Brentford FC's Fallen Heroes.

Paul O'Brien

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Reading about the footballers who went into the Great War and gave their lives (for example, a Celtic player received the VC), led me to wonder - how many Bees players fought in the First World War, were there any tales of heroism and so on.

Rebus - over to you (if it hasn't already been covered countless times, that is.)
 

rebus

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Hi Paul - your post reminds me of a memorial I'd like to have at Griffin Park or Lionel Road to commemorate our fallen.

In World War Two, Percy Saunders, who signed for us in 1939 from Sunderland, died in action in 1942.

From the First World War, there are at least two but perhaps some more unfortunately - my studies are not complete.

Henry George Purver
Horace Osborne Robotham
 

wanderer paul

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Hi Paul - your post reminds me of a memorial I'd like to have at Griffin Park or Lionel Road to commemorate our fallen.

In World War Two, Percy Saunders, who signed for us in 1939 from Sunderland, died in action in 1942.

From the First World War, there are at least two but perhaps some more unfortunately - my studies are not complete.

Henry George Purver
Horace Osborne Robotham

Private Henry George Purver, KIA 31.7.1916, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Reg.)
Private Horace George Robotham, KIA 12.9.1916, Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Reg.)
Sgt. G.Littler, Died of Wounds 11.5.1915, Kings Royal Rifle Corps

Cpl Percy Saunders, KIA March 1942 (Malaya), Royal Army Ordanance Corps

These are the ones i know of that died during WW1 and WW2 who played for the Bees.
 

wanderer paul

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Jack Cock was awarded the MM in WWI. Played for the Bees before the war and was then part of the Brentford team which won the London Combination in 1918-1919. Plus he played in the 1919 'Victory International' match alongside 'Patsy' Hendren of the Bees too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Cock
 
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Jack Cock was awarded the DCM & MM in WWI. Played for the Bees before the war and was then part of the Brentford team which won the London Combination in 1918-1919. Plus he played in the 1919 'Victory International' match alongside 'Patsy' Hendren of the Bees too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Cock

What did he do to be awarded that?
 

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Watched a bit on South Today about the Footballers Battalions in WW1. Apparently footballers were not called up at the start of the war as they were required to carry on playing to keep civilian morale up. They were called up as losses mounted and first saw action on the Somme in 1916 suffering horrific losses.
Brian Mcdermott and some of the Reading team visited the war memorials on the Somme and laid a wreath in honour of the Reading players killed.

Interesting that the Footballers Battalion was incorporated as part of the Middlesex Regiment so maybe a lot of Bees players and supporters fought with and alongside these brave men.

We will remember them.
 

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What did he do to be awarded that?

That may not be known. All DCM's and MM's were announced in the London Gazette, but alot of MM's were awarded where citations weren't kept or lost or just not written. Over 100,000 MM's and 15,000 DCM's were awarded in the First World War alone, so trying to find specific ones will need some digging, I'll ask my dad to check it out as he does alot of genealogy and army career stuff, he sorted out the Brentford war memorials several years ago and got them all placed at the library and added those that were 'missed off' the originals and updated those who fell in more recent 'wars'.

I'll check it out though :sorted:
 
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That may not be known. All DCM's and MM's were announced in the London Gazette, but alot of MM's were awarded where citations weren't kept or lost or just not written. Over 100,000 MM's and 15,000 DCM's were awarded in the First World War alone, so trying to find specific ones will need some digging, I'll ask my dad to check it out as he does alot of genealogy and army career stuff, he sorted out the Brentford war memorials several years ago and got them all placed at the library and added those that were 'missed off' the originals and updated those who fell in more recent 'wars'.

I'll check it out though :sorted:

Nice one.

