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Remembered Today:

WWi cricket


trajan

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England having just won at edgbaston a natural question is -we hear lots about football matches near the front, but what about cricket?

trajan

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Seldom by the French, I suspect.

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Seldom by the French, I suspect.

France holds the only ever Olympic silver medal for cricket (1900) BUT there were only two countries competing (and G Britain holds the gold) and the French XI were all British expats!

RFC squadrons at the front certainly played cricket.

"The Squadron had a cricket match yesterday against the men, and we play an infantry team to-morrow." Keith Caldwell of no 8 squadron 1916

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Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey. 17 December 1915. A game of cricket was played on Shell Green. Major George Macarthur Onslow of the Light Horse in batting, is being caught out. Shells were passing overhead all the time the game was in progress. This game was an attempt to distract the Turks from the imminent departure of allied troops.

See http://cas.awm.gov.au/photograph/G01289

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Seldom by the French, I suspect.

The only time I ever confused a former colleague of mine - an eminent philogist of German origin - was when i tried to explain about the eleven men in being out and the eleven men out being in... But, on topic, I can imagine that cricket practice might have helped with grenade throwing?

Trajan

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This game was an attempt to distract the Turks from the imminent departure of allied troops.

Presumably Johnny Foreigner was so engrossed in the match that he didn't notice what was going on. Were any entertainments laid on for the tea interval?

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No.3 Australian General Hospital at Abbeville ( photo - photo ) had a pitch laid out; with English & South African hospitals beside them, they would have had plenty of cannon fodder. At No. 3 Australian Casualty Clearing Station at Grevillers, Sister Annie Bell wites "Watched 3rd C.C.S. play the Engineers at cricket. 3rd A.C.C.S. won."

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Presumably Johnny Foreigner was so engrossed in the match that he didn't notice what was going on. Were any entertainments laid on for the tea interval?

On the contrary they probably fell asleep watching it allowing everybody to tiptoe away. Overheard by an Arabic speaking colleague during the cricket matches at Sharjah

First Arab policeman "When does it end?"

Second Arab policeman "How can you tell if it's ended anyway?"

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Whilst researching in the IWM I found a wonderful description of a game of cricket being played in May 1917 on the Arras battlefield. It is from a Captain William Villiers, 9th KRRC. We used it in our Arras panorama volume. Quote below:

"We had a great game of cricket which we play here. We use a tennis ball & a pick handle as a bat. The wicket is a box stood on end. The more shell holes about there are, the better. Yesterday the officers played a team out of the company at tip-&-run. The pitch was a path between shell holes. The men went in & made 34 & we just beat them when it began to rain. The shell holes make fielding great fun as when there is a catