In the summer of 2011 members of Southport Rugby Football Club extended and refurbished the Clubhouse at Waterloo Road. In pride of place, as always since a fund was established for its procurement in 1947, is the cherished Memorial Plaque commemorating the members of the Club who sacrificed their lives for their country during the two world wars.
Designed by Mr H D Williams, Art Master at King George V Grammar School, the Plaque is still in pristine condition being carved in light Austrian oak, with a stainless steel sword and names of the fallen in gold lettering.
The connection with KGV is wholly appropriate as the school and the club were intrinsically linked from when the school was founded in 1926. It was the only school in the town to teach rugby, from which former pupils created a thriving Old Georgians rugby club, eventually amalgamating with Southport on 23rd May 1936. For many years a match between a Southport club side and a scratch Old Georgians side, including many club members, was established as a traditional Christmas fixture.
Sadly the school is now closed and the building demolished but the link between KGV and the club continues to this day. More poignantly seventeen members of the club named on the board who fell in World War Two were Old Georgians. They are also respectfully remembered in the KGV Roll of Honour.
Dick Bretherton, Club President in the centenary year in 1972, who sadly passed away recently, is on record in his speech at a club dinner that at Southport “Friendship and fun is the name of the game; success is a bonus. It is all about people – great people – with loyalty at all levels”
Never can more appropriate words have been spoken as members of Southport Rugby Club reflect on their forebears who too wore the black, red and amber shirt with pride and enjoyed the same camaraderie and banter then as in the same time honoured fashion they do now.
The Plaque now fittingly sits in splendid authority as the focal point in the refurbished main bar area, overseeing the match day hustle and bustle as members of the club come and go about their business. It lists forty one names, fourteen who fell in the World War One to the left and twenty seven in World War Two to the right.
Based on Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) records, and the KGV Roll of Honour, it has been possible to establish more information about many of those listed to give some real feeling to those named, all of whom were young men of their generation, just like today. This information is given on the following pages for each of the Wars.
An interesting observation is that in the the records found all those killed in the 1914-18 had enlisted in the Army, whilst in the 1939-45 conflict they were all in the Royal Navy or Royal Air Force.
World War One
When war was declared in September 1914, the Club called an extraordinary meeting and cancelled all fixtures, and recommended all members ‘join some military organisation’. The fourteen members killed in action listed on the Plaque are:
J E Grimshaw
G L Lovell
H M Morriss
A R Penny
W B Saul
A C Sawyer
W S Standring
S S Walker
T C Walker
J V White
Lance Corporal John Edward Grimshaw, Lancashire Fusiliers, died on 18th September 1915 at Gallipoli and is commemorated on the Helles War Memorial.
Born in Leeds in 1897 he was the 1914-15 first team captain, possibly the youngest in the clubs history. The war curtailed this season and he may have been appointed captain at such young age because many of the older players had already enlisted. There may also be some confusion with his brother George Herbert Grimshaw who was the captain in the first post-war season 1919-20. Whatever, both are shown in the 1913-14 team photograph.
Their father, also J Grimshaw, may have been involved with the club too. He was a Wesleyan Minister who founded a girl’s school in Southport and the sailing club amongst other things. George Grimshaw was a bank manager with Martin’s Bank in Liverpool moving in 1945 to Birkenhead after the death of his wife.
There is an amazing co-incidence in that the day J.E.Grimshaw joined his regiment another J.E.Grimshaw also joined. Furthermore he was also born in Wigan on the same day. He later won the Victoria cross at Gallipoli.
Private Jacob Livingstone, 1/6th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, died of wounds aged 25 on 9th December 1917 and is buried at the Bethune Town Cemetery, France. Son of Lewis and Dorah Livingstone of 11 Arnside Road, Southport. He is also commemorated on the war memorial at the Southport Hebrew Congregation Synagogue, Arnside Road, Southport.
