Battle of Loos Football

Discussion in 'WW2 Museums. Events, & places to see.' started by hucks216, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    Just a little post and while not WW-2 related I thought it might be of interest none-the-less. Another Saturday and another afternoon at the football (Ipswich Town) but today with it being Town's last home game before Remembrance Sunday they were able to display a relic from WW-1, this being the last surviving football from WW-1 which was used by the London Irish Rifles as they crossed no-mans land during the Battle of Loos in 1915.

    Taken from an article in The Guardian ( Battle of Loos Football Saved ) :

    Nigel Wilkinson, vice-chairman of the London Irish Rifles Regimental Association, said the soldiers originally had six balls that they planned to take with them into no man's land but their commanding officer shot five of them when he heard what was being planned.

    The sixth was stuffed up the tunic of the team captain, Private Frank Edwards, who inflated it as he prepared to charge from the British trench.

    As the whistle for the "big push" sounded, Edwards booted the ball out. It was passed around before it ended up being pierced on barbed wire on the German frontline.

    Wilkinson said: "The London Irish had a first-class football team and they were keen to score a goal in Jerry's frontline trenches. One of the platoon commanders thought that this was a bad idea and just before the whistles blew for the attack he went round puncturing all those that he could find.

    "A deflated ball was concealed under Private Edwards's tunic and reinflated. Defying orders, the London Irish kicked off the big push by punting the football into no man's land and went hell for leather after it."

    Edwards was said to have dribbled the ball for 20 metres before he went down injured when he was shot through the thigh.

    In the battalion's record, it was noted that the men were seen to pass and repass the ball until they disappeared in a smoke cloud towards the German frontline. Another soldier wrote that the men cried out "On the ball, London Irish" as they advanced.

    canuck and Chris C like this.
  2. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    I believe this is displayed at Dover Castle usually. Items like this really hammer home the human element of war.
  3. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    It's actually always kept at the LIR Museum at Camberwell unless Tony Robinson - the non actor and an Ipswich fan - is taking it around the country.

    I'll be at the museum tomorrow to speak to the grandson of one of the men who was at Loos..

    September 1915 (II) – London Irish Rifles Association

    You might spot from the original photo that the LIR was awarded 65 battle honours from two World Wars.. not bad for a TF/TA outfit.

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  4. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    I'll have to take another look at the Dover Castle museum exhibit and see what I was looking at! Cheers for the info!
  5. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

  6. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Yes indeed...I wasn't meaning to be-little Billy Nevill and his mates in the East Surreys... Sgt Nevill, of course, was killed that day.

    Service Number 3565

    Died 10/10/1916

    7th Bn. East Surrey Regiment

  7. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    In the museum there are two differing perspectives of the 25th Sept 1915 kick about at Loos...

    CSM Harry Tyers DCM was there:


    Lady Elizabeth Butler a more "romantic" vision.

    ladybutler - Copy.JPG
    SDP likes this.
  8. KevinC

    KevinC Slightly wierd

    "Edwards was said to have dribbled the ball for 20 metres before he went down injured when he was shot through the thigh."

    You should make this compulsory reading for all the soccer players who go down too easily.
  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

  10. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    I think you might be referring here to ....*add name of player according to ye olde tribal Football prejudice* in my case: any player who plays for Woolwich Wanderers

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