• Keith Gregson

Whitsuntide - A Time To Remember

The 1/7 (territorial) battalion of the Durham Light Infantry landed in France on 19 April 1915. By early May its members were moving around in the Ypres sector and awaiting their first taste of action. On 21st May, weeks after the Germans first started using gas, companies of the battalion took charge of the front line ‘from the railway line to Bellewarde Lake’. On and around the 24 th

May, according to Westlake’s ‘Battalions on the Western Front’:

" 'A' and 'B'; Companies in the front line came under gas attack, heavy bombardment followed by infantry assault and forced to withdraw to GHQ Line. Casualties included Cpt. FM Wawn, Lt's. A Rhodes, J. Meek, 2ndLts. RW Adamson and AWS Stockdale killed."

Wawn, Meek, Adamson and Stockdale were all members of what is now Ashbrooke Sports Club. Six more club members died as a result of the actions carried out around the Whit weekend of 1915 and a further six were wounded. As a result, the following entry appeared in the Sunderland Cricket Club minutes for 31 May:

‘Owing to the Seventh Durhams being in action and several of our members reported killed and wounded it was resolved that First and Second team matches for Saturday first be cancelled’.

The following club members were killed over the Whit period (the references will be explained later):

SCFC/FWW 26 Frank Blair-Allen – Sports Not Known

SCFC/FWW 39 Arnold Corder – Rugby and Cricket

SCFC/FWW 86 Charles W Hines -Not Known

SCFC/FWW 125 John Meek - Cricket

SCFC/FWW 134 Wilfred Morton – Rugby and Cricket

SCFC/FWW 185 Arthur William Sinclair Stockdale – Rugby and Cricket

SCFC/FWW 191 Edgar Frederick Squance – Not Known

SCFC/FWW 198 Charles Adolphus Todd -Rugby and Cricket

SCFC/FWW 212 Frederick M Wawn – Rugby

SCFC/FWW 226 Robert W Adamson – Rugby

Hopper and Stockdale – in the middle is William Legat – he was wounded twice later in the war and lost his rugby playing brother to enemy action

And the following wounded

SCFC/FWW 11James A Bell - Not Known

SCFC/FWW 13 Arthur H Birchall – Rugby and Cricket

SCFC/FWW 85 Patrick Hickey – Rugby and Cricket

SCFC/FWW 87 John Hopper – Rugby and Cricket

SCFC/FWW 118 M E Mail - Rugby

SCFC/FWW 149 Charles Pickersgill – Rugby, Cricket, Tennis and Bowls


Pickersgill and Hopper - Rugby

SCFC/FWW refers to the reference allocated to the detailed biographical studies of their lives, club contribution and war service in the online book:

'CAN YOU DO NOTHING TO MEND MY BROKEN HEART?’

THE ASHBROOKE BOYS - A SPORTS CLUB AT WAR (1914 -18)

This covers members of the club who were in the services during the war and contains over 250 case studies, analysis and illustrations.  Download at https://shoptly.com/i/w4r/ . The cost is £10 with £5 going to a club based charity - the John Drummond Trust and £5 to our memorial stand - The Last Stand.

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2020 Update

Hi, everybody. You will have realised by now that this blog is no longer active but it still has historical uses. If interested in the history of most of the sports in Sunderland, please trawl throug