The Southport Visiter reported that he was also known as Jack, and had lived at 13 Saunders Street too. He was drafted out to Egypt after joining the army, and after 15 months service there he was sent to France where he had been for about 9 months. He was a prominent member of the Southport Liberal Club and the Olympic Rugby Team.
Second Lieutenant Hubert Marmaduke Morris, 1st/2nd Bn. attd. 15th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers died aged 26 on 17th August 1918 and is buried at Terlinchun British Cemetery, Wimille, on the northern outskirts of Boulogne. Eldest son of Ada and the late Arthur Moritz, of Manchester; stepson of Mr. S. M. Harris, of 21, Saunders St., Southport. He is also commemorated on the war memorial at the Southport Hebrew Congregation Synagogue, Arnside Road, Southport.
The Southport Visiter reported that Sec-Lieut Morris died at the 14th General Hospital, France from serious wounds on August 16th (note different dates of death given by various records). He was also reported as the eldest son of Mr & Mrs S M Harris of Pyrmont, 2 Albany Road, Southport, and as having joined the Manchester University OTC immediately on the outbreak of war becoming impatient at the length of time which would elapse before he got his commission, he, with other of his friends joined the Public Schools Battalion, which was then being formed, as a private.
He trained with the battalion, which was afterwards the 20th Batallion, Royal Fusiliers, and went to France the following September, 1915 going through various engagements before being wounded – shot through the arm – at the taking of High Wood. Hospitalised at Etaples, he recovered sufficiently to be transferred to the 17th Royal Fusiliers and went through actions on the Somme before being wounded severely in the right arm and sent over to England for treatment.
On rejoining he was transferred to the 7th Royal Fusiliers, and returning to France was sent down for his commission and transferred to the 6th Cadet Battalion at Balliol College, and then gazetted to the Lancashire Fusiliers with which battalion he was serving at the time of his death. He had been seriously wounded in the abdomen, his left knee shot through and shattered, and a portion of his thigh had been carried away with shrapnel.
His brother Hector, who joined up on 5th August, the day after war broke out, had been twice wounded, and was with the British Expeditionary Force in Italy at the time of Sec-Lieut Morris’s death.
Corporal William B Saul, 5th Btn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers died in Egypt 10th March 1918 aged 33 and is buried in Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel. Son of Joseph and Maria Saul of Windermere, Westmorland, and husband of Marguerite S Saul of 102 Princes Road, Liverpool. Also commemorated on Holy Trinity Church Memorial. Born in Bowness, Westmorland he enlisted in Southport and was formerly in the King’s Liverpool Regiment.
The Southport Visiter reported that Corporal Saul was the eldest son of Mr Joseph Saul, formerly an auctioneer in Southport, and that he was for many years in the Mounted Infantry at Southport, and was the first man of the National Reserve to volunteer in the district for active service at the front.
Private A E Sawyer, 21st Battalion, Manchester Regiment died aged 37 on 30th May 1917 and is buried in Duke Street Cemetery, Southport. Husband of Ellen Ratcliffe Sawyer of 33 Everton Road who is buried with him, along with their daughter Ada Mary and other family members (I am grateful to Gilbert Upton author of Private Honour Private Grief for this information and photograph – see below). Albert Edward Sawyer is commemorated on St Peters Church War Memorial, Birkdale, but his initials appear to be incorrectly inscribed ‘A C’ on the rugby club plaque. He apparently enlisted at Royton in Lancashire.
Second Lieutenant William Shuttleworth Standring, 12th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, died aged 21 in the Battle of the Somme on 30th July 1916 and is buried in Guillemont Road Cemetery. Son of Robert and Alice Standring of 110 Windsor Road, Southport. Listed under King’s Liverpool Regiment on Southport War Memorial, and also commemorated on St Luke’s Church War Memorial.
The Southport Visiter reported that Sec-Lieut Standring was the son of Mr Robert Standring, Conservative Agent for the Southport Division. He was educated at Rochdale Secondary School and Merchant Taylors School, and was a popular member of Southport Rugby Football Club, and a former member of the Merchant Taylors Football and Cricket Clubs. Sec-Lieut Standring was mobilised at the outbreak of war as a member of the West Lancashire ASC in which he was a Corporal. He received his commission in the 14th King’s Liverpool Regiment in June 1915. In June 1916 he was transferred to the East Lancashire Regiment and on arrival at the front was attached to another battalion of the King’s. Before he went to the front he performed valuable service as instructor at various camps.
Major J Peck of the King’s wrote to Mr Standring in August 1916 stating he was “very sorry indeed” that that he was unable to give out any definite information about his son. He believed Sec-Lieut Standring had been slightly wounded on 30th July, about 8am, while trying to reach battalion headquarters with two orderlies to report the situation of his company and that one of the orderlies was also wounded at the same time. When the uninjured orderly returned to the company to report the casualties it was under attack, and it was not until 10.30 that an officer was able to search the ground where Sec-Lieut Standring fell but could not find him and concluded that he had gone back to the dressing station. Major Peck said that he had learnt nothing from the dressing station and fancied that he cannot have reached it.
The following year on 29th December 1917 the Visiter confirmed that Sec-Lieut Standring was with the King’s during their attack on Guillemont in July 1916. When the advance was made his company pushed forward and found themselves in the air and in consequence of those on each side having been held up by wire entanglements he was sent back with two runners by the officer in command for the purpose of inquiring whether they were to hold or retire. One of his men was killed immediately, as the whole area was swept by machine-gun fire and schrapnel. He himself was wounded and, taking shelter in a shell hole, he dispatched the second runner back for further instructions. The company eventually made it’s way back to the lines, but nothing was heard of Sec-Lieut Standring. It was assumed that he had made his way back to a dressing station. When the ground was retaken some days afterwards a search was made, but until the following letter was received no definite information reached his family.
Mr Robert Standring received the following letter from the War Office:
“Sir;- I am directed to inform you that it has been reported by the officer commanding a Graves Regulation Unit working in France, that the grave of Second-Lieut. W S Standring 12th Batt. East Lancashire Regiment, has been located about 2000 yards to the south of Guillemont.
This report, it will be seen, definitely confirms the conclusion to which the Army Council had already come as notified to you in the letter of 1st April 1917.
I am again to express their sympathy with you and to say that should you so so desire, the officers name can now be inserted in the official casualties lists. I am to ask you to be good enough to communicate your wishes in this respect.”
The East Lancashire’s Regimental History records that William Shuttleworth Standring was born in 1895, was the son of Robert and Alice Standring of 110 Windsor Road, Southport. He was commissioned as a Sec-Lieut. in the 12th East Lancashire Regiment on the 23rd May 1915. On his arrival in France he was sent to No. 30 Base Depot and then posted to the 17th Battalion, arriving with a draft of four other officers, on 27th July 1916, when the battalion was in bivouacs in Happy Valley, on the Somme. Only three days later, on the 30th July 1916, he died, during the Battle of Guillemont, whilst the 17th Battalion was in support of the 19th and 20th Battalions. During the attack on the village some objectives were taken, but other unsuccessful assaults left flanks exposed. Severe enfilading machine gun fire from the village of Guillemont and from Trones Wood made the objectives impossible. Sec-Lieut. Standring was slightly wounded at about 8am on his way to Battalion HQ and was treated at the local field ambulance. However, he must have been hit again, this time fatally, whilst trying to return to his company.
Second Lieutenant Thomas Cartmel Walker, 1/5th Manchester Regiment (Territorial), died aged 20 on 6th June 1915 at Gallipoli and is buried at Redoubt Cemetery, Helles. Son of Thomas Ascroft and Mary Gibson Walker of 23 Gloucester Road, Birkdale. Also commemorated on the Holy Trinity Church and Hesketh Golf Club Memorials.
The Southport Visiter reported on 17th June 1915 that the son of Mrs T A Walker of Wyborne Gate, Westcliffe Road was killed in action in the Dardanelles and that as recently as May 10th his brother Basil S Walker* had been killed in action near Ypres. Sec.-Lieut. Walker, who was 20 years of age in March 1915,was educated at Mostyn House, Parkgate and at Rugby, and had passed his entrance examination to King’s College. Cambridgehis entrance examination to King’s College. Cambridge.
*Note Second-Lieutenant Basil Scarisbrick Walker may be the S S Walker commemorated on the SRFC plaque, the initials possibly having been incorrectly inscribed. Sec.-Lieut. B S Walker served in 5th Battalion (Earl of Chester’s Territorial), Cheshire Regiment, died on 9th May 1915 and is buried at Divisional Cemetery, Dickebusch Road, Vlamertinghe, Belgium. Also commemorated on the Holy Trinity Church and Hesketh Golf Club Memorials.
The Southport Visiter reported on 15th May 1915 that Mr and Mrs T Walker of Wyborne Gate, Westcliffe Road received news that their second son Sec.- Lieut. Basil Spencer of the 5th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, was killed in action in Flanders on Monday. The deceased officer was 26 years of age, was educated at rugby and Kings College, Cambridge, where he took the degrees of BA and LL.D. He was articled to a firm of chartered accountants in Liverpool, and when he enlisted he was within two months of his final examination. He joined as a private on August 14th 1914 and received a commission two months later. He excelled at golf, and was a plus man at the Hesketh Golf Club, and he was a keen tennis player. (There is no mention of any rugby).
Mr and Mrs Walker also had another serving son with the 5th Battalion, Manchester Regiment (same as Thomas), Captain J S A Walker – thankfully, he appears to have survived the war.
Captain John Vernon White, 20th Battalion, Manchester Regiment. Died 1st July 1916 and buried at Danzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, France. Also commemorated on Holy Trinity Church War Memorial.
The Southport Visiter reported on 8th July 1916 that Mrs White, 44 Park Road received news from the War Office that her elder son Captain J Vernon White was killed in action in France on 1st July. Educated at Denstone College, Capt. White was a member of the Olympic and Waterloo Rugby Football Clubs, also of Southport Cricket Club. Immediately after war broke out he joined the Manchester ‘Pals’ and got his commission in November 1914, obtaining his captaincy a month after he went to the front in December 1915.
Temporary Second Lieutenant Eric Arthur Walton, Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment. Died 25th February 1916 aged 20 and buried at Spoilbank Cemetery, Zillebeck, Belgium. Son of Dr. Arthur Wood JP of 40 Hoghton Street, Southport. Also commemorated on Holy Trinity Church War Memorial.
The Southport Visiter reported that Temp. Sec.-Lieut Wood was just 20 years old and lived at Woodroyde, Halifax and at 40 Hoghton Street, Southport. He was educated at Haileybury College and passed responsions at Oxford and was entered for Brasenose College. When war broke out he applied for and received a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Service Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s and went out to the front in December 1915.
World War Two
In 1939 the government requisitioned the Waterloo Road ground and pavilion and there is no record of the club playing any rugby during the war. The casualties were much higher and twenty seven members killed in action are listed on the Plaque. These include several members of the 1937-38 First XV, Messrs Halsall, High, Hollings, Kerr, Lord, Sutton, and Whitehead amongst them.
M G Cockshot
C E Evans
E W Heaton
G N Higham
A E Law
R E Lord
R K R Mason
I N G McCondach
J M McDonald
D W McEwen
F M Pennell
A F Riddlesworth
K C Rigby
Able Seaman Charles Eric Evans, RN, died aged 33, 23rd October 1943 when his ship HMS Limbourne was heavily damaged by German torpedo boats in the English Channel off Weymouth. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. Son of Charles and Mary Evans, and married to Annie Evans, of Southport. Ex. KGV.
Squadron Leader (Navigator) Kenneth Jack Foster DFC and Bar, RAF Volunteer Reserve, originally with 53 Squadron (Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bombers) and finally with 97 Squadron (Lancaster bombers). Died aged 26, Thursday 23rd September 1943 when Lancaster Mark 111 JA708 OF-P was shot down from 16000 ft by nightfighters. The squadron operational target that night was Mannheim, Germany. Buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery. Son of Mr and Mrs J E Foster, and married to Eileen Foster. Ex. KGV.
