1913 -1914 TEAM PEN PORTRAITS
ALEX ANGUS – THREE-QUARTER
Not on the photograph, but worthy of inclusion, Alex Angus was a Chartered Accountant before the war. He played 18 times for Scotland before moving to work in Liverpool and play for the club during the 1913/14 season. During the war, Alex Angus was a Lieutenant Colonel, who won the Distinguished Service Order and was mentioned in dispatches three times “for gallant and distinguished services in the field”. He died in March 1947 aged 57.
13. JAMES CLEGG – FORWARD
Little is known of James Clegg, unlike many of his contemporaries. He joined the Liverpool Scottish when war was declared on the 28th of July 1914. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 30th of January 1915 and fought in France before being transferred to the King’s African Rifles. Further information on James Clegg has been lost in time.
3. ROBERT CUNNINGHAM – 2nd ROW
A product of Rugby School, Robert Cunningham was a partner in his family’s cotton importation business when war was declared in 1914. He set off for France as a 2nd Lieutenant but quickly rose through the ranks to become a Major. He was wounded in action three times and was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery, but survived the war.
12. GEORGE DAVEY – SCRUM HALF
George Davey was a cotton merchant working in Liverpool before the war, and a stalwart of the 1913/14 team. Like many of his team mates, Davey joined the Liverpool Scottish and rose to the rank of Captain, being awarded the Military Cross for his bravery. At the end of the war, he was one of only three players to resume their rugby career at Liverpool. George Davey was President of Liverpool FC from 1949 to 1953.
15. ERIC COWAN – FULL BACK
The younger brother of team mate George Cowan, Eric was the Full Back in the 1913 team. At the outbreak of war, he joined the King Edward’s Horse and rose to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He was shot whilst at the front, and sent back to Kent, to be operated on, but sadly he died on the 28th of February 1916. Eric Cowan was buried at Liverpool’s Toxteth Park Cemetary with full military honours.
8. TRACY FOWLER – HOOKER
Born in Surrey, Tracy Fowler was a rugby Cambridge Blue and also a reserve for England in 1913. During the Great War, Fowler served as a Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy Naval Reserve. He survived the war and moved to the Isle of Wight, where he lived until his death in 1955 at the age of 63.
2. JAMES GRANT – FORWARD
James Grant, of Scottish descent worked as a Commercial Clerk in Liverpool before the war, and enlisted into the Liverpool Scottish in 1913, the year before hostilities broke out, so he was one of the first to fight on the Western Front in November 1914. As a
2nd Lieutenant, he suffered the full horrors of trench life, and ill health forced him to return to Britain, where he died of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1919, aged 27.
1. CHARLES HILL – FORWARD
Charles Hill was an Articled Clerk, working for a solicitors firm in Ormskirk. When war broke out, he volunteered and rose to the rank of Captain. Hill was awarded the Military Cross with Bar for “Conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty”. He survived the war and lived in Ormskirk until his death in 1977 aged 82.
6. ROBERT JACKSON – WING
Robert Jackson was Liverpool’s top try scorer in their 1913 season, with 39 out of the team’s total of 191 tries in 31 matches. He also represented Lancashire and the Barbarians as a winger. In 1914 Jackson was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and was wounded in 1914, 1915, 1916 and 1917, by which time he had risen to the rank of Captain and had been awarded the Military Cross. He was hit by an enemy shell on the 31st of October 1917 and died from his injuries the following day, aged 24.
11. RONALD POULTON – CENTRE
The son of a university professor, Ronnie Poulton attended Rugby School and Trinity College, Oxford. He played for Oxford and Harlequins before moving north to play for Liverpool. Poulton was Captain of England during their 1913/14 season, scoring four tries against France in 1914, the last test match to be played before hostilities broke out. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Berkshire Regiment, and on the morning of 5th of May 1915, whilst supervising a trench digging detail, he was shot dead by an enemy sniper. Ronnie Poulton was 25 years of age, and to a man, his platoon “wept at their, and their nation’s tragic loss”.
5. JOHN “Ian” ROSS – CENTRE
Ian Ross was a Scot who played for Liverpool, Lancashire, the Barbarians and was a reserve for Scotland in 1913. Ross joined the Liverpool Scottish and was quickly promoted to the rank of Captain. On the 25th of April 1916, whilst attempting to rescue a wounded officer in the field, Ross was shot by a sniper, aged just 23.
14. HENRY ROYLE – FORWARD
Born in Stockport in 1888, Henry Royle joined the Liverpool Scottish in 1914, and rose through the non-commissioned ranks before becoming a 2nd Lieutenant. At the Western Front, he was shot through the thigh and groin and returned to England to convalesce before rejoining his unit in France. There he suffered from the effects of a gas attack, but survived the war and lived out the rest of his days living in Heswall on the Wirral.
9. RICHARD LLOYD – FLY HALF
One of the three international captains within the 1913 Liverpool team, Lloyd first represented Ireland as a student in 1910, and went on to play Fly Half for his country 19 times. He was regarded as the finest goal kicker of his era. Lloyd was commissioned into the Liverpool Scottish and fought on The Western Front as a Captain. After the war, he resumed his international career and when he retired from playing, became a distinguished international referee. Dickie Lloyd died in Belfast in 1950 at the age of 69.
7. THOMAS LLOYD – WING
Second only to Robert Jackson as leading try scorer in 1913, Thomas Lloyd served initially on the Western Front as a Captain, where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his bravery. During the 2nd World War, as an Intelligence Officer, Lloyd rose to the rank of Squadron Leader and worked extensively on the planning of Guy Gibson’s 1943 “Dambusters” raid. Tragically, he was killed in a flying accident in 1944, when the plane he was a passenger in crashed into a hill in poor weather.
10. FRED TURNER – 2nd ROW
A graduate of Oxford University (where he was excellent at both rugby and cricket),Turner worked in the family printing business in Liverpool. He was capped by Scotland 11 times and was Captain of Scotland in 1913. As a 2nd Lieutenant in the Liverpool Scottish, Turner was overseeing the entanglement of a barbed wire fence when he was shot dead by an enemy sniper on the 10th of January 1915. He was 27 years of age.
The text for the First World War feature, and the brief pen portraits of the players, was produced by club member and historian David Thornton.