Well played to your dad as well. :sorted:
 

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He played three Southern League Division Two matches in March 1914 as an amateur for Brentford, scoring one goal, before signing professional forms with Yorkshire side Huddersfield Town later that year, though the First World War broke out shortly afterwards. He served in the British Army during the conflict, rising to the rank of Sergeant-Major and earning the Distinguished Conduct Medal and later the Military Medal for gallantry. He was reported as 'missing, presumed dead' at one point during the war. During his breaks from military service, he turned out for London sides Brentford and Croydon Common. Cock also played for England in the Victory International in 1919.


from wikipedia
 

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John 'Jack' Cock was in the "London Gazette" (all gallantry medals awarded were mentioned in this publication), for the 5th/6th January 1917, where he was recognised as being awarded the Military Medal, but the strange thing is there's no record, that i can find at present, of him receiving the DCM. I even have his 'Military Medal Card' showing that he received the War Medal and Star, with MM by his name, but no mention of the DCM.

Will have to dig further :sorted:
 

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Brentford FC's only loss during WW2 was Percy Saunders, he is listed on the Singapore Memorial, Kranji War Cemetary. He died between 2/3/1942 - 3/3/1942, i believe his ship was torpedoed and his final resting place is the sea.
 

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Henry Purver (died 31/7/1916) is listed on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 8 C 9 A and 16 A) this memorial is commemorated to those with no known grave (over 70000 listed), the main battles were around the Somme area.
 

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George Littler, he played some SOuthern Alliance games for the Bees in the 1913 season, is buried in the Bethune Town Cemetary in France. He died of his wounds on the 11/5/1915.
 

wanderer paul

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John 'Jack' Cock was in the "London Gazette" (all gallantry medals awarded were mentioned in this publication), for the 5th/6th January 1917, where he was recognised as being awarded the Military Medal, but the strange thing is there's no record, that i can find at present, of him receiving the DCM. I even have his 'Military Medal Card' showing that he received the War Medal and Star, with MM by his name, but no mention of the DCM.

Will have to dig further :sorted:

A little more found. Jack Cock was 'mentioned in despatches' for "gallant conduct in the field 30.4.1916" and The Military Medal was for "bravery in the field". Nothing about the DCM..........still looking!
 

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A little more found. Jack Cock was 'mentioned in despatches' for "gallant conduct in the field 30.4.1916" and The Military Medal was for "bravery in the field". Nothing about the DCM..........still looking!

The battalion war diaries at the PRO at Kew could be helpful here. I've looked at maps and read the diaries there for my grandfather's battalion and company for the first morning of the Somme. It's weird being able to trace his precise footsteps with map references etc. He was machine-gunned but survived and his battalion, 9th. London, had massive casualties on that day.
Much depends on how thorough the adjutant of Jack Cock's battalion was in recording events.
 

wanderer paul

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Brentford FC's only loss during WW2 was Percy Saunders, he is listed on the Singapore Memorial, Kranji War Cemetary. He died between 2/3/1942 - 3/3/1942, i believe his ship was torpedoed and his final resting place is the sea.

He was onboard the SS Rooseboom (approx 500 military and civilian personnel onboard), a dutch steam ship, being evacuated from Padang, in Singapore, when it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine (I-59) the 'story' is here on wiki.....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Rooseboom

Horace Robotham is also on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 12 D and 13 B). Another soldier with no known grave.

Re Jack Cock, IMO he didn't receive the DCM but was possibly citated for one, but it seems that if too many soldiers were put forward for a DCM, the lower ranks got the MM and the higher ranked got the DCM, so I believe, IMO, he received the MM instead of the DCM.
 

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I've updated, on here We Will Remember Them, the players, who played at some time in their career for Brentford FC, that gave their lives in the 2 World Wars.

Any more then please let us know.
 

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I think it is great , Paul, that you and others are doing this.
Let us all pay tribute , and remember, the courage, hardships and sacrifices made by these chaps, to help keep us all free...
We remember too, all the Brentford supporters who also served, and sometimes perished, in these wars.
 

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Given the club's foundation date, were there any from the Boer War?
 

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I think it is great , Paul, that you and others are doing this.
Let us all pay tribute , and remember, the courage, hardships and sacrifices made by these chaps, to help keep us all free...
We remember too, all the Brentford supporters who also served, and sometimes perished, in these wars.

Totally agree Geoff.
I also think it is great that Paul is taking the time to keep the awareness of the the sacrifices of these brave men in the public eye. Especially on this website regarding the ex Brentford players who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Regarding your last line about the Brentford supporters who would also have served and sometimes perished.I posted something similar on this thread 2 years ago. Lots would have been in the Middlesex Regiment and you only have to look the Regimental History to see that the Diehards were involved in almost every theatre of action in both World Wars. In fact units of the Middlesex were the first to engage the Germans in August 1914,

We will remember them.
 

wanderer paul

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Great research. Possibly the club could include these names and a tribute in the Carlisle programme on Saturday week.

It's because of Mark Chapman & the late Graham Haynes, to name two club researchers, that these players are known. They highlighted the names, in the clubs history books, I just added the extra info to what has been printed, they take the credit. I would hope as Mark has researched, & maybe still is! Players from the clubs earliest years, that he would include those already known for the upcoming Carlisle United game/programme on the 10.11.12.
As I said, there maybe more players still waiting to be researched, a number of players did serve and survived.
As for the Boer War, 1899-1902, again there may well be players who were called up to serve. I believe Pat Hagan possibly served, in the Boer War, I just need to check the online records on ancestry...
 

jlove

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As for the Boer War, 1899-1902, again there may well be players who were called up to serve. I believe Pat Hagan possibly served, in the Boer War, I just need to check the online records on ancestry...
They were all volunteers at that time; my Father was one, Northumberland Fusiliers. The 1901 census should help with research. Anyone who was 'in theatre' will have received the Queen's/King's South Africa Medal; see www.angloboerwar.com.
 

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I think it is great , Paul, that you and others are doing this.
Let us all pay tribute , and remember, the courage, hardships and sacrifices made by these chaps, to help keep us all free...
We remember too, all the Brentford supporters who also served, and sometimes perished, in these wars.

Well said Geoff.

Also, of course, we must pay respects to those who continue to make the ultimate sacrifice to bring freedom to other areas of this troubled world.

The utmost respect to all of them, past and present.
 

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I think it is great , Paul, that you and others are doing this.
Let us all pay tribute , and remember, the courage, hardships and sacrifices made by these chaps, to help keep us all free...
We remember too, all the Brentford supporters who also served, and sometimes perished, in these wars.

Very well said Geoff. Wanderer Paul deserves praise for his unstinting efforts to make sure the memory of those associated with BFC are held in the steem they deserve.
 

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Thorne in the Side for sometime have planned to have a permanent memorial for those players that died in the two World Wars at Brentford FC.
We have the artwork done, Rebus has kindly agreed to research the names just waiting for the club to find us a site so that we can erect it.

We want to fund it and have a lasting tribute for all supporters to be able to go and visit.

Wanderer, if you want to get involved and help us make this happen let us know mate - Nick
 

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Thorne in the Side for sometime have planned to have a permanent memorial for those players that died in the two World Wars at Brentford FC.
We have the artwork done, Rebus has kindly agreed to research the names just waiting for the club to find us a site so that we can erect it.

We want to fund it and have a lasting tribute for all supporters to be able to go and visit.

Wanderer, if you want to get involved and help us make this happen let us know mate - Nick

This is an excellent idea. Happy to help in any way I can.
 

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Fantastic thread..to think that these men/boys gave thier lives for our freedom and in so doing paying the ultimate sacrifice.


WE WILL REMBER...AND PLEASE NEVER LET US FORGET.
 

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Wanderer, if you want to get involved and help us make this happen let us know mate - Nick

You have the right man involved already. Mark Chapman. He has completed a lot of work on Brentford players from the Edwardian era and may have others I've not picked up on. I've found 3 names today who were Brentford FC Amateur players (Kent, Buttery and Sloley). Checking to see if they survived or died. I believe 'Solely' did so checking on the other two! But so many records were lost in WW2 bombings sadly.
 

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You have the right man involved already. Mark Chapman. He has completed a lot of work on Brentford players from the Edwardian era and may have others I've not picked up on. I've found 3 names today who were Brentford FC Amateur players (Kent, Buttery and Sloley). Checking to see if they survived or died. I believe 'Solely' did so checking on the other two! But so many records were lost in WW2 bombings sadly.
Mrs Mazz recently bought me an 8 disc DVD set documenting WW2 as I wanted to study it in depth and understand the full story. I am currently working my way through and have so far watched up to and including the Battle Of Britain. Of course we've all seen films relating to the war and have always had ideas in our minds as to what it was like, but it wasn't until seeing these discs that I realised and fully appreciated the intensity and sheer scale of Hitler's aggression. This wasn't just a few bombs going off, it was reckless, indiscriminate, sustained blanket bombing that destroyed vast areas of Britain.

Apologies to those who are well aware of this - I don't want to sound patronising, merely to point out that, to my shame, I wasn't. Not fully anyway. One thing these DVDs really brings home is that it wasn't just the armed forces that we should be proud of. The bravery, fight and spirit of the British people, from young children to little old ladies was truly stunning. Every one of them was a soldier.
 
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wanderer paul

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A nice piece in the programme today recognising the Brentford FC players that lost their lives in the two wars. I've added Pvt.Ralph Shields to the list. (Henry Cook was a Middlesbrough FC player and has a memorial at Middlesbrough FC)

thiepval-memorial-to-the-missing.jpg

Thiepval War Memorial
BethuneTown4.jpg

Bethune Town Cemetery
4530287719_848f9ed036.jpg

Kranji War Cemetery
labuan-war-cemetery_400_300.jpg

Labuan Cemetery

"We Will Remember Them"

We will also remember all those that died in the two World Wars, plus those wars before and the wars & conflicts after.
 

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A nice piece in the programme today recognising the Brentford FC players that lost their lives in the two wars. I've added Pvt.Ralph Shields to the list. (Henry Cook was a Middlesbrough FC player and has a memorial at Middlesbrough FC)
By coincidence, I was at Boro's game (v Sheff Wed) at the Riverside on Friday evening.

In an attempt to boost crowds for a Friday evening game in November, televised live on SKY etc, they had a "Twelfth Man" promotion, where every ticket was £12. This meant they had their biggest crowd, 28k, since the visit of Man U three years ago (average this season is c.15k).

Anyhow, they combined this promotion with Remembrance Day events, as follows:
http://www.mfc.co.uk/page/news/latest/0,,1~2972847,00.html

This included inviting 250 serving members of the Yorkshire Regt, plus their families, to attend for free. They also had over 100 local Army Cadets parading round the pitch before k.o. They renamed one of the Stands the "Yorkshire Regiment Stand" for the evening, plus they had the traditional one minute silence, and the Poppy was sewn into both teams' shirts. A wheelchair veteran, wounded in Afghanistan, presented the match ball to the referee. They also had a bucket collection for the YR Benevolent Fund.

One of the nicest touches (imo) was that they invited their 'Artist-in-Residence', Richard Piers Rayner, to design a special tribute to eight Boro players who died in the two World Wars, a version of which adorned the cover of the programme:
http://www.mfc.co.uk/page/news/latest/0,,1~2974409,00.html
Henry Cook is one of those players - the one in playing kit whose head can just be seen at the bottom of the above photo (for some reason, the website cropped the photo, the Programme cover was much better)

All-in-all, a terrific tribute.
 

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Brentford FC today gave the go ahead for Thorne in the Side Fanzine's Memorial to be fixed inside the stadium around the Club Foyer and then dismantled and moved to Lionel Road in 2043.

Just collating all the information on those that gave their lives, comissioning the plaque and havea meeting planned with Mark Devlin to arrange fixing and an unvieling.

Watch this space!
 

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Brentford FC today gave the go ahead for Thorne in the Side Fanzine's Memorial to be fixed inside the stadium around the Club Foyer and then dismantled and moved to Lionel Road in 2043.

Just collating all the information on those that gave their lives, comissioning the plaque and havea meeting planned with Mark Devlin to arrange fixing and an unvieling.

Watch this space!

Mate that is top work and excellent news. Keep us posted.
 

wanderer paul

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Brentford FC today gave the go ahead for Thorne in the Side Fanzine's Memorial to be fixed inside the stadium around the Club Foyer and then dismantled and moved to Lionel Road in 2043.

Just collating all the information on those that gave their lives, comissioning the plaque and havea meeting planned with Mark Devlin to arrange fixing and an unvieling.

Watch this space!

That's good news and about time!! Where will it be placed? Will it be visible from the Braemar Road Forecourt area? I hope Chapman has researched it all thoroughly!! Money going to a good cause. Well done fellas.
 

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That's good news and about time!! Where will it be placed? Will it be visible from the Braemar Road Forecourt area? I hope Chapman has researched it all thoroughly!! Money going to a good cause. Well done fellas.

As soon as Mark can give me the detail I will have it made... Got a meeting with Mark Devlin as to where we can place it, then we will sort out an unvieling date and hope to invite members of those fallen players families if we are able to contact them.

Not expecting it to be a massive monument, more of a plaque with an area to lay flowers but its the 'having something' which I feel is more significant.
 

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As soon as Mark can give me the detail I will have it made... Got a meeting with Mark Devlin as to where we can place it, then we will sort out an unvieling date and hope to invite members of those fallen players families if we are able to contact them.

Not expecting it to be a massive monument, more of a plaque with an area to lay flowers but its the 'having something' which I feel is more significant.

A small plaque is fine. A lovely gesture. Keep chasing Chappers!!
 

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Good work TITS.... Man hugs next time I see you....!
 

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What a nice touch by the club, that a plaque, and a wreath pf poppies, in memory of our fallen players has been put in place. I wonder how many other clubs have done this.

Also to the Hester boys, and others involved.
 

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After a little research, we may have a name to add on to the memorial plaque at GP, we just need to be 100% certain it is the right player. At present we're 90% sure it is, but as with all this research malarkey, some records are missing, burnt or destroyed and so a trip to the British Library may be in order to confirm it's the right one. We have two dates of birth, year only, we have records of his playing career over 8 years, including a piece on his Brentford career - thanks to a Bees supporter - but then he goes "missing" after 1910!

We'll let you know how it goes and if it is the correct person.



******* New update ********

I now believe there are 3 more "names" to be added onto the Memorial Plaque.

One ex player was; "killed in action".
One ex player died; due to wounds and ill health.
One ex player died soon after WW1; Spanish Flu epidemic.

Names of those that need to be recognised, will be given in due course, once the club have confirmed all the details.
 

wanderer paul

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I've updated the following thread, https://griffinpark.org/forums/showthread.php?t=102119, with those players who we know of and died in the two World Wars.

There will be more, I believe there's at least one more to add but still needs confirming, who died in WW1 & WW2, whether as players in peace-time or as a war-time guest, so we keep on looking.

In the next posts, I'll copy what was in todays programme, with some additions as the programme constraints couldn't fit everything in, so those that didn't get one can read about those that lost their lives.
 

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Bombardier William George Allwright
Regiment: Royal Field Artillery. Regiment No. 22710
Born: 06.06.1880 Died: 12.04.1918
He is buried in South Ealing Cemetery, Screen Wall H.P.21

William George Allwright was Brentford born and bred. It wasn’t known, until recently, that William was one of three brothers to have played in the colours of Brentford FC, with Charles Allwright (1914-15) and Hubert Allwright (1914-15). William only appeared in the Southern League for Brentford in 1899-1900, as a left back, making 5 appearances and scoring just the one goal. After a short lived football career, he became a Thames Waterman and Lighterman, living in Brentford.
In April 1902 William enlisted into the Royal Field Artillery and became a career soldier. After serving in the R.F.A. for 12 years, he left in the April of 1914 only to be recalled and mobilised again in the August of 1914, when war was declared. After seeing action in the first two years of WW1, he was discharged from the Army on 16.09.1916, due to ill health.
At the age of only 37 and a husband to Alice, plus a father to four young children - aged just 8, 4 and twins at 14 months - he died of what was said to be ‘shell shock and fits.’, as quoted in the local paper. His military record though mentions ‘Hemiplegia’ as a reason for being discharged – a stroke. A small article was written in the local paper on his passing – as shown. The family’s last place of residence was 16 Mafeking Avenue, not far from Griffin Park.
 

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Private James Greechan
Regiment: 12th (Service) Battalion Highland Light Infantry.
Regiment No. 17740
Born: 1883 Died: 25.8.1917
Died of wounds after the Battle of Langemarck (1917); the third Battle of Ypres.
He is buried at the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, in Belgium. Grave No.XVII.A.9

You could say that James Greechan was a ‘journeyman’ footballer. Born in Glasgow in 1884, he started his working life as an “iron worker”, he began his football career at a local club in Glasgow, Petershill FC, in 1903, aged 19. His career encompassed eight different clubs in England and Scotland. After Petershill, James played for; Hibernians (1903-04), Broxburn Shamrock (1904-05), Bo’Ness (1905-06), Brentford (1906-07 – 12 Southern League appearances and 2 goals), Clapton Orient (1907-08), Glossop (1908-09), Stockport County (1909-10) and finally Carlisle United (1910-11).
Some handwritten notes in a diary, written by a Brentford supporter who witnessed football at Griffin Park in 1906, included a small piece on James Greechan. It reads as follows;

"Inside left hails from beyond the borders having been born in Shettleton near Glasgow in 1884. He has played for the Edinburgh Hibernians and comes to Brentford from Bo’Ness. Fast and tricky, he is a robust player and a capital shot at goal. He goes to scale at 11stone 7llbs and stands 5ft 9ins"
“He scored 3 goals, the last of which, I believe, was in the 4-2 victory over Reading on March 9th 1907 in The Western League. He also scored for us in a 2-1 win over Southampton the day before, on March 8th in the Southern League!”
“His first Bees goal was just a few days before that, in a 4-1 Southern League victory over QPR. It was his Southern League debut, and it was the opener, a speculative long range shot, early in the game, that slipped through the QPR goalkeeper's hands, 3 goals in 4 days!”


After Carlisle United, his football career continued back in Scotland for local clubs. In September 1914, James enlisted into the Highland Light Infantry, in the town of Hamilton. This battalion was part of the 46th Brigade of the 15th (Scots) Division. His training took him to Salisbury Plain, Chiseldon Camp, in April 1915 and then he was shipped to the front and landed in Boulogne on 10th July 1915. The battalion records show that they saw action during the Battles of the Somme, including the Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and the Battle of Le Transloy and the Battle of Langemarck, this was the battle where James Greechan received his injureis and later died of his wounds. A total of approximately 60,000 lives were lost, from both sides, in those battles in just 12 days in August 1915.
 

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wanderer paul

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Sergeant Patrick Hagan
Regiment: 11th Battalion Royal Scots.
Regiment No. 3004
Born: 1880 Died: 14.07.1916
Missing in action at the Battle of Bazentin Ridge, the Somme, France.
He has no known grave and was recorded officially as ‘missing’.
Patrick’s name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 6D & 7D)

Patrick Hagan appeared for the Bees in 49 Southern League matches over a two year period from 1906-1908, also appearing for Port Glasgow Celtic in 1908, after leaving Brentford. Previous to Brentford, Paddy Hagan was a popular player with Hibernians, appearing in 40 games over two seasons; he also played for Linfield United and Belfast Celtic in Ireland.
Paddy had served in the Boer War, 1899-1902 as an orderly, before turning to football as a career. After football, Paddy became a ‘boat finisher’, in Edinburgh, where he lived with his wife, Mary, and three children. A fourth child died in 1915 due to an illness.
Patrick, small in stature at only 5’4”, signed up in August 1914, at Glen Corse, joining the Royal Scots 11th (Service) Battalion. Originally, he enlisted as a Private, but was promoted quickly to Sergeant, likely due to being nearly 35 years of age. After training in Bramshott, the 11th Battalion was sent to the front line in May 1915 aboard the SS Invicta and landed at Boulogne. On the 20th May 1915, they entered the front line at Armentieres. Paddy took part in the Battle of Loos, in September 1915, and then the Battle of the Somme, in the July of 1916. During the Battle for Bazentin Le Grand, in early July 1916, which was part of the Delville Wood/Longueval campaign, Sgt. Patrick Hagan was listed as ‘missing’, the date on his record card was 14th July 1916. His body was never found. He left a wife of 12 years and three young children, aged between 11 and 4.
 

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wanderer paul

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Sergeant George Littler
Regiment: 1st & 2nd Battalion Kings Royal Rifles.
Regiment No. 9173
Born: 21.06.1888 Died: 11.05.1915
Died of wounds received at the Battle of Aubers, Neuve Chapelle, France.
He is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery, plot no. III grave no. C.27

Born in Hulme, Manchester, in 1888, he joined the King’s Royal Rifles a few years before the First World War and was a talented footballer, even whilst serving in the Army. In the 1911-12 FA Cup George Littler played for the 1st Battalion King’s Royal Rifles against Brentford in the 4th Qualifying round at Griffin Park. The first match ended 1-1, Hendren scoring for the Bees, in front of 1475 spectators. Then 4 days later, in the replay – once again at Griffin Park because the FA refused the Rifles to play at Aldershot – the Bees triumphed by 4 goals to 1. During this period, George was also selected to play for England Amateurs in a friendly against the Netherlands in Den Haag. This alerted Brentford to the talent of George and he was to appear for the Bees in the reserve Southern Alliance League in 1913-14, where he made 5 appearances and scored 2 goals. When war was declared, the King’s Royal Rifles were sent to the front and they saw action in the Battle of Mons and the Battle of Ypres in 1914. In 1915, the KRR were sent to Aubers where they were to take part in a battle on the morning of 9th May 1915. During this battle, Sergeant George Littler was wounded; sadly he was to die from the wounds he sustained.

In the Manchester Evening News, dated 11th May 1915, George’s mother, Ellen, and his brothers and sisters paid for an obituary to be included in the “In Memoriam” page with the following poem, in memory of George.

“Though nothing can the loss replace, Our dear brother taken from our side, Yet in sadness we rejoice, To think ‘twas nobly that he died, Life’s highest mission he fulfilled, And bravely answered duty’s call, Give unto him eternal rest, O Lord.”
 

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wanderer paul

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Private Henry George Purver
Regiment: 24th Battalion (2nd Sportsmen’s) Royal Fusiliers.
Regiment No. SP/3728
Born: 1891 Died: 31.07.1916
Killed, missing, at the Battle of Delville Wood, Somme, France.
He has no known grave and was recorded as ‘missing’.
His name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier & Face 8 C 9 A & 16A)

Born in Isleworth in 1891, Henry was one of nine children to William and Norah Purver. Living locally in Grainger Road, Isleworth, Henry’s first job was as a ‘reader’, as listed in the 1911 census. He signed amateur forms for Brentford FC in 1911-12, from Oxford City, and made two Southern League appearances that season.
On the 5th of July 1915, Henry enlisted to join the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), who came under the 24th (2nd Sportsmen’s) Battalion, part of the 5th Brigade and 2nd Division. His initial training took place in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, at Clipstone Camp. In August 1915, the regiment was transferred to Salisbury Plain to continue with their training. In November 1915, the 24th (2nd Sportsmen’s) Battalion was sent to the front line. The Battalion saw action at the Battle of Festubert and the Battle of Loos, in late 1915 to early 1916. In July of 1916, during one of the Battles of the Somme (the Battle of Delville Wood) Private Henry Purver was killed in action, aged just 25. Henry left a wife, Margaret, whom he had only just married 9 months earlier in late 1915.

The silver medal as shown, was given to the soldiers of the 24th Battalion (maybe Henry too?) as a thank you for enlisting with the Royal Fusiliers in London, by Lady Cunliffe-Owen, the Regiment’s founder.
 

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Private Horace Osborne Robotham
Regiment: 23rd Battalion Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment)
Regiment No. F/2397
Born: July 1879 Died: 12.09.1916
Missing, presumed killed, at the Battle of Ginchy & Flers-Courcelette, the Somme, France.
Horace has no known grave.
His name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier & Face 12 D & 13 B)

Born in Wolverhampton, July 1879, Horace originally started out working as a brick maker/labourer. He began playing football, as an Amateur, in Wolverhampton for the Post Office and then for Ossett and Hunslet – where he won the West Yorkshire League and also West Yorkshire Cup medals. In August 1901 he joined Wolverhampton Wanderers, his hometown club, as a professional footballer. In 1903 he moved to Fulham and in December 1905 he signed for Brentford FC. ‘Harry’ married his wife, Jessie, on the 6th June 1905. During the season of 1905-06, Horace appeared 18 times for Brentford in the Southern League, before he moved on once again, this time to Glossop in May 1906. New Brompton (Gillingham) was the next port of call in July 1907, where he played in the 1907-08 season.
The census of 1911 mentions Horace’s occupation as being a ‘window cleaner & grocer’. At the slightly older age of 36, Horace enlisted in one of the many “Footballers Battalions” in November 1915. After army training in Aldershot, his regiment went to the front line in May 1916. During one of the battles of the Somme, at the Battle of Ginchy, Horace was presumed killed in action. As with many other servicemen during WW1, his body was one of the ‘missing’ and his name is therefore remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. He left a wife, Jessie, 30, and four young children aged just 10, 6, 4 and a surviving twin of 2, one twin sadly died in February 1916, just 7 months before Harry died in battle.
 

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Sergeant Percy Kitchener Saunders
Regiment: 18th Divisional Workshops Royal Army Ordnance Corps
Regiment No. 7624351
Born: Mid 1916 Died: 02.03.1942/03.03.1942
Missing at sea, presumed drowned, off Singapore.
His name is recorded on the Singapore Memorial, column 108, Kranji War Cemetery.

Born in Newhaven, Sussex, in 1916, Percy Saunders started his football career locally, playing for Newhaven and was soon signed up by Sunderland in 1936. While in the County of Durham he married Vera Brown in mid 1937. Having spent three seasons in the red and white of Sunderland, appearing in 26 matches and scoring 6 goals, he was transferred to the red and white of Brentford FC in the summer of 1939. As we all now know, 1939-40 was a season cut short after only three matches, due to the declaration of war in September 1939. Percy played in two of those three games, Blackpool away and also at Everton, scoring the goal in Brentford’s 1-1 draw.
He joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and was posted to Malaya. During the evacuation of British Malaya and Singapore, due to the surrender in February 1942 to the Japanese, a steam ship, the SS Rooseboom was evacuating around 500 personnel from Padang, on their way to Bombay, India, via Colombo, Sri Lanka. The ship left Padang on the 26th February 1942. During the night of 2nd of March 1942 – documents suggest March 1st - the ship was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-159 (I-59). Still about 6 days sailing away from Colombo. Very few survived – only 8 are known or said to have survived - and sadly Percy Saunders was one of the many who lost their lives, drowned at sea.
 

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