Football’s World War One Roll of Honour


We are currently approaching the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, or the Great War as it was known to contemporaries. The toll of human sacrifice was phenomenal: almost 900,000 British military personnel dead and over a million and a half wounded. The war affected almost every family and every village – reflected in the war memorials that can still be found throughout the country. Football was affected too, with the game coming under tremendous criticism for continuing the 1914-15 season to conclusion before switching to regionalised emergency competitions which continued until the 1918-19 season.Many players enlisted in the Armed Forces, most famously joining up with the Footballers’ Battalion (17th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment). The Footballers’ Battalion suffered heavy losses in the Battle of the Somme and many other footballers also died during the war.

There is currently no definitive list of players, amateur or professional, who died during World War One and I am therefore compiling a Roll of Honour to cover this gap.. I am looking for details of players who had previously played in the Football League or Southern League, players who were registered with Football League clubs in the 1914-15 season and leading amateur players (amateur international players, international triallists, FA Amateur Cup winners, etc.) who died as a result of fighting in the war -whether they were killed in action or died later from their wounds.

I am looking for the following details where possible: Name, Rank, Regiment, Date of Death, Football Clubs played for.

Any help on this would be much appreciated. Please post any entries you have by adding comments.

12 Responses to “Football’s World War One Roll of Honour”

  1. 1 Stephen Byrne

    As far as I know, five Bristol Rovers players died in World War One, as listen below. It would be very interesting to read similar entries for other clubs……


    b 1889 Miles Platting, Lancashire d February 1917 France

    Début: 31.10.14 v Norwich City
    Career: Longfield; 30.12.10 Oldham Athletic (professional, 24.3.11) [2,0]; 20.8.12 Pontypridd (£10); 30.8.13 Derby County [14,0]; 28.10.14 Bristol Rovers.

    Professional football beckoned for John Hardman, the eldest child of teenage parents, John Hardman, who worked as a carter, and his wife Sarah Ann Joby. Having made his League début for Oldham at Sunderland in October 1911, John Hardman suffered relegation from the top flight with Derby in 1913-14 and made one appearance the following campaign as The Rams were promoted back. A fast left-half, five feet seven in height and weighing eleven stone six pounds, who had been baptised at St Luke’s, Miles Platting on 9th June 1889, he played 23 times for Rovers in the Southern League before being conscripted. An army sergeant, he was killed on the Western Front. His grandson Andy Hardman was on Rovers’ books as a youth before playing for Bristol St George from 1974 to 1977.


    b 28.12.1884 Bristol d 8.8.1916 Flanders

    Début: 21.4.06 v Fulham
    Career: Eastville Board School; Freemantle; May 1905 Bristol Rovers; 14.4.09 Aston Villa [55,17]; May 1912 Preston North End [3,0]; December 1912 Chesterfield Town.

    “Flanders field” claimed the life of Walter Gerrish, who had left Rovers to win a League championship medal with Aston Villa in 1909-10, for whom he scored a hat-trick against Chelsea in Division One in September 1909. Unable to retain his place in the side the following season, his career took him to Preston and Chesterfield, where he suffered a broken leg, before enlisting as F/936 in the Footballers’ Battalion, the 17th Middlesex Regiment; he was killed on the Western Front. The former England international Frank Buckley, who coached the Footballers’ Battalion team, described Gerrish as “a splendid soldier, most willing and brave”. In February 1915, when in military hospital, he had heard another patient was dying through blood loss and offered to have some of his blood pumped into the patient “who was ever after grateful for the extension of his own life by about a year”, as his former Rovers team-mate Peter Roney wrote from the trenches. One of 52 soldiers in his regiment killed in one day, Gerrish has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. Prior to this sad end, he had broken into Rovers’ side at the age of twenty-one, establishing himself in the side and becoming a lynchpin during the 1908-09 season, when his two goals set up a 4-1 victory over a very strong Southampton side. These were but two of eleven goals in 49 Southern League appearances for the Eastville side. His brother Howard Gerrish (1885-1969) was on Rovers’ books during the 1904-05 Southern League championship season but, unable to break into the side, moved away and was reported to be at 6 Cardiff Road, Glanllyn, Taffs Well in 1953.


    b 18.12.1877 Leek, Staffordshire d 3.10.1916 France

    Début: 7.9.01 v West Ham United
    Career: November 1896 Macclesfield; June 1897 Lincoln City [29,12]; May 1898 Gravesend United; April 1899 Wellingborough; 4.5.01 Bristol Rovers; 1902 Brighton (to 1909).

