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A little project.


Teessidewire
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Has anyone got a copy of '100 Best Warrington Players?' I do have a copy, but it's in France at the moment. The reason that I ask this is that I'm looking to visit the grave of one of those players, George Thomas, who died in the first few days of the Battle of the Somme which started on 1.7.16. I'm sure that in the book there is a reference to exactly where he is buried and his date of death. Of course, it may be that he has no known grave, in which case I will be visiting the Thiepval Memorial which carries the name of over 70,000 British soldiers who died in WW1 and were never traced.

If anyone knows if any other Wire players died in WW1 I would also appreciate their details if anyone has them. I intend to try to speak with Andy Topham or Neil Dowson at the Club on Sunday if I possibly can.

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Sheila, Gary, thanks. I put the same message on RL Fans and got some good help almost straightaway. His full name was William George Thomas which was why I couldn't find him on the CWGC Site. He died on 3.7.16, the third day of the Battle of the Somme, and an eye witness describes him as 'blown to pieces.' When I read this I realised that he would, in all probability, have no known grave. This was confirmed by a visit to the CWGC Site, which also gives his address as 12, Walton Road, Stockton Heath, an address I used to walk past every week on the way to Wilderspool when I still lived at home. he should also be commemorated on the Cross of Sacrifice at Stockton Heath, but I will confirm that when I come over for the match on Sunday. He also gets a mention on the 'End of an Era' book from 2003, which I've also left in France.

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Yes, despite arriving later than normal yesterday I managed to walk round Stockton Heath. 12, Walton Road is definately the same building he lived in, it looked like it was 'a 'two up, 2 down' originally, but is now Ashall Glover Estate Agents. I can also confirm that he is on the Cross of Rememberance as william G. Thomas. I did intend to check the Book of Rememberance at St Thomas Church, but there was a service on when I got there, plus it was getting towards 1.30pm and the Red Lion was calling.

As I mentioned previously I've walked past 12, Walton Road so many times over the years. i'm sure that it was still a house in the 60's and 70's when I was a kid.

I didn't see Andy Topham yesterday, I intend to E Mail him in the week for info, next step is a visit to France and some photographs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

JUst an update. I've changed things a little after meeting Neil Dowson and Andy Topham in Edinburgh on Sunday night.

I am now looking at doing something on all the 10 Warrington Football Club (that's what we were in the Northern Union days) who were killed in the Great War, but still concentrating a special effort on George Thomas. My intention initially is to visit all the Cemeterys/memorials to each player, although one may be a little diificult as 1 ex-player is on the Helles Memorial in the Dardenelles. That one may have to wait for a while.

My next visit to N. France is for 4 weeks the day after the Huddersfield home game, I shall be attending the Thiepval Memorial in respect of George Thomas, and also Villers Bretonneux, where another player is commemorated. If I get the chance I may be able to get to another cemetery in the Pas de Calais where another 2 former players are buried.

It is worth noting that 90 Warrington players/former players saw service in the Great War. There was a plaque in the Main Stand at Wilderspool, but Neil believes that it was destroyed in the fire.

Only 1 Warrington player lost his life in WW2, he was called Frank Cueto, he lived in Stockton Heath and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

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  • 2 months later...

I've been back from France for about 10 days now and am just beginning to sort out all my notes whilst assisting my son-in-law to be in completely 'gutting' the house he and my youngest daughter have just bought. I managed to get to five out of seven locations in two days which was more than I expected to do. I am returning to France after the RL Cup Final and it's my intention to visit 2 locations in Belgium where two more former Warrington players are commemorated. I would have gone there this time but for an invasion of biting ants in my tent on day 2!

If anyone is interested, I'll put a full write up on this Site some time next week. I've also found out a fair few interesting facts about one of the men involved, John Stuntz, who was one of the original 'Pioneers' of Australian RL.

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Very interesting posting. Re Frank Cueto - I always remember my dad telling me of players due to come back from WW2 and him saying "Frank Cueto won't be coming back".

i contacted Sale rugby club some while ago and was told that the England rugby union winger Cueto is a direct descendent of Frank Cueto.

Just in passing, so many of the returning players lost their best years to the war - speed etc, never be-ing the same. The same would of course apply to the first world war.

 

Happy days

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