London Welsh Rugby Club commemorate fallen on Armistice Day

On Saturday, London Welsh Rugby Club held a memorial service and unveiled a plaque commemorating their players who died fighting in World War One.

Historian, Alan Radford, discovered that 23 of its men were killed in the conflict, including doctors, teachers and lawyers. 

The dedication was held at Old Deer Park, in Richmond

Robert Martyn Jones, 72, has been a player, volunteer and member of the Supporters Club Committee for nearly 50 years.

He said: “We’ve always had a memorial service on the closest home game to remembrance day. 

“It’s a bit too much in the past, we’ve always been a very transient team with players playing for the club and then leaving to go somewhere else.

“We do it every year, we get a trumpeter to play the last post.

“It’s very emotional, people do remember these things and remember them very well.”

Jones’ father was in the RAF during the Great War and was RAF welfare officer in his rural Welsh home town. 

Radford found that the men served in various divisions of the armed forces, including the Navy, the Medical Corps and the Canadian Infantry. 

One of the members added that they haven’t explored the full extent of our players lost in World War One.

WWI Memorial Dedication. Credit: Gareth Williams

As for the impact on the London Welsh Rugby Club at the time, little is known.

Jones said: “I was very involved [in Armistice Day] from an early age, I was always made to go out collecting money and helping. 

“I was also in the London Wales male voice choir and we had a great relationship with the military, either performing at the cenotaph for instance or arranging concerts in the RAF church – St Clement Danes on the Strand. 

“We raised something like £30,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

“We’ve always had a great relationship with the Welsh Guards as well.

“We’re now having a look at the players who perished in World War Two.”

Today is Armistice Day. Originally a time for remembering those who laid down their lives in World War One, we now reflect on the sacrifices made by military service men and women in all wars.

Credit: Gareth Williams

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