Wales’ rugby play­ers who laid down their lives in WWI

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

CHARLES TAY­LOR

PO­SI­TION: Back CAPS: Nine 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.

Born to English par­ents, Tay­lor was known for his “As­so­ci­a­tion”-style of play, go­ing in for fly­ing kicks and hardly ever fail­ing to bring them off.

He would later go on to en­joy a dis­tin­guished naval ca­reer and was en­gi­neer-cap­tain of the HMS Tiger upon his death at the age of 51, fol­low­ing the Bat­tle of Dog­ger Bank.

In 1909, Tay­lor’s sis­ter Lil­ian Maud mar­ried Llewe­lyn Ken­rick, a Welsh foot­ball in­ter­na­tional who would later go on to help found the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of Wales.

BILLY GEEN

PO­SI­TION: Winger CAPS: Three DIED: On July 31, 1915, at Hooge, Flan­ders, Bel­gium. A PLAYER known for his pace, Geen was a key part of the Newport side who over­came South Africa in 1912, and made his Wales de­but seven weeks later against the same op­po­nents. He was ac­tu­ally once picked by Eng­land for a trial match and even scored a try, but he was never picked for a full com­pet­i­tive cap. Geen was com­mis­sioned into the 9th Bat­tal­ion King’s Royal Ri­fle Corps and was killed in ac­tion at the age of 24, mak­ing him the youngest Welsh in­ter­na­tional to die in World War I. RICHARD GARNONS WIL­LIAMS PO­SI­TION: For­ward CAPS: One DIED: On Septem­ber 28, 1915, at Loos-en-Go­helle, France. AT 59, Wil­liams was the old­est rugby in­ter­na­tional of any na­tion to die in the war. His body was never found.

Af­ter al­ready see­ing mil­i­tary ser­vice in Gi­bral­tar and Egypt, Wil­liams made his one and only ap­pear­ance for Wales against Eng­land in 1881.

He served as a lieu­tenant colonel in the 12th Bat­tal­ion Fusiliers.

LOU PHILLIPS

PO­SI­TION: Half-back CAPS: Four DIED: On March 14, 1916, at Cam­brin, France. AN AR­CHI­TECT from Newport, Phillips was a mem­ber of the 1900 Triple Crown-win­ning side, be­fore his rugby ca­reer was brought to an abrupt end fol­low­ing an in­jury against Scot­land in 1901.

He would later go on to be a suc­cess­ful am­a­teur golfer, be­fore serv­ing in the 20th Bat­tal­ion of the Royal Fusiliers as a sergeant. He was killed aged 38.

DICK THOMAS

PO­SI­TION: For­ward CAPS: Four DIED: On July 7, 1916, at Mametz, Somme, France. 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 Bat­tle of the Somme. JOHNNY WIL­LIAMS PO­SI­TION: Winger CAPS: 17

DIED ON: On July 12, 1916, at Mametz, Somme, France. THE tricky winger av­er­aged a try a game for Wales and tasted de­feat with his coun­try on just two oc­ca­sions. He also played in three Grand Slamwin­ning sides and cap­tained his coun­try against France in 1911.

Wil­liams later served as a cap­tain in the 16th Bat­tal­ion Welsh Reg­i­ment be­fore a piece of shrap­nel caused cat­a­strophic in­juries to his leg dur­ing the at­tack on Mametz Wood. His leg was later am­pu­tated and he died five days later aged 34. DAVID WATTS PO­SI­TION: For­ward CAPS: Four DIED: On July 14, 1916, at Bazentin, France. DAVID “Dai” Watts was a col­lier and a key mem­ber of the Wales side who took on the Bar­bar­ians in 1915. He later served as a cor­po­ral in the 7th Bat­tal­ion King’s Shrop­shire Light In­fantry, and fell fight­ing in the Bat­tle of Bazentin at the Somme, aged 30. CHAR­LIE PRITCHARD PO­SI­TION: For­ward CAPS: 14 DIED: On Au­gust 14, 1916, at Choc­ques, France. PRITCHARD, who worked as a part­ner in his fa­ther’s wine mer­chant busi­ness, was said to have never com­mit­ted a foul dur­ing his rugby ca­reer, de­spite his rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing one of the tough­est tack­lers in the game. It’s be­lieved his party trick in train­ing was to hold two men above his head be­fore then drop­ping them on the ground.

As well as his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer, he also cap­tained Newport from 1906-09, be­fore later be­com­ing a cap­tain in 12th Bat­tal­ion The South Wales Border­ers. He died aged 34 lead­ing a night­time raid near Loos and is buried north-west of Bethune.

HO­RACE THOMAS

PO­SI­TION: Out­side-half CAPS: Two DIED: On Septem­ber 3, 1916, at Guille­mont, France. A CHO­RAL scholar at Cam­bridge Univer­sity, Thomas played against South Africa and Eng­land be­tween 1912-13, be­fore busi­ness took him to In­dia be­tween 1913-15, where he served as a pri­vate in the Cal­cutta Port De­fence Vol­un­teer Corps. Thomas was killed at the age of 26 dur­ing the Bat­tle of the Somme.

BRYN LEWIS

PO­SI­TION: Winger CAPS: Two DIED: On April 2, 1917, at Ypres, Bel­gium. A GRO­CER’S son from Pon­tar­dawe, Lewis played for Cam­bridge Univer­sity and Glam­or­gan against South Africa in 1912, be­fore go­ing on to rep­re­sent Wales twice – both times against Ire­land. While in mil­i­tary train­ing, Lewis also played in a Welsh XV against the Bar­bar­ians in 1915, be­fore be­com­ing a ma­jor in the 122 Bridge of the Royal Field Ar­tillery.

He was killed by a shell two years later. He was 26. DAI WESTACOTT PO­SI­TION: For­ward CAPS: One DIED: On Au­gust 27, 1917, at Zon­nebeke, Bel­gium. A DOCKER with a fierce rep­u­ta­tion, Westacott was in­fa­mously fined £10 plus costs af­ter be­ing in­volved in an al­ter­ca­tion with two po­lice­man in 1906, an in­ci­dent that left both of­fi­cers nurs­ing in­juries.

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 and was killed at the Third Bat­tle of Ypres. He was 35. PHIL WALLER PO­SI­TION: For­ward CAPS: Six DIED: On De­cem­ber 14, 1917, at Ar­ras, France. WALLER, who was 28 when he was killed, never ap­peared in a los­ing Welsh XV and was a mem­ber of the side that won the Triple Crown and Grand Slam in 1909.

He also played 23 times in the Bri­tish Isles’ 24-match tour of South Africa, and re­mained in the coun­try to later serve as a 2nd Lieu­tenant in the 71st (South African) Siege Bat­tery.

FRED PERRETT

PO­SI­TION: For­ward CAPS: Five DIED: On De­cem­ber 1, 1918, at Boulogne, France. AF­TER win­ning five caps for Wales, Perrett switched codes to join Leeds RLFC in 1913, be­fore later play­ing for Hull a year later.

Orig­i­nally from Bri­ton Ferry, he served as a 2nd Lieu­tenant in the 17th Bat­tal­ion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and died aged 27 af­ter suf­fer­ing a se­condary hem­or­rhage fol­low­ing wounds sus­tained in the Bat­tle of the Sam­bre a week be­fore the Ar­mistice.

SI­MON GAL­LOWAY

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