Pilot Officer (Observer) Donald Addie Halsall, RAF Volunteer Reserve, with 254 Squadron (Bristol Blenheim Mark 1V). Died aged 21, Saturday 27th December 1941. Buried in Trondheim (Stavne) Cemetery about 500 km north of Oslo. Many airman buried here were shot down whilst attacking German shipping in Norwegian coastal waters. Son of Robert and Marie Macnee Addie Halsall, of Southport. Ex. KGV.
Sergeant (Navigator) Eric William Heaton, RAF Volunteer Reserve, died aged 21, Monday 4th December 1944. Buried at Orrell (St Luke) Churchyard, Lancashire. Son of William F. Heaton and Annie E. Heaton, of Orrell. Ex. KGV.
Sub-Lieutenant (Flyer) James Alfred Benis High RN Volunteer Reserve at the Royal Naval Air Station H.M.S. Jackdaw, Crail, Fife. Died Sunday 21st February 1943. Buried at Birkdale Cemetery. Son of James and Emily High of Hillside. Ex. KGV. Known as Benny he scored 15 tries in 1936-37 season, joint leading scorer with M M Pennell (see below), and was leading scorer with 10 tries in 1978-38.
Aircraftman 1st Class George Neil Higham RAF Volunteer Reserve, died Saturday 5th July 1941. Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Ex. KGV.
Flight Sergeant (Pilot) Leslie Jenkinson RAF Volunteer Reserve, died aged 29, Sunday 17th January 1943 when Lancaster Mark 1 5853C took off on a mission from RAF Swinderby, Lincolnshire, and crashed near Wittmund. Buried at Sage war Cemetery, Germany. Son of Louis and Florence M Jenkinson, and married to Phyllis H Jenkinson of Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire. Ex.KGV.
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Thomas Donald Kerr RAF 59 Squadron, formerly a Captain in the Royal Army Service Corps. Died aged 25 3rd June 1941. Buried at Plurien Communal Ceremony, Northern France. Son of James Rutherford Kerr, C.B.E., Ch.M., M.B., and Janet Russell Kerr, and stepson of Helen D. Kerr, of Southport.
Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) Albert Edward Law RAF Volunteer Reserve 115 Squadron (Wellington Mark 1C). Died Monday 24th February 1941 when Wellington Mark 1C L7810 KO-R having taken off from Marham crashed near Calais. Buried in Pihen-Les Guines War Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais. Ex.KGV
Sub-Lieutenant (Air) Reginald Eric Lord RN Volunteer Reserve on board HMS Nabob, a Ruler Class escort aircraft carrier. Died aged 26, Sunday 28th May 1944. Buried in Duke Street Cemetery. Son of Walter and Sally Lord, of Southport. Ex.KGV (Nabob was later torpedoed on 22 August 1944, while returning from a strike against the German battleship Tirpitz and sustained heavy damage)
Flight Lieutenant (Flight Instructor) Kenneth Reavley Mason RAF Volunteer Reserve, died aged 29, Tuesday 18th May 1943. Buried at Elloughton (St Mary) Churchyard Extension, Yorkshire. Son of Jackson and Ethel Maud Mason and married to Winifred L Mason L.R.A.M. (Elec) Diploma Eng Lit (Lond) of Willesborough, Kent. Ex.KGV
Sergeant (Pilot) Follett Mattinson Pennell RAF, 48 Squadron based at RAF West Thornley, Sussex from 25th August 1939 to 16th July 1940 flying Ansons and Beauforts. Died aged 23, Saturday 6th January 1940. Buried at West Thornley (St Nicholas) Churchyard. Son of Follett Montague Scott Pennell and Lilian Pennell, of Southport. Ex. KGV. His brother Montague (Monty) is shown on the 1937/38 team photograph. At the end of the 1936-37 season The Liverpool Post reported “A quite extraordinary performance is that of M.M. Pennell one of the centre three-quarters, who though playing nearly all his football for Liverpool University, scored 15 tries and dropped a goal on the few occasions which he has been able to help his club during vacation”.
Flight Lieutenant (Navigator) Allen Fairhurst Riddlesworth DFC, RAF, died aged 23 on Tuesday 25th February 1941 Buried in Duke Street Cemetery. Son of Albert and Martha Riddlesworth of Southport. Ex.KGV
Pilot Officer Kenneth Craiglaw Rigby. RAF Volunteer Reserve, 405 Squadron (Handley Page Halifax Bombers) Died Tuesday 3rd August 1943 when Halifax Mark 11 HR917 HQ-G was lost without trace during a raid on Hamburg. Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Ex.KGV. THE KEN RIGBY MEMORIAL CUP – this was presented to Southport before the game at Wigan which the home side won 24-12 on 25th January 2003 in recognition of PO Rigby having played a few games for Wigan as well as Southport. The Visiter reported on 31st January 2003 that “The cup is a designated War Memorial which Wigan wished give to Kens home town club having failed to locate any of his existing family”.
Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Observer) John Francis Roberts, RAF Volunteer Reserve, 46 Squadron (Bristol Beaufighters) Died aged 21, Sunday 15th November 1942. Buried ay Port Said War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt. Son of Francis Hugh and May Roberts of Ainsdale. Ex.KGV
Flight Sergeant (Pilot) Alexander Jeremiah Shirm, RAF Volunteer Reserve, 3 Squadron (Hawker Hurricane Mark 11C) based at RAF Hunsdon, Hertfordshire, with detachments to Manston and Shoreham. Died aged 25, Wednesday 29th July 1942. Buried at Ouddrop General Cemetery, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands. Son of Charles William and Caroline Mary Emily Shirm of Birkdale. Ex.KGV
Sub-Lieutenant (Air Crew) Alan Vickers, RN Volunteer Reserve on board Aircraft Carrier HMS Illustrious. Died Saturday 11th March 1944. Commemorated on Lee-on-Sea Memorial, Hampshire Ex.KGV
Sergeant (Flight Engineer) Timothy Wainwright, RAF Volunteer Reserve 429 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron. Died aged 31, 26th November 1943 and is one of seven airmen buried in Carignan Communal Cemetery in the Ardennes, France. Son of Timothy and Emily Wainwright, of Southport, he was married to Enid Wainwright of Buxton, Derbyshire. Ex. KGV, Tim was in the First XV for eight years up to 1938. His family have a long association with the club going back to 1906 his father playing for the First XV up until 1913. Brother Jack played between 1934 and 1948 and was a vice-president, Chairman of the ground, match and selection committees, Club Chairman, and from 1949 a referee. Jacks wife Peggy was elected one of the first joint lady vice- Presidents in the 1970/71 season. Tim’s nephew John Timothy an ex KGV pupil was a schoolboy member at Southport between 1969 and 1971 before moving away and settling in East Lancashire where he coached his son, also called Timothy, from u-8 to u18s at Blackburn RUFC returning to Waterloo Road on occasions when the two clubs met.‘Young’ Timothy would have used the same changing rooms as his father, grandfather and great-uncle (his great-grandfather would have played at Victoria Park) now ply’s his trade at Hampstead RFC in London. The family connection also goes back to Tim’s Uncle John who played for the First XV 1908 and 1913 and Arthur Robinson (presumably his cousin?) who played for the Thirds between 1929 and 1932.
Lieutenant Harry Whitehead, RN Volunteer Reserve on board corvette H.M.S. Polyanthus. Died aged 26, Monday 20th September 1943 when Polyanthus was sunk by the German submarine U-952 using new German weapons technology about 1,000 miles southwest of Reykjavik during convoy escort duty in the Battle of the North Atlantic. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. Son of Edward and Clara Whitehead, of Birkdale. Ex.KGV.