Tomorrow heralds the beginning of the year in which the world will be commemorating the First World War – originally called ‘The Great War’ – which began for Britain on 4th August 1914. Already the publication-rate of WW1 books, television documentaries and dramas has begun rising.
Only this week, on the Antiques Road Show ‘pick of the year’ programme, presenter Fiona Bruce announced that two ‘specials’ were in the pipeline for 2014 and we were then shown a moving preview extract, in which an elderly lady and her two grand-daughters were taken to the battlefield and cemeteries of the Somme (which began on 1st July 1916) to talk about her father, who had been killed there, body never found. The added poignancy was that he was a VC winner. We then saw the lady’s photograph of her father, nearly a hundred years before, in which he was standing beside his brother – also killed on the Somme. Bruce quietly mentioned that – although hitherto the lady and her grand-daughters had not known this – they were now actually standing only a few yards from the brother’s grave …
Shortly a new book entitled Into Touch: Rugby Internationals Killed In The War by Nigel McCrery (Pen & Sword) will be published. It lists and details the lives of over 140 rugby internationals who were killed in WW1, including 11 of the 30 who played in the 1914 Calcutta Cup match between Scotland and England. I shall certainly be buying it.
See here for a review on the website of the DAILY MAIL
As it happens, the article contains a factual inaccuracy among the details of one of these players that in particular I know a little about.
A crisp £5 note to any of our readers who spots it …
Due to the over one hundred contacts regarding the above competition received since this article was posted, Mr Elkins’ generous challenge has been discontinued.]