Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Soccer Player Enlistments 1915. A vital founding document.

This is the article I've been searching for  a kind of foundation point for the database of Victorian soccer soldiers in WW1. Of the 500 or so who enlisted, 114 are named below, alongside their clubs, As the article suggests, the list is incomplete at the time. Also there are OCR errors and literal errors that need to be accounted for. Nonetheless it's a great starting point. 
The article is in the Winner on the April 28, 1915 (3 days after the carnage of Gallipoli but before the facts were known). The fixtures referred to in the the article are here. The Winner has only recently been digitised and as Mark Boric suggested, it is a real boon for soccer historians. This was a paper that took the game seriously and gave it substantial coverage.




The Victorian Amateur British Football Association, which opens its campaign on Saturday afternoon next has had both its playing and ordinary members' ranks seriously depleted by the call to arms since the outbreak of war. In consequence, the executive of the association have passed through a rather serious ordeal since the close of last season, but the clubs have rallied well to the occasion, and the prospects for season 1915 are by no means of the gloomy order. Though the list of those soccerites who have volunteered for active service with the Expeditionary Forces are not quite complete, the following names to be placed on The Winner's roll of honor, for which I am indebted to Secretary E. C. Crawford, will prove of interest : —

  • N. and D. — R. Martin. W. Knox, T. Norton. W. Richardson, J. Wallace, J. Maughan [?], J. Morgan. — Hutchinson, — Thompson, H. Weston, F. Harper, — Finch, J. Stubbs, —Derbyshire, P. Grogan.
  • Burns. — W. Lycett. 
  • Preston. — R. C. May, . Geo. Hew...? Phelps, P. Minter, Geo. Latimer. F. Williams, Geo. Rumbol. 
  • Yarraville. — R. Hamilton, E. Jones. ?.Vaughan. 
  • St. Kilda. — F. Hopwood, H. Lowe, H. A. Lowe, T. E. Lowe, F. Waterhouse, F. Garwood, T. Spencer, J. Vass, J. Kemp[?]rey.
  • Thistle. — J. Guthrie, J. Parkinson, W. M'Laughlin, T. Jones, J. M'Kenzie, R.M'Lardy.
  • Albert Park. — G. Jeffrey, G. Fraser, J. Cox, H. Weston. T. Jennanway, T. Millar, W. Morrison, W. Fairweather, A. Dewar, J. Knight, T. Knight, T. Flowers, A. Stirrup, C. Price, H. Kelly.
  • Hawthorn. — H. Matthews, W. Matthews, G. Matthews, A. — Simmons, G. Foster, W. Foster.
  • Birmingham Victoria. — G. Talbot, F. Heywood, A. Hyde, D. Walker, L. Dymond, B.Golding, G. Sheppard, S. Dethridge, Jas. Greaves. 
  • Footscray Thistle. — D. Smith, A. Stephens, J. Malcolm, D. M'Donald, B. Gow.
  • Prahran City. — C. Gray, — Impy, F. Helps, A. Baker, — Stretton, J. Brown, F. Wright,— Gottschild, — Asdown, F. Keating. —Witham, — Roberts, — Shalders, — Kennedy. — Lane, T. Hutton.
  • Spotswood. — W. Cattrall, R. Linn, — Price.H. Mobbs, — Thorpe, A. Taunton, H. Lomax, G. Catchpole, R. Catchpole, — Chorley, R.Blair, B. Issard.
  • Cambrian United. — J. M'Pettigrue, W. Glenister. F. Piggott, J. Lewis, H. Lewis, J. Evans, O. Thomas, W. Manderson, H. Jones, J.Roberts.

There are 19 entrants for the League this season, and, as will be seen from the fixture list given below, two new clubs — the H.M.A.S. Cerberus and Windsor — figure in the list. Thirteen entries were received for the first division of the League, which the Association management decided to divide into two sections as follows: —

Section A. — Spotswood, Northumberland and Durham United, Footscray Thistle, Yarraville, Albert Park and H.M.A.S. Cerberus.

