While cricket remains a national game today, at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, it was THE national game. Cricketers were the sporting icons of their age, as footballers are today. When the call to arms was made in 1914 and the years of war that followed, it was answered in droves by young men including Test and First Class cricketers. The machine guns and gas of the Western Front and other theatres did not discriminate and many hundreds of these star performers perished alongside their lesser known comrades. The author has researched the lives and deaths of over 200 top class cricketers who made the ultimate sacrifice. He includes not just British players but those from the Empire. The enormity of the horror and wholesale loss of life during The Great War is well demonstrated by these moving biographies.
FINAL WICKET Test and First Class Cricketers Killed in the Great War
“How very different is your action to that of the men who can still go on with their cricket and football, as if the very existence of the country were not at stake! This is not the time to play games, wholesome as they are in times of piping peace. We are engaged in a life and death struggle.”
When Field Marshal Lord Roberts spoke these words on 29 August 1914, his message could not have been clearer: it was time for Britain’s sportsmen to stand up and be counted. Britain had declared war on Germany earlier that month and Lord Kitchener’s recruitment drive – “Your Country Needs YOU!” – was on its way to enrolling 500,000 men in its first four weeks.