SOUTHPORT RFC WAR MEMORIAL PLAQUE
In the summer of 2011 members of Southport Rugby Football Club extended and refurbished the Clubhouse at Waterloo Road. In pride of place, as always since a fund was established for its procurement in 1947, is the cherished Memorial Plaque commemorating the members of the Club who sacrificed their lives for their country during the two world wars.
Designed by Mr H D Williams, Art Master at King George V Grammar School, the Plaque is still in pristine condition being carved in light Austrian oak, with a stainless steel sword and names of the fallen in gold lettering.
The connection with KGV is wholly appropriate as the school and the club were intrinsically linked from when the school was founded in 1926. It was the only school in the town to teach rugby, from which former pupils created a thriving Old Georgians rugby club, eventually amalgamating with Southport on 23rd May 1936. For many years a match between a Southport club side and a scratch Old Georgians side, including many club members, was established as a traditional Christmas fixture.
Sadly the school is now closed and the building demolished but the link between KGV and the club continues to this day. Now rebuilt as a Sixth Form College many of the student’s now play in the Junior and Senior Colts teams each Sunday.*
More poignantly seventeen members of the club named on the board who fell in World War Two were Old Georgians. They are also respectfully remembered in the KGV Roll of Honour.
Dick Bretherton, Club President in the centenary year in 1972, who sadly passed away recently, is on record in his speech at a club dinner that at Southport “Friendship and fun is the name of the game; success is a bonus. It is all about people – great people – with loyalty at all levels”
Never can more appropriate words have been spoken as members of Southport Rugby Club reflect on their forebears who too wore the black, red and amber shirt with pride and enjoyed the same camaraderie and banter then as in the same time honoured fashion they do now.
The Plaque now fittingly sits in splendid authority as the focal point in the refurbished main bar area, overseeing the match day hustle and bustle as members of the club come and go about their business. It lists forty one names, fourteen who fell in the World War One to the left and twenty seven in World War Two to the right.
Based on Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) records, and the KGV Roll of Honour, it has been possible to establish more information about many of those listed to give some real feeling to those named, all of whom were young men of their generation, just like today. This information is given on the following pages for each of the Wars.
An interesting observation is that in the the records found all those killed in the 1914-18 had enlisted in the Army, whilst in the 1939-45 conflict they were all in the Royal Navy or Royal Air Force.
* A further page has been included in this section in recognition of the link between KGV and the club. A separate section focussing on the links between the club and Southport schools and other institutions will be added in due course, but for the time being KGV is featured here because so much of the history and tradition of the school is embodied in the war memorial plaque.
Likewise a page on Terra Nova is included because of it's connections with the club before, after and between the two world wars.
• Are any of your ancestors listed on the Memorial Plaque or do you have any further information on any of the members listed? If so, Club Historian Graham Ellis would love to hear from you by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org