Sportsmen and fans will hold a minute silence for the district’s rugby players who died in WWI before Boxing Day’s Heavy Woollen derby .
The tribute at the start of the Batley Bulldogs’ clash with Dewsbury Rams, held at the newly named Fox’s Biscuits Stadium, will mark the beginning of work by First World War commemoration group Project Bugle to compile each fallen player’s story.
These will be put together by life-long Bulldogs fan Kevin McQuinn into a book of remembrance, which will be presented to the two clubs next year. Project Leader Tony Dunlop said: “Ths is the 100th anniversary of the war. It’s slightly out of season for remembrance, but there’s this traditional game and it seemed appropriate at that match to remember the lads who played for Batley and Dewsbury who never came back.”
Many of the clubs’ players who died in the conflict were not necessarily from Batley or Dewsbury, because teams were allowed to sign-up lads from other areas, like Wakefield, to fill the spaces left by men who had enlisted.
Project Bugle are therefore requesting that if anyone has descended from them or has information, that they come forward and share it.
“Kevin’s running it as a little sub-project and we are trying to pull together as much information as we can,” Tony said.
Kevin, alongsideProject Bugle and Royal British Legion member Alan Roberts, will lay a wreath before the minute’s silence at noon on Friday.
Chief executive of the Batley Bulldogs Paul Harrison said that the club was very proud of the players who went off to war.
He hopes to look more into the club’s history now it has the Batley Sporting Charitable Trust.
And he is looking forward to the annual clash between the two teams. “It should be a tremendous game, both clubs have recruited very well. Get down and support your Heavy Woollen derby!”
If you have any information about either team’s fallen players, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Project Bugle create newsletters and exhibitions at Batley and Birstall’s libraries, telling the stories of each man from the town who died in the Great War. The News prints a selection of these, and the next one will appear in our first January edition.