Showing posts with label WWI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WWI. Show all posts

Sunday, 9 October 2016

James Laing WWI

I haven't posted anything in a while mainly because I like to space posts out and because I have been taking advantage of Ancestry's free weekend to look up stuff [for example I found four Falkirk players that served in WWI that I never knew about].

I mean who would have known that Peter Gardiner was in the Army Pay Corp 1914-1918?, or that Thomas Bellingham [who played in the 1880s] at the age of 58 signed up for the Royal Defence Corps, or that Robert Terris was a mechanic in the Fleet Air Arm at HMS Daedalus?

Anyway I'm posting now because I found one of the worst examples of beaurocracy from the Army, ever, on James Higgins Laing's record:

On his conduct sheet, under "Offence"


I'm pretty sure, with a bit of thought, N/A, would have been applicable.

NB - Just for accuracy the other one was John Hotchkies in the A & S Highlanders.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Eben Taylor - Falkirk FC 1902-1903

When researching football players in the dim and distant past I often have to try to find out about their lives outside of football, this can help since it adds more than just puting a players name and clubs into your friendly search engine. When you throw in an adress/spouse's name/employment it just gives more options to explore.

Which is why I was very impressed when I stumbled across the army record of Ebenezer Taylor on one of those stupidly expensive genealogy sites [however I was "researching" on a day when they were giving free access to their military papers last week ;)], and most impressed when I found a letter from his employers Aitken's Brewery to the Army stating that they would re-employ him upon his demobilisation.


From his papers also came lots of biographical details, including his family, and, interestingly [to me anyway], a paper stating that he had been a P.O.W. towards the end of the War.


Now this has got me puzzled, it has the date and place of capture 28th March 1918 at Monchy [which I assume is Monchy-le-Preux], and that he was last interned at what looks like "Wallers", and it is this last name that puzzles me, I can find nothing like this name in the list of Prisoner of War centres used during the War....

As a player he seems to have been good enough, if not setting the world ablaze, and dissapeared from the team as quickly and as anonymously as he appeared. All I know about his past was a throw-away remark on his debut match about him being "a Stirling Junior", and as far as I'm aware he never kicked a ball in anger after leaving Falkirk.

He is occasionally mentioned in the Falkirk Herald, living in Penders Lane,  usually in connection with the brewery, up until 1934, when he simply dissapears, and then in 1943 he is noted as the Late E.Taylor on the occasion of the marriage of his youngest daughter. But in between I have found nothing. Looks like I'm going to have to look to the Falkirk Mail to save the day [again].

Ebenezer Taylor

b c1882, Stirling, Stirlingshire

Debut – Monday August 4th 1902 v Alloa Athletic (A) Stirlingshire Coronation Cup 1st Rd replay
League Debut – Saturday August 16th 1902 v Clyde (A) Scottish League Division 2

Positions – Inside-Right, Inside-Left, Centre-Forward

Club Honours – Stirlingshire Consolation Cup W 1902/03

Scottish League Div 2 Matches/Goals  12/2
Scottish Qualifying Cup Matches/Goals  1/-
Stirlingshire Cup Matches/Goals  1/1
Stirlingshire Consolation Cup Matches/Goals  2/-
Stirlingshire Coronation Cup Matches/Goals  1/-
Falkirk Hospitals Shield Matches/Goals  1/-
Other Matches/Goals  1/1

Total Matches/Goals  19/4

Known Career – Falkirk [1902/03-1903/04]

Played in Falkirk's first ever Scottish League Match v Clyde (A) Scottish League Division 2, 16th August 1902

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Robert Godfrey signs up for McCrae's Battalion 1914

After digging about on the internet today, I came across the attestation papers of Falkirk FC's Robert "Bob" Godfrey, one of the Falkirk players who joined the 16th Royal Scots in the very early days of the war.


A local lad, the family living on the Tryst Road, 'Bob' had just made the step up from junior football in 1912, and was begining to settle into the Falkirk side as a regular as war was breaking out.

Although normally a centre-half, he occasionally played at right-half, and was Falkirk's emergency goalkeeper [in fact he played a number of games between the sticks for the reserves].

After eventually being given a medeical discharge for having "hammer toe", Bob assisted Stenhousemuir before rejoining the Bairns for a season or two. Then he set off on a journey round many of the Scottish Second Division in the immediate post-war years.

