Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Remembering Worcs Ccc Players Who Died On The Western Front

Remembering Worcs Ccc Players Who Died On The Western Front

A lengthy commemoration of the first Worcestershire CCC player to die in the First World War, Captain A S Nesbitt, and information about several other deaths in families closely associated with our county cricket club in those early months, was published on the Worcestershire CCC website on November 7, 2014.

The following extracts are also from the 500 page book 'Pears 150, the life and times of WCCC 1865-2014'

In the four months since Arnold Nesbitt’s death, war mobilisation gathered pace. On December 5 1914, career soldier, JEV Johnnie Isaac,34, (WCCC 1907-08 ), serving with The Rifle Brigade in France, was awarded the DSO for bravery under fire.

By Christmas 1914, the Berrows Worcester Journal reported that at least a team of WCCC players and staff had already joined up.

These included, BG Stevens,28, HG Bache,24, C Ryder,22 (who went to Burma with The Hampshires), HO Rogers (Oxford & Bucks Regiment), WH Taylor,29, and MFS Jewell,29, (The Royal Artillery), GN Foster,29, NJA Foster,24, GF Jones-Williams,34 (Queens Bays), and CGA Collier,28, (The Engineers).

Major E Bromley-Martin was with The Worcester Yeomanry. Dick Burrows,43, had two sons in Kitchener’s Army, and two of Frank Chester’s older brothers were at the Front.

Many members had joined the local Civil Guard. More than 160 Old Vigornians (past pupils of King’s School) were already serving in HM Forces.

In December, Lord Cobham had announced that WCCC’s 1914 debt of £656 had been wiped out, and then on February 6 1915, Worcestershire CCC issued “notices of suspension” for 12 months to its professional cricketers because of the war.

They had already agreed to take only six months pay (now elapsed) and were free to accept other engagements until first class cricket returned.

Fred Bowley was appointed cricket coach at Repton School.

On 12th March 1915, two more players who had represented WCCC, one before first class status, were killed in action, on the Western Front.

Lt Col ECF Wodehouse,43, DSO, had played for WCCC in 1890 and 1892, before first class status. Ernest was a very keen cricketer who had married Amy Violet Isaac, sister of WCCC cricketers, Arthur and Johnnie Isaac of Boughton Park.

A career soldier, Wodehouse had recently been made officer commanding the 1st Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment in France.

On March 12, he was killed in fierce fighting at Neuve Chapelle. Ernest Wodehouse has several memorials, including Panel 17/18 on Le Touret Memorial NE of Bethune, a Worcester Cathedral cloisters window, Norton Church, St. John’s Church and Worcester Guildhall.

On the same day, 2nd Lieutenant FB Burr, 27, was killed in action at Kemmel, Belgium.

Frederick Bonham Burr was born on August 2, 1887 Blacklands, Hastings, Sussex, the son of Rev George Frederick and Caroline Burr, of Highfields Park, Halesowen, Worcs. He was educated at Sandroyd and Denstone College, and Keble Coll, Oxford University.

FB Burr is commemorated on the Denstone College War Memorial (recorded as killed in action at Neuve Chapelle) and in their books of condolence. At Oxford University, he is commemorated in a photograph in the album honouring Keble’s war dead, and named on The Great War Memorial panels outside Keble College Chapel.

He played one game for Worcestershire in 1911 against Oxford University at Oxford, scoring 39 and seven not out.

He joined the 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment on August 5 1914, as a Second Lieutenant. The Oxford University Roll of Service says FR Burr attained the rank of Captain before he was killed.