Rugby pays tribute to First World War dead

David Bedell-Sivright was among the 18 Blues. Picture: Contributed
David Bedell-Sivright was among the 18 Blues. Picture: Contributed
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The home of English rugby will fall silent tomorrow as it remembers the memory of 18 former Scottish schoolboys who lost their lives in the First World War.

Twickenham hosts the 133rd Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge this week and the two Universities have decided to use the fixture to commemorate the 55 Blues from the two institutions who fell in the Great War.

And among the 55 there were 18 students who came from four Scottish schools, three of who will be represented at the game for a special pre-match ceremony to honour the fallen Blues.

Edinburgh Academy, who lost 1,024 former pupils in the 1914-1918 conflict top the list of all 25 schools, 22 of who are attending the game, with eight, while Fettes College are second with five. Merchiston Castle lost four Blues and Lorretto School one.

Among the 18 Blues from Scottish schools, seven were internationals – David Bain, Tom Nelson and William Wallace (all Edinburgh Academy), David Bedell-Sivright, Robert Blair and John Campbell (all Fettes College) and Rowland Fraser (Merchiston Castle). There are also a further five Scottish caps among the rest of the 55 – Walter Dickson and Steve Steyn (both Diocesan College, SA), John Will (Merchant Taylor’s, London) and Freddy Turner (Sedburgh).


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The Cambridge side of 2014 contains one player who learned his rugby at Edinburgh Academy in the 22-year-old centre Fraser Gillies. He is studying for the MPhil in Management on a one-year course, having previously spent three years at Exeter University reading English Literature.

He spent one-season at Racing Métro 92 after having trials with Perpignan and has represented Edinburgh District U16, U17 and U18 and Scotland U17, U20 and U20A.

His younger brother, David, will also be at Twickenham tomorrow to lay a wreath at the RFU memorial as the current Head Boy of Edinburgh Academy.



David McLaren Bain (Edinburgh Academy/Trinity).

Born 10 September, 1891 in Edinburgh. Killed in action at Festubert, France, 3 June, 1915, aged 23. Returned to front line after being wounded in March.

Blues 1901, 1911, 1912 and 1913 (captain). Eleven Scotland caps.

• Memorial: Brown’s Road Military Cemetery, Festubert, France.

Harry Cheyne (Edinburgh Academy/University).

Born 8 December, 1882 in Edinburgh. Killed in action at Ypres on 10 July, 1917, aged 34.

Blues 1903, 1904.

• Dickebusch New Military Cemetery Extension, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Walter Michael Dickson (Diocesan College, Rondebosch/University).

Born 23 November, 1884 in South Africa. Killed in action at Loos, 26 September, 1915, aged 30.

Blue 1912. Seven Scotland caps.

• Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

Allan Gilmour (Edinburgh Academy/Trinity).

Born 26 August, 1889, in Rosehall, Sutherland.

Died of wounds Salonika, 16 December, 1917 aged 27.

His son was born on 23 November, 1916, and became Colonel Sir Allan Gilmour MC.

Blue 1911.

• Lahana Military Cemetery, Lachanas, Greece.

Thomas Arthur Nelson (Edinburgh Academy/Univ).

Born 22 September, 1876, in Edinburgh. Killed in action in Arras 9 April, 1917, aged 40.

Blues 1897, 1898 (captain). One Scotland cap. Played for Edinburgh Academicals.

lFaubourg d’Amiens Cemetery, Arras.

Maxwell Alexander Robertson (Loretto School/Trinity).

Born 13 October, 1874. Killed during the Battle of the Somme on 1 July, 1916, aged 41.

Blues 1894, 1896. Played for London Scottish.

• Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Stephen Sebastian Lombard Steyn (Diocesan College, Rondebosch/University).

Born 10 November, 1889, in Moorreesburg, Cape Province.

Killed in action in Palestine on 8 December, 1917 aged 28.

Blues 1911, 1912. Two Scotland caps.

• Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel and Palestine.

Francis Wishart Thomson (Edinburgh Academy/University).

Born 30 March, 1891, in Edinburgh.

Killed in action in Battle of Gully Ravine, Gallipoli, on 28 June, 1915 aged 24.

Blues 1912, 1913.

