Sunday, November 11th, 2018

Remembering Armistice Day And County Players Who Lost Their Lives

Today we commemorate the centenary anniversary of Armistice Day and the Worcestershire CCC players who lost their lives during the First World War.

The outbreak of war meant there would be no County Championship cricket for five years.

As with so many matches in that August of 1914, some players dropped everything in order to return to their military units.  Two of the Foster brotherhood who played for Worcestershire were compelled to do this during a match at Edgbaston.

In Lord Cobham revealed the fate that had befallen left-hander Frank Chester who lost an arm during the fighting in Mesopotamia.

Chester had played in 54 matches for Worcestershire and had hit four centuries and also took 81 wickets with slow left-arm. Lord Cobham went as far as to say that no cricketer since W.G.Grace had shown such promise as an 18-year-old.

It was not then foreseeable that Chester would become a highly respected umpire, standing in 48 Tests either side of the Second World War.

With victory in the war, Britain looked at a deeply damaged and disorientated community, and Worcestershire did not take part in the 1919 Championship.

Fixtures were arranged with several first-class counties as the calendar permitted.

The Worcestershire cricketers who lost their lives in the First World War were:

Arnold Stearns Nesbitt born Weybridge, Surrey, October 16, 1878; died Ploegsteert Wood, Belgium, November 7, 1914.  Captain 3 Battalion Worcester Regiment.  Educated Bradfield.  Worcestershire 1 match 1914: 5 runs at 5.00; 1 catch.

Frederick Bonham Burr born Hastings, August 2, 1887; died Kemmel, Belgium, March 12, 1915.  Lieutenant Worcestershire Regiment.  Educated Denstone.  Oxford freshman.  Worcestershire 1 match 1911: 46 runs at 46.00, HS 39; 1 catch.  His brother Alfred lost his life in 1918.

John Edmund Valentine Isaac born Powick Court, Worcs, February 14, 1880; died Fromelles Ridge, France, May 9, 1915.  Brother of A.W.Isaac: see below.  Captain 2 Battalion Rifle Brigade.  DSO.  Educated Harrow.  Brother (A.W.Isaac – see below) and uncle of Worcestershire players.  First-class debut in South Africa 1905-06; also played for Orange Free State; was a gentleman jockey.   Worcestershire 5 matches 1907-08.  First-class: 10 matches 140 runs at 8.75; 2 catches.

Bernard Philip Neville born Wellingore Hall, Lincolnshire, August 1, 1888;  died Ypres, Belgium, February 11, 1916.  Captain Lincolnshire Regiment.  Educated Downside.  Fast bowler.  Captained Lincolnshire.  Worcestershire 5 matches 1913.  First-class: 6 matches 1912-13: 65 runs at 8.12; HS 17 not out; 1 catch.

Harold Godfrey Bache born Churchill, Worcestershire, August 20, 1889; died Comines Canal, Ypres, Belgium, February 15, 1916.  Lieutenant Lancashire Fusiliers.  Educated King Edward VI Grammar School Birmingham.  Left-hand batsman; left-arm slow bowler.  Cambridge University (no blue).  Worcestershire 17 matches 1907-10.  First-class: 20 matches 1907-10: 270 runs at 9.00; HS 36; 5 catches; 3 wickets at 13.00; best 2 for 4.

William Beaumont Burns born Rugeley, Staffordshire, August 29, 1883; died Contalmaison, France, July 7, 1916.  2nd Lieutenant Worcestershire Regiment.  Educated King’s School, Ely.  Hard-hitting right-hander and fast bowler (action sometimes questioned).  Worcestershire 196 matches 1903-13.  MCC to New Zealand 1906-07.  First-class: 217 matches 1903-13: 9479 runs at 27.00; HS 196; 147 catches; 214 wickets at 29.59; best 7 for 58.  His 196 was against Warwickshire at Edgbaston,1909: 393 with Ted Arnold for 5th wicket.  334 for Gentlemen of Worcestershire v Gentlemen of Staffordshire.  Took 7 for 58 (3 in 4 balls) Gentlemen v Players, Oval 1911.  Bowling action sometimes questioned.  Settled in Canada.

Arthur Whitmore Isaac born Powick Court, Worcestershire, October 4, 1873; died Contalmaison, France, July 7, 1916.  Brother of J.E.V.Isaac (see above).  Lieutenant Worcestershire Regiment.  Educated Harrow and Oxford University.  Right-hander.  Worcestershire 51 matches 1890-1911: HS 60.  First-class: 52 matches 1899-1913: 1136 runs at 13.85; 9 catches.  Worcestershire treasurer and committee member.  Killed alongside W.B.Burns.

Christopher George Arthur Collier born Banff, Scotland, August 23, 1886; died Mametz, France, August 25, 1916.  Staff Sergeant Army Ordnance Corps.  Worcestershire 53 matches 1910-14: 1021 runs at 12.92; HS 72 v Hampshire; 10 wickets at 36.90; best 3 for 28.

John Francis Sartorius Winnington born Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire, September 17, 1876; died Kefar Kassin, Palestine, September 22, 1918.  Lieutenant-Colonel Worcestershire Regiment and Northamptonshire Regiment.  DSO; Mentioned in despatches 4 times.  Worcestershire 1 match 1908: 20 runs at 10.00.

Cecil Howard Palmer born Eastbourne, July 14, 1873; died Gallipol, July 26, 1915. Educated Radley and Eastbourne. Lieutenant-Colonel 9th Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Hampshire 8 matches 1899-1907. One match for Worcestershire 1904. Thus played for two counties in one season. Regular soldier.