On 29 April the Rugby Football Union (RFU) unveiled the Rose and Poppy gates at Twickenham. A Trinity College wreath was laid in memory of Trinity’s rugby blues who fell in the First World War.
The unveiling of the Rose and Poppy Gates forms a central part of the RFU’s commemorations of WWI. Following the short service, with music from the Royal Military School of Music and attended by local and national dignitaries and military representatives, a wreath from Trinity was laid alongside the gates in memory of the six Trinity rugby Blues who fell in the War. The wreath was laid by Lewis Anderson, current DPhil student and Trinity rugby Blue, who played in his sixth and final Varsity match last December. He was joined by Ian Ritchie (1972), CEO of the RFU.
Trinity’s WWI Rugby Blues
The War Memorial boards in Trinity’s Library list 159 members who fell in the First World War. Their ages ranged from 19 to 56, although the majority were in their twenties, and more than a quarter had given up their degrees in order to enlist in 1914.
Six of the fallen were Rugby Blues – only one other Oxford college (University) lost more. They were:
Frederic Turner (1907), Second Lieutenant, The King’s (Liverpool Scottish Regiment). Killed by a sniper in the front line near Kemmel, Ypres, on 10 January 1915. Aged 27.
Fred Turner was a triple blue, playing in the Varsity matches of 1908, 1909 and 1910, in which year he was Captain. Fred read Law, then entered the family printing business in Liverpool. He played for Liverpool (Liverpool St Helens RUFC) and won 15 caps for Scotland between 1911 and 1914, becoming Scottish Captain in 1914.
Thomas Allen (1907), Second lieutenant, Irish Guards. Killed by a shell falling in the front line trench near Béthune, France, on 26 February 1915. Aged 27.
Tom Allen read History. He played rugby for Trinity throughout his time at Oxford, and won his Blue in 1909. After graduating he went to work at the College Mission in the East End of London, where he devoted himself to the alleviation of the effects of poverty, and to running social and educational boys’ clubs.
David Bain (1910), Captain, Gordon Highlanders. Killed by a shell at Festubert, France, on 3 June 1915. Aged 24.
David McLaren Bain (pictured below) was a quadruple Rugby Blue (1910-13) and a Scottish international who played in the Calcutta Cup while a Fresher at Trinity. He made nine appearances in the national side, playing as captain against Wales in 1914. David read Classics, and was a member of the University OTC.
Allan Gilmour (1908), Captain, Cameron Highlanders. Died at Salonika on 16 December, 1917, of wounds received at Salmah, Macedonia, on 24 October. Aged 28.
Allan Gilmour was captain of the Trinity XV and a member of the college VIII. He won a Blue in 1911. After completing his degree in History he returned to the family home in Scotland, where he played for Edinburgh Academicals. He left a widow and a baby son, also named Allan.
Maxwell Robertson (1894), Captain, Royal Iniskilling Fusiliers. Killed in action on the First Day of the Somme, 1 July 1916. Aged 41.
Maxwell Robertson played in the Varsity matches of 1894 (as a fresher) and 1896. He read Law, and became a barrister of the Inner Temple. Maxwell played for London Scottish before marrying and settling in Hampshire.
Harold Hodges, Captain, Monmouthshire Regiment . Killed in action near Ham, Belgium, on 24 March 1918. Aged 32.
Harold Hodges won his Blue and was Captain of the Oxford XV in 1908. He was twice capped for England in 1906 and also played first class cricket for Nottinghamshire. Harold fought on the Western Front for three years, was twice wounded in action, and twice mentioned in despatches.
Updated: 3 May 2016