Robert Godfrey

b c1891, Larbert, Stirlingshire

Falkirk Debut – Wednesday September 4th 1912 v Heart of Midlothian (H) Benefit Match
Falkirk League Debut – Saturday April 11th 1914 v St Mirren (A) Scottish League Division 1

Positions – Centre-Half, Right-Half, Goalkeeper [occ]

Falkirk Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup RU 1913/14, 1914/15, Stirlingshire Consolation Cup W 1912/13

Known Career – Longcroft, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy, Banknock Juniors, Falkirk [1912/13-1914/15], Stenhousemuir [WWI], Falkirk [1918/19], Bathgate [1919/20], East Stirlingshire [1919/20-1920/21], Bathgate [1920/21], Ayr United [1920/21], Alloa Athletic [1920/21], Dumbarton [1921/22], St Bernards [1921/22], Vale of Leven [1922/23], Clackmannan [1922/23], East Stirlingshire [1922/23]

NB- I have read that Robert was the Grandfather of St Mirren & Falkirk's Peter Godfrey, but have been unable to find any definitive proof of the link.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

James Richardson - WWI in Ruhleben

I have spent some time trying to find the details of all the Falkirk FC players who served in the Great War, it is not always easy because most of the files were destroyed in 1940 during the blitz. However there are long and laborious ways around this 'problem'.

However it was during this that I came across another Falkirk FC related tragedy from the first war: that of James Richardson.

James Richardson was like most Victorians Bairns, apart from the fact that due to his Father's profession of Master Mariner, he seems to have born on the Chinchas Islands off the coast of Peru in 1858!

An engineer by trade the first time we come across him in the world of football was whilst studying in Glasgow he was playing with Kelvinbank, and brought the team through to play against a team of players from Falkirk in what was reported to be the first match ever played in Falkirk. This was in December of 1877.

As far as I can tell he played no actual part in the formation of Falkirk FC, however his wee brother George was the first proper secretary of the club [so he was probably in contact], and he probably helped in teaching the initiates in the early days.

After his time in Glasgow he returned to the town where he joined Falkirk for the next couple of seasons, before getting a proper job on the high seas.

The next I learned of his life was his return from Germany at the end of World War One. It seems that the steamer on which he was serving was in port in Hamburg when war was announced between Germany and the UK, and the crew were interned in the Ruhleben Internment Camp for the duration.


Upon his return to Falkirk he got a post as tinsmith in the Gothic Works in Camelon, where he ultimately died within ten years of his time.


James Richardson 

b c1858, Peru 
d 1st October 1927, Falkirk, Stirlingshire
 
Debut – Saturday March 8th 1879 v Kelvinbank (H) Friendly
Competitive Debut – Saturday September 27th 1879 v Grasshoppers (H) Scottish Cup 1st Rd
Positions – Left-Back
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [1/-]
Other Matches/Goals [8/-]
Known Career – Kelvinbank [1877/78], Falkirk [1878/79-1880/81]
Brother of George Richardson [Falkirk 1877/78-1880/81]

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Jimmy Conlin


Jimmy Conlin was one of the ones that got away, coming to Falkirk from Lanarkshire Junior football, spending a season and a half at the club, before going back to Coatbridge, then to the English League and International football then on to foreign fields.

James was born of a Scottish Father and an English Mother in the town of Consett in County Durham, but the 1891 Census shows that the family was living in Coatbridge. His subsequent siblings were all born in the town from 1885, so it likely he was living there from at least the age of four.

It is often listed in books that he played football for Cambuslang then Hibs before moving to Falkirk FC, but I believe that to be a mistaken reading for the junior club Cambuslang Hibernian from what it said in the Falkirk Herald. James came to Falkirk a fortuitous time for both the club and the player, really good Left Wingers are notoriously hard to find [He was what become known as a 'nippy wee winger' with a burst of pace and a well placed low shot into the centre] and Falkirk were gearing up towards the team that would join the Scottish League shortly after he went back to Coatbridge.

After a relatively successfull period with his 'home' club, the English Scouts came looking and he was picked up by Bradford City [Sources say about £50], where he was selected to play for international side against Scotland. He soon moved to Manchester City where he was chosen in the League International to add to his honours.


However he had that human weakness that inflicts many a young man with money and time to spare: Drink. After a season with Birmingham City he was soon dispatched north of the border again this time to Airdrieonians, who soon discovered to their cost of his affliction, and after some run-ins with the management was told he was no longer needed by the club. It is reported he ended his football with a season with Broxburn Athletic but little evidence can be found of his play at the club.

Without a job and with a family to feed Jimmy signed up for the colours soon after the outbreak of the War, where he was to die on a field in Flanders, Belgium [like so many no remains were recovered].


