Clifton Rugby Football Club History
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History of War Memorial


The Clifton Rugby War Memorial was officially unveiled on 21st November 1931.

The idea for a War Memorial was first suggested in 1919. It took 12 years before it was unveiled.

In gathering the names of the players that died in World War 1 several mistakes have been made. This was largely due to the fact that the names were obtained after a letter was sent by the club to members. There was no government assistance in this process.

In the World War 1 part of the Memorial there are

One player survived the war and the name of W.Chetham-Strode was removed from the memorial and the name of W.S.Yalland was moved to take its place.

W.Littleton-Geach survived the war. It is thought that this was a case of mistatken identity as his brother, Arthur Simpson Littleton Geach, was killed.

R.Rowatt survived the War. It is thought that this was a case of mistatken identity as his brother, 2nd Lt. David Rowatt was killed in the War.

The death of 4 players is not recorded by the Commonwealth and War Graves Commission, L.Caulfield, W.G.Laxton, W.E.Pane and G.F.Puckle. It is thought that the spelling is either incorrect or they also survived the War.

We have been unable to identify the name of 1 player, W.H.Lambert. There are several candidates.

7 names are missing from the War Memorial John Harold Bacchus, Ralph Lancelot Bacchus, Henry Ryan Bennett, Arthur Edward James Collins, Edward Martin Panter-Downes, Philip Arthur Edwards, Edouard Herbert and Allan Goss. This is thought to be because they had left Clifton many years before the start of World War One and had been forgotten.

Above invite to the unveiling of the Memorial.

CLIFTON RUGBY CLUB MEMORIAL UNVEILED. - Mr. Bostock Smith (Bristol RFC), Mr.L.T.Masters (captain of Wellington), Mr Walter Pearce (President of the English Rugby Union), Mr J. de S.Hall (captain of Clifton), and Mr R.E.Bush standing at the memorial after the ceremony.

Above newspaper cutting from the Bristol Times and Mirror, Monday November 23rd 1931. Robert Bush was an ex Clifton player and brother of Clifton's first international, James Arthur Bush.

Above Walter Pearce lays flowers on the memorial in a newpaper photo from the Western Daily Press on 23rd November 1931

At the unveiling Walter Pearce, the President of the RFU and ex Bristol player (he played in the 3rd fixture for Bristol against Clifton in 1890) said in his final words

"For though the dust that's part of them,
To dust again be gone,
Yet here still beat the hearts of them,
The game they handed on." 

The names names for the World War 2 part of the War Memorial were gathered by again asking club members.

Above letter from the Club to Members asking for the identity of people who had died in the war.

In the World War 2 part of the War Memorial, 2 names are misspelt. J.R.Eason-Smith should be J.R.Easonsmith and R.Sloane should be R.Sloan.

There are 2 names missing from the World War 2 part of the Memorial. Ernest Henry Broadbent Usher and Arthur Acraman Greenslade

There are 12 Old Cliftonian names on the World War 1 part of our memorial and 7 that are missing (Edwards, Bennett, James, Panter-Downes, Collins, Bacchus and Goss). In total 578 Old Cliftonians lost their lives. Over 3100 served in WW1. The name of Reginald Valpy James is also missing from the Clifton College Memorial.

Above the Clifton College Memorial Gate.

Other War Memorials Clifton players are commemorated on are

All Saints WW1 Memorial
All Saints Church
Long ashton
L H Fry
F J Hannam
To the Glory of God and in most loving memory of Leslie Harrington Fry, Ltnt. 19th (Queen Alexandra's Own Royal) Huzzars. Only son of C. A. Harrington Fry of Ashton Lodge, Long Ashton. Killed in action near Caix on August 9th 1918 after nearly four years continuous service in France, aged 25 years. Mentioned in Despatches. His body rests in a soldiers grave in the Delve Military Cemetery.
St Andrews Church
Chew Magna
In loving memory of
Arthur Empson Littleton Geach, of the Beeches, Chew Magna. Ist London Scottish. Killed in action at Cambrai, France. 23rd November 1917 aged 19 years.
St Mary's Church
Manor Road
To the glory of God and in affectionate memory of Captain F S Hill MC, 1st/5th Battalion Gloucester Regiment. Killed in action at Landrecies/ November 4th 1918. 'Greater love hath no man....
Erected by the Officers, NCO's and men of his Company.
St Cuthberts Church
West of Main entrance:
...., to the glory of God and in loving memory of Flight Ltnt Ronald V. Knight RN who fell in the Great War aged 23 years.
Wells Reclamation & Architectural Salvage Company
A39 Coxley
Exact Location Unknown
To the Glory of God, and in proud and loving memory of Captain Harold Ewart Rudman, 6th Battalion Gloucesters who was killed in action near Laventie/ France July 19th 1916 in his 33rd year. He was the son of James Rudman, Church Warden of this parish 1892-1898. Brave, chivalrous and true. God proved him and found him for himself.

Parish Church
Mariners Drive
Stoke Bishop
 Mounted above the Lych Gate
To the Glory of God, and in most loving memory of Leslie Harrington Fry of 19th Royal Huzzars, only son of Charles Harrington Fry, Killed in Action near Caix France August 9th 1918 aged 25 years.
St Marys Church
North Petherton
To the Glory of God, and in loving memory of Frederick Cecil Banes Walker, born June 19th 1888, fell in action at Fleurbaix, May 9th 1915 and of Gerald Banes Walker, born on November 15th 1889, fell in action in the fight for Jerusalem, November 22nd 1917. Grant them O Lord....


On moving to ther new ground at Cribbs Causeway the late John Edwards took responsibility for and paid for the removal of the massive granite structure to its current position on the corner of the first team pitch.

John was a stalwart prop forward in the third and fourth XV for many years alongside his great friend and business partner Jim King. Always a larger than life character and wonderfull company after the game. John's father Francis Edwards was also a great supporter of the club and a very fine player in his time Francis played for Gloucester in the centre and was tipped for an England cap but the outbreak of hostilities in 1939 made this impossible.