London Scottish will play Blackheath at Richmond Athletic Ground on May 3, to commemorate those who fell in the 1914-18 World War.
Mick Imlah’s poem, published on 2009, entitled London Scottish 1914, immortalises the end of the 1913-14 season and the matches played between the two clubs.
He used some poetic licence – we didn’t in fact play all four games on the last day of the season … but no matter. This day will be the last matches of 2013-14.
World War One took a terrible toll on young and not-so-young men; inevitably players of team games were in the vanguard of volunteers.
London Scottish with its connection to the London Scottish Regiment, and Blackheath with its proximity to Woolwich barracks always had members and players with military connections.
Eighty-seven international players from the British Isles lost their lives; 31 of them were Scots; 25 of the 87 are on our roll of honour or on Blackheath’s, and four of them are on both.
In all we lost at least 100 members, half of them current players and Blackheath 60.
To commemorate this the clubs will be playing again on May 3rd – a match of three thirds, involving academy players, seniors and veterans too, followed by events to commemorate the cause, guest speakers and a lunch.
The day begins at 11:30am with pipes and a wreath-laying followed by the rugby.
Lunch for all players and guests and others who wish to join will be held after the rugby.
Ground entry will be FREE – but we will be asking for donations which will go towards two causes – the Poppy Factory Charity in Richmond and the youth teams from both clubs who are going to the Western Front in September – the local authorities in Laon are organising a weekend of events including commemorative matches on the 100th anniversary of the first international player to lose his life. He was Lt. RF Simson, a Scot who played for both our clubs.
There will also be a commemorative programme on sale.