Section B. — Burns, Birmingham Vics., St. Kilda, Thistle, Preston, Sandringham and Prahran.

It has been resolved that to decide the premiership, the first and second in the above sections shall do battle at the end of the season, and there is every promise of a big fight for the blue riband of Victorian Soccer. Clubs in the second division of the League are Cambrian United, Hawthorn, Spotswood A., Thistle A., St. Kilda A., and Windsor. Though the various teams have indulged in practice games of late, and many of the players have shown promising form. I do not intend so early in the season to attempt to forecast the prospects of the individual clubs. I know, however, that there have been transfers of some good players to clubs which will have a tendency to considerably weaken those organisations from which they have seceded. In the near future, I may have something to say on this important matter.

The Football Council, under the presidency of Mr H. C. Dockerty, are determined to further the interests of the soccer code in the metropolitan area, and the indefatigable hon. secretary —Mr B. C. Crawford — seems to have a lot of hard work in front of him. I regret that the calls of business has necessitated the withdrawal of Mr W.B. Gilbert from the Council, as thatgentleman was a thorough and conscientious worker in the interests of the game.


  1. It's quite hard to find service records at the NLA with just a surname or initial. But there was only one enlistment from Victoria by the name of George Latimer.

    George Edward Latimer joined up in August 1914. At enlistment he was quite a portly fellow for the time at nearly 80 kilos but only 171 cms tall.

    Originally from Lancashire he worked as a hospital attendant (and lived at) the Kew Asylum.

    At enlistment he claimed to have served in the RAMC in the UK but they later denied any knowledge of him. I suspect that he may have been a merchant seaman and jumped ship in Australia (like Simpson and Bill Hayden's dad) for he had nautical style tattoos recorded at enlistment.

    He would have found employment as an attendant at a lunatic asylum (as they were then known) easy to come by as then as now this was not a particularly sought after job and required a bit of beef in order to restrain the less docile patients in those days before modern medication.

    He served in the 2nd Field Ambulance at Gallipoli where he was killed in action at Anzac in June 1915 at the age of 27.

    He left his estate in his army pro-forma pay book will to his "dear friend" Miss Mary McCarthy of 3 Ballarat Street, Collingwood. At his death his possessions included his "disc, belt, book, note book, prayer book and 4 coins".

    The Army did not send Mary his stuff or his scroll and medals nor did she get any pension. Despite having her address they advertised for his next of kin in the Australian papers in 1920 and she responded in a letter with what she knew. As there was no blood kin to be found his medals etc were retained and no doubt languish in some dusty box to this day.

    George's grave can be found at the Lone Pine Cemetery.

    What a waste.

    Lest we forget.

  2. No B. Issard but there are two brothers Herbert and George of Melbourne. Would it be safe to assume that Herbert would be known as Bert?

    There's nothing at all for a Gottschild in the NLA but he may have changed his name on enlistment (as my Dad, a German, did when joined the British Army in 1942).

  3. George Rumbol was a bricklayer and had emigrated from England some years before he enlisted on 15 April 1915. His mum, Ada, stayed in Kingston-upon-Thames living in what still looks like a comfortable, if small, semi-detached two story house.

    George was 26 when he enlisted in Melbourne and was posted to the 24th Ballalion. His height and weight are given as 5ft 7in and 11 stone.

    It is not clear when he sailed off for war but by the end of September he had been promoted in the field to Corporal and a month later to Sergeant. On the 29th November he was killed in action at Browns Dip south of Anzac. His remains were later reburied in the Lone Pine Cemetery.

    His mother received a pension from the Australian government and after the war his medals and effects were sent to her.

    George must have been a gregarious chap as some of his Australian friends wrote to the army authorities asking for his mum's address so they could send their condolences.

    What a waste.

    Lest we forget.

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