    A Corporal in the Royal Sussex Regiment, Joe Hulme was one of over a million men of all nationalities killed during the Battle of the Somme and is buried in Thiepval Cemetery. Ostensibly a defender, his Southern League return had been 22 games for Gravesend, top scoring for the club in 1898-99 with nine goals, two goals in 101 matches at Brighton and, unable to break into the side at Wellingborough, four games with Rovers. Joe Hulme married Mary Ellen Lilley (1877-1955) in 1905 and they had two daughters, Doris and Ethel and a son, Joseph and lived at 5 Copley Street, Tunstall.


    b 1886 Birmingham d 4.4.1918 killed in action

    Début: 6.11.09 v Plymouth Argyle
    Career: Aston Waverley; January 1907 Aston Villa; May 1908 Queen’s Park Rangers; May 1909 Aston Villa; November 1909 Bristol Rovers; November 1911 Walsall; August 1912 Shrewsbury Town.

    In January 1910, Rovers were drawn away to Second Division Grimsby Town in the FA Cup and pulled off an unlikely shock win, Billy Peplow and Albert Rodgers scoring in a 2-0 win. It was the only goal Rodgers scored for the club, for his 28 Southern League matches at inside-forward proved scoreless, 24 games that season and four more in 1910-11, and he did not make the Football League side at Villa or Walsall. A wartime fatality whilst serving his country, initially enlisting at Aldershot for the Middlesex Regiment but later in the East Surrey Regiment, Rodgers had earlier contributed seven goals in 29 Southern League games for QPR.


    b Bristol d World War One

    Début: 3.9.10 v Norwich City
    Career: Greenbank; 5.9.08 Bristol Rovers; 1913 Troedyrhiw Stars.

    Harry Phillips, apparently the younger brother of George Phillips but unrelated to the contemporary goalkeeper of a similar name, made his début for Rovers reserves in September 1908 and went on to play for the club in 63 Southern League goals, scoring twice. A left-half, he scored a consolation goal in a defeat at Northampton in December 1910 and the final goal as QPR were defeated comfortably 3-0 at Eastville in October 1912. In addition, he was in the Rovers side which defeated First Division Notts County in an emotional FA Cup-tie at Eastville in January 1913. He is said to have died during hostilities in the First World War.

    • 2 Colin Woodley

      I represent a group of QPR supporters at present researching the Rs early history. We have in the past featured a cigarette card for an Albert Rogers with similar playing stats. Do you know if they are one and the same as many other references seem to spell his name without a D?
      Would it be possible for you to let me know the source of your info as you seem to have far more info than other sources.
      If he is the same person he will be added to the list of Rs players who fell in both Wars.

      • 3 soccerhistory

        Many thanks for the comment Colin, I have emailed you separately with evidence.

  2. The first footballer to lose his life during WW1 was The Scotsman William Uquhart Sutherland. My blog at has details of Scots born players that died in the conflict.

  3. 5 Jim Brown


    As far as Coventry City is concerned the following players who had appeared for the Southern League side lost their life in WW1:

    George Warren
    Stephen Jackson
    Tom Morris
    Jack Harkins
    Walter Kimberley (a POW who died soon after returning to UK)
    John Tosswill

    In addition two further players who had not played for the first team lost their lives:
    Alf Edwards
    Mick Hanson

    I will attempt to provide further information over the next few weeks.


    Jim Brown
    Official Historian
    Coventry City FC

  4. 6 Roger Deason

    Edward Inkerman Jordan Bell meets your criteria, just. I don’t have his record to hand but you will find him on Wikipedia. He won the M.C. Edward appears on St Mark’s church hall war memorial in Farnborough. A couple more locals were also footballers but at a lower level – the pre war Cove captain for example.

    At Dulwich Hamlet I think the only one to meet your criteria is George Popple, an Amateur International trialist in 13/14. Serjeant. London Regiment (The Rangers) 1/7/16 KIA. Dulwich were his last club, local press reports disagree on whether he signed from Bromley or Croydon.

    • 7 soccerhistory

      Many thanks for the responses. I now have a list of 169 players (current or previous) who were killed during the First World War and who had played as professionals in either the Southern League or the Football League. I also have many more names of amateur players. I am little puzzled by the fact that no pre-1914 Bolton Wanderers players appear in the list. Percy Young’s history of the club records that two players – Lieutenant JA Greenhalgh and Harold Greenhalgh died. News of Lieutenant JA Greenhalgh’s death appeared in the Manchester Evening News for 1 February 1916, which notes he was a prominent amateur footballer who occasionally played for Bolton.The other name is Harold Greenhalgh who had played for Wanderers in the first half of 1915-16 and seems to have been killed some time before July 1916. Any news of additional Wanderers players would be most welcome.

  5. 8 Steven Oliver

    A pity you are not covering Scottish Football. The sacrifice of Heart of Midlothian players, shareholders and supporters along with a number of recruits from other prominent scottish clubs is comprehensively covered in Jack Alexander’s best selling book, “McCrae’s Battalion”. The story was also covered in a BBC Ddocumentary which I understand will now be made into a film.

  6. Really good post – different.. Football has come a long long way since then 🙂

  7. perhaps a little further down the ladder than you anticipated…. but an extract from an article i recently wrote for our Club Programme; Representatives of Wealdstone Football Club who lost their lives in The Great War.

    Andrews, P. A fine goal scorer capped in 1911 by Middlesex County and a regular player for a number of years. Royal Air Force Air Mechanic 1st Class S/No 225242 Died 04/05/1918 Age 29 Grave III F.2. Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte, France Son of Alice and William Andrews, of Grant House, Grant Rd, Wealdstone, Middx.

    Bellchambers, C. F. A former player and Official at the time of the first league season in 1898, who was previously involved with predecessors of the club. Charles John Francis Bellchambers The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) 2nd Battalion, Private S/No 207213 Died 11/10/1917 Age 35 Grave Ref VI. C. 22. Wimereux Communal Cemetery Son of W. T. and E. Bellchambers, of 23, Aberdeen Rd, Wealdstone, Middx.

    Bird, C. A player in the seasons leading up to the War. No trace unless listed as Middlesex Regiment 16th Battalion Private S/No 648 Died 28/01/1916 F.A Bird Grave Ref L.20 Chambrin Churchyard extension. (Initials may be incorrect through error or possibly a nichname).

    Bowells, H. Played in the last match of Wealdstone FC in 1905 and returned to the reformed club in 1909. 7th Northants Lance Sergent Henry Bowell Killed in Action 27/09/1915 with 7th Northants. He enlisted in Harrow. living in Wealdstone at the time, and had previously served with the Northants Regt. Worked as Warehouseman in 1914

    Bradberry, R. W. A former reserve player and relation of goalkeeper T W Bradberry. Royal Garrison Artillery 301st Siege Batallion Lance Bombardier Russell William Bradberry S/No 70878 Died 03/12/1917 Age 33 Grave Ref B. 11A. Bois Guillaume Communal Cemetery extension. Lived at 44 Locket Road, Wealdstone. Was a Stock Exchange clerk before enlistment. Eldest son of Russel and Mary Rebecca Bradberry, of Wealdstone, Harrow, Middlesex; husband of Elsie Bradberry, of Wealdstone.

    Cozens, W. Captain of the side in 1899, playing alongside his brother, both having turned the fortunes of Wealdstone Athletic in 1895. William Edgar Cozens who served with the 23rd Middlesex (2nd Footballers Battallion) Killed in Action 24/03/1918. Born in Kilburn.

    Goodage, R. A former player. Middlesex Regiment 1st/9th Batallion Private George Richard Goodage S/No TF/1651 Died 22/11/1915 he has no known Grave, but is commemorated on the BASRA Memorial – Panel 30 and 64

    Howman, W. A former player and relation of ‘A Team’ Vice Captain in 1913-14 H Howman. Walter Howman was an original recruit in the 16th Middlesex (Public Schools) Regiment. Died in Aug 1916 while apparently serving with the 1st Middlesex. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial

    Martin, F. Joined the club as it reformed in 1909 and became 1st XI Vice Captain in 1913/14. 7th Rifle Brigade Corporal Frank Tingey Martin Killed in Action 30/07/1915 Born in Harrow. Worked in Wealdstone.

    Robertson, G. A former player who also joined the club as it reformed in 1909. No details remain of his service record or death.


    Roge Slater

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