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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

For Poulton and England, life & times of an Edwardian Rugby hero


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This is a new biography of Ronnie Poulton, later Palmer, who played rugby football as an unorthodox three-quarter for Oxford University, Harlequins, Liverpool and England in the years leading to WW1. He was a pre-war Territorial with the Royal Berkshire Regiment, and served in France with 1/4th Battalion before his death in action on 5th May 1915.

The book draws on a memoir written by RWP's father soon after his death but includes much fresh family and other material, covering RWP's interesting life away from the rugby field.

James Corsan has written a note for Thursday's Oxford and Cambridge match programme, and at half time some memorabilia is to be handed into the care of the Rugby Football Union's museum, including the ball from the 1909 match in which RWP scored five tries, and his international and Varsity caps.

The book can be ordered through bookshops or Amazon.

Oh, that we had some of RWP's skill today! [sorry this line is off topic, but the rest is relevant.]


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  • 2 months later...


I fully concure with your appraisal of this volume.

I have found it thoroughly interesting and a lot more engaging than the EB Poulton memorial volume. Having said this, the two read in conjunction with one and other give a well-rounded and intimate study of a man who features on my list of players I wish I could have seen.

To use the cheesiest of quotes, I really struggled to put this book down. Though, knowing the ending that was coming part of me hoped that if I did not finish the book the end to his life would change, sadly not the case.

This book is a fitting tribute to Ronnie and hopefully it will bring his name and tremendous story to a much wider audience. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with an interest in pre-war Britain, the war and, of course, rugby.

Pip pip,


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