• Helles Memorial, Turkey.

Frederic Harding Turner (Sedbergh School/Trinity).

Born 29 May, 1888, in Liverpool.

Killed in action at Kemmel, 10 January, 1915, aged 26.

Blues 1908, 1909, 1910 (captain). Won 15 Scotland caps and was captain in 1914.

• Kemmel Churchyard, Heuvelland, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.


Miles Linzee Atkinson (Fettes College/Emmanuel).

Born July, 1888, in Kenilworth.

Killed in action at Cambrai on 20 November, 1917 aged 29.

Blues 1908, 1909.

• Ribecourt British Cemetery, Nord France.

William Hedley Bruce Baxter (Merchiston Castle/Pembroke).

Born 1892. Killed in action on 27 August, 1917, aged 25. Previously wounded on Somme in July, 1916 but returned to fight in May, 1917.

Blues 1912, 1913.

• Tyne Cot Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

David Revell Bedell-Sivright (Fettes College/Trinity).

Born 8 December, 1880, in Edinburgh. Died of blood poisoning from an insect bite at Gallipoli on 5 September, 1915 aged 34. Blues 1899, 1900, 1901 (captain), 1902 (captain).

Won 22 Scotland caps. Two Great Britain tours to South Africa in 1903 and New Zealand/Australia in 1904 (captain).

• Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Patrick Charles Bentley Blair (Fettes College/King’s).

Born 18 July, 1891, in Wanlockhead, Dumfriesshire.

Killed in action at Boesingh, near Ypres on 6 July, 1915, aged 23.

Blues 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913. Won five Scotland caps.

• Talana Farm Cemetery, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

John Argentine Campbell (Fettes College/Trinity).

Born 20 October, 1877, in Flores, Argentina. Died in a German hospital on 2 December, 1917, aged 30.

Blues 1897, 1898, 1899 (captain). One Scotland cap. Played for West of Scotland.

Schoolmaster at Loretto School.

• Honnechy British Cemetery, Nord, France.

Robert Charles Cowburn Campbell (Edinburgh Academy/King’s).

Born 26 March, 1889, in India.

Wounded at St Julien, Ypres, on 23 April, 1915, and died on 19 May, 1915 at Queen Alexandra’s Hospital for Officers, Highgate, aged 26.

Blue 1907.

• Brompton Cemetery.

Rowland Fraser (Merchiston Castle/Pembroke).

Born 10 January, 1890, in Perth.

Killed in action at the Somme on 1 July, 1916 aged 26.

Blues 1908, 1909, 1910 (captain). Four Scotland caps.

• Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France (Pier and Face 16 B)

Lewis Alexander McAfee (Merchiston Castle/Pembroke).

Born 10 September, 1888, in Ballymoney, N Ireland.

Killed in action at Hooge 30 July, 1915, aged 26.

Blue 1910.

• Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium.

Edward McCosh (Fettes College/Clare).

Born 14 December, 1890, in Airdrie. Died of wounds received in action on 26 September, 1918, aged 27.

Blue 1910. Won Military Cross.

• Five Points Cemetery, Lechelle, Pas de Calais.

Arthur Stanley Pringle (Edinburgh Academy/Trinity).

Born 11 March, 1877 in Edinburgh. Killed in action in the Battle of Loos on 25 September, 1915 aged 38.

Blues 1897, 1898.

Advocate at the Scottish Bar.

• Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais.

William Middleton Wallace (Edinburgh Academy/King’s).

Born 23 September, 1892, in Edinburgh. Shot down on air reconnaissance at Sainghin, near Lille 22 August, 1915, aged 22.

Blues 1912, 1913. Four Scotland caps. Played for London Scottish.

• Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez.

John George Will (Merchant Taylor’s School, London/Downing).

Born 2 September, 1892, in London. Killed in action in air combat over Arras 25 March, 1917 aged 25.

Blues 1911, 1912, 1913. Seven Scotland caps.

• Arras Flying Services Memorial.

Alan Hood Wilson (Merchiston Castle/Pembroke).

Born 1891 in Edinburgh. Died of wounds 17 March, 1915, aged 24.

Blues 1911, 1912, 1913.

• Rifle House Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium.


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