Welsh rugby team will pay tribute to war dead ahead of today’s match
WELSH rugby is set to pay a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives during World War One ahead of their match against Australia at the Principality Stadium today.
Several tributes to honour the fallen have been planned, including the laying of wreaths and a two-minutes’ silence ahead of kick-off.
There will also be two Tommy silhouettes “guarding” the players’ tunnel, along with 13 smaller perspex versions, which will feature the names of the 13 Wales internationals who lost their lives during the 1914-18 conflict.
Among those being honoured are Charles Taylor, who died on January 24, 1915, at Dogger Bank in the North Sea.
The first Welsh international to die in action during the Great War, Taylor was previously the country’s leading pole vaulter.
After winning nine caps for Wales at rugby, he would later go on to enjoy a distinguished naval career, and was engineercaptain of the HMS Tiger upon his death at the age of 51, which followed on from the Battle of Dogger Bank.
Fellow international Dick Thomas died some 18 months later, on July 7, 1916, at Mametz, Somme.
A policeman and amateur boxer, Thomas played for Glamorgan against New Zealand and South Africa in 1905 and 1906 respectively.
After enlisting in the Welsh Regiment in January 1915, he was promoted to Company Sergeant Major and was killed in action with the 16th Battalion aged 35 during the infamous Battle of the Somme.
And Dai Westacott – a docker with a fierce reputation – died at the Third Batttle of Ypres at the age of 35.
During his rugby career had played for Glamorgan against New Zealand at St Helen’s in 1905, before being named in the Wales side to take on Ireland a year later.
In 1908, he played in the Cardiff XV that beat Australia 24-8 – the Wallabies’ heaviest defeat of that tour.
He later served as a private in the 2/6th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment before his untimely death during World War One.
The men will be remembered at today’s match alongside fellow Welsh internationals who died during the First World War, namely Billy Geen, Lou Phillips, Johnny Williams, David Watts, Charlie Pritchard, Horace Thomas, Bryn Lewis, Phil Waller, Fred Perrett, and Richard Garnons Williams.