval officer who was renowned for his One senior officer, Engineer L A N Slocock 8 1907-08 kia 9/8/16 Guillemont descended from one of Napoleon’s gen- crematorium. De Beyssac was rescued mount, priced £14.99, and is also avail-Richmond and Twickenham Times of broadcaster, says, the book is not just and of a poet, Noel Oxland. fitness, He committed himself to the Commander William Bury, described F N Tarr 4 1909-13 kia 18/7/15 Ypres erals, came to Rosslyn Park in 1910. A but died of his wounds on June 13. The able through The Times Bookshop atthe club’s annual general meeting of the story of men from one club but a Two focus on Arthur Harrison, a Senior Service and to rugby with zeal. the scene as a “bloody massacre”. He A F Todd 2 1900 died 20/4/15 Ypres philosophy student who embraced the whereabouts of his grave is not known. www.thetimes.co.uk/bookshop. The1919. No names are listed, no memorial “universal narrative of heroism and Royal Navy hero who won two He was described as “strong and tire- referred to the length of time that J H D Watson 3 1914 kia 15/10/14 At Sea British sense of fair play, he had played Frédéric Humbert, a leading rugby author’s royalties are being donated toexists and nowhere is there recognition loss”. Their individual portraits act as a England caps, and Jean-Jacques less”, with his game of the “sturdy, bus- “several lived who had had large pieces C E Wilson 1 1898 kia 17/9/14 River Aisne lock and prop for Stade Bordelais, who historian, said De Beyssac epitomised two charities, the Rosslyn Park Injuredof their exploits. It was an omission lens on the war itself, covering as they Conilh de Beyssac, a France second- tling type”. His accolades did not stop of their heads blown away”. The men had won the 1911 French champion- the best qualities of French forward Trust Fund and Prostate Cancer UK inthat struck Stephen Cooper, an author do each branch of the services, each row forward and tank commander who at winning two caps, the first against struggled desperately to climb up on to A J Wilson 1 1909 kia 1/7/17 Flanders ship, then a tournament renowned for play. “He was very tall and athletic,” he memory of the late Andy Ripley.