Rupert Inglis – Rector of the Somme

Rupert Inglis

Two days after the failed attack on Guillemont an open air service took place next to the field guns.  The chaplain was Rupert Edward Inglis. Inglis had played for England as a forward in 1886 and had been ordained in 1889.  When war broke out he took it upon himself to encourage the local men of his parish to commit themselves to the service of King and country.  Then, at the age of 51, he himself had enlisted with the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry 1st Battalion.  In a letter to his parishioners in July of 1915 he gave his reasons:

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In A League of their Own

This article is a continuation of Keith Gregson’s ‘The Plight of the Northern Amateur’.


Durham county team, 1905


One of the main arguments for a league system had been that it might improve attendance and, in consequence, income.  This is not an easy area to deal with due a lack of conclusive evidence.  In terms of crowd size, press reports were wont to use positive phrases such as a ‘large attendance’ at the Durham City v Sunderland 1st XV match in October 1907 and ‘a fairly large gathering’ for the Sunderland v Winlaton Vulcans 1st XV match in November.  At the other end of the scale less positive descriptions such as ‘dwindling interest’, ‘meagre attendance’ and ‘moderate company’ were used of other 1st XV league games.  Only on a couple of occasions did actual crowd size appear in press reports.  There was considerable disappointment at a turnout of only 600 for the West Hartlepool v Sunderland 1st XV league match although the crowd of around 3,000 mentioned by a number of sources for the Hartlepool Rovers v Sunderland 1st XV league match was greeted with approval.  However due to frost the latter game was the only one being played in the region on that day which may explain the good turnout.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lest We Forget – David “Dai” Westacott (Wales) 28/08/1917

David “Dai” Westacott

“Dai” Westacott had just one cap at forward for Wales but might have expected more, since he played for Cardiff for seven seasons during one of the club’s most successful periods.  However, he had the misfortune to be selected for what turned out to be one of Welsh rugby’s most disappointing international performances in the years leading up to the First World War.

In 1905-6, Wales were in the middle of their First Golden Era, a twelve year period of astonishing success, which included six Triple Crowns.  In March 1906, they only had to beat Ireland in Belfast to achieve what no other international side had yet managed: a consecutive Triple Crown.  And, having defeated New Zealand the previous December, they would also become the first side to record four wins in a season.

However, it was not to be.   Continue reading

Posted in International Players, Lest We Forget, Wales | Leave a comment

Vodka, Monsters and a disputed third place: the 1991 Women’s Rugby World Cup

The first Women’s Rugby World Cup could easily not have occurred.  The International Rugby Board refused to recognise the tournament, 600 potential sponsors were consulted with not a single one interested in supporting the event, and a number of unions refused sponsorship for their national women’s teams, who then had to pay their own way.  In spite of the odds, the women persevered and the participating nations came together in Wales from 6-14 April 1991 to show the world that rugby was not exclusively a sport for men.

England's Gill Burns on Women's Rugby World Cup programme 1991.

England’s Gill Burns on the cover of the official tournament programme.

Continue reading

Posted in Rugby World Cup, Women's Rugby | Leave a comment

New Zealand’s Second Lieutenant Kaipara

A member of the inaugural New Zealand Maori team of 1910, Autini Pitara Kaipara was described by his peers as an outstanding rugby footballer.  Leaving behind rugby for the battlefields of Europe in 1914, Kaipara gave his life for his country at Passchendaele on the 4th of August 1917.

Kaipara portrait, Auckland Weekly News 1917 - No known copyright restrictions

Continue reading

Posted in International Players, Lest We Forget, New Zealand | Leave a comment

Lest We Forget – Edgar Roberts Mobbs (England), 31/07/1917


Edgar Roberts Mobbs was born in Northampton.  He was one of six children of Oliver Linnel Mobbs and his wife Elizabeth Anne.  His father was an engineer and his mother came from a background in shoemaking, for which Northampton was famous.

Edgar’s education was at Bedford Modern School, where records show him as a modest scholar who was taken away early and put to work, being at one time a car salesman and later director of the Pytchley Auto Car Company.

Continue reading

Posted in England, International Players, Lest We Forget | Leave a comment

Lest We Forget – Arthur James Wilson (England), 31/07/1917


Photo courtesy of Glenalmond College

Arthur James Wilson was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, the son of Henry Bainbridge Wilson and his wife Emily Jane.  Henry was a wool, skin and hide broker, and Emily’s father was a master rope maker.  In all they had five children, of whom Arthur was the youngest.

From 1900 he spent four years at Glenalmond College in Perthshire, where he became a prefect and was a regular member of the rugby XV and of the cricket XI in his final two years.

Continue reading

Posted in England, International Players, Lest We Forget | Leave a comment