With Falkirk FC c1900

James Conlin

b 6th July 1881, Consett, Durham
d 24th June 1917, Flanders, Belgium

Debut – Saturday December 30th 1899 v East Stirlingshire (A) Falkirk & District League
Positions – Outside-Left

Club Honours – Central Combination W 1899/00

Minor League Matches/Goals [16/7]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [1/2]
Other Matches/Goals [5/1]

Known Career – Captain Colt's Rovers, Airdrie St Margarets, Cambuslang Hibernian, Falkirk [1899/00-1900/01], Albion Rovers [1900/01-1904/05], Bradford City [1904/05-1905/06], Manchester City [1906/07-1910/11], Birmingham City [1911/12], Airdrieonians [1912/13], Broxburn Athletic [1913/14]

Falkirk FC in the Great War

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Charlie Stirling - Prisoner of War

I do not always blog about Falkirk FC and this is the case for this post. Over the last couple of weeks in my spare time I have been reading quite a bit about "The Great War", and sometimes trying to research the role of some Falkirk players in that struggle.

In doing so I remembered from somewhere in the back of my mind reading about an East stirlingshire footballer's travails in a German POW Camp, so I had a rake through a big box of pages and pages of football-related stuff that I just can't throw away [for which I seriously need to take a week off to put in some kind of logical order]. Anyway I found the article, and since it was published in a now defunct paper which is not available online yet, I have decided [lazily as it means I do not have to write anything original] to reproduce it here.

It is a bit awkward reading the last paragraph, as it shows a definite level of ignorance in Britain of how football had been an international success since the late 19th Century; The Home Nations being amongst the least 'international' the Countries where football was established.

Falkirk Mail - Edition - 18th January 1919

“Pte. Charles Stirling , of the A. and S.H., who for a season or two played left half-back for the East Stirlingshire F.C., has just returned, after four years captivity in Germany, to his home in West Main Street, Stenhousemuir.
Interviewed by a 'Mail' reporter regarding his experiences in the enemy's hands, Pte. Stirling had much to tell of Hun brutality and coarseness.
Captured on 21st October 1914, he was first taken to Göttingen Camp, where he spent eight long months of torture and privations. The food, of course, was very poor, being merely black coffee, a little bread, and turnip water, or, as the Germans liked to term it, “soup”.
About the beginning of 1915 Pte. Stirling was an eye-witness of many horrible cruelties. A Glasgow man, the name of McEwan, who was in the Scots Guards, was one day going to see the doctor about an injured ankle at the same time as a party of 300 Englishmen were marching out of the camp to work. A sentry seeing McEwan thought he was a member of the work party, and had slipped out of the ranks in an attempt to evade the toil. He accordingly challenged the Glasgow man, who explained that he was on his way to see the doctor, at the same time showing his injured ankle.
The sentry refused to believe the explanation and lifting his rifle shot the man through the heart. It was deliberate murder, and when the rest of the Scots in the camp heard of it their rage knew no bounds, and many threatened to “do in” that sentry.
For three hours on end during three successive days Pte. Stirling was forced to stand at attention for attempting to evade work one day.
In the cook-house, where many stores were kept, only Belgians and French were allowed to work. The Germans were afraid that the Britishers would thieve too much foodstuffs, and so prevented them from coming near. Pte. Stirling, along with some others, donned a Belgian's cap and other uniform, and watching their chance, slipped in, grabbed as many potatoes and as much bread as they could safely stow away on their persons, and when an opportunity presented itself dodged out and away.
Many times prisoners were caught in the act by the Germans in charge, and were unmercifully beaten with large sticks before being sent to the cells to stay for five days on bread and water.
While at Beinrode Camp, near Brunswick, Pte. Stirling was forced to work in a salt mine about half a mile deep. The heat was dreadful, and the prisoners had to work clad only in their trousers and boots.
In this particular mine one German scientist was experimenting with the minerals and attempting to form poison gas for bombs out of the salt.
While at Celle Camp, where he was taken for refusing to work, Pte. Stirling organised a football team among the Scots, and on one memorable occasion defeated the English team by 4 goals to 3. The Belgians and the French took to the game like young ducks to water, and even the German soldiery evinced a keen interest, and played the game amongst themselves.
Pte. Stirling considers that when conditions have begun to settle the Belgians and French will run international matches on much the same lines as we do in this country.”
Note - The first Belgium v France International Football Match was played in Brussels on the 1st of May 1904, the two Countries played each other on an annual basis until the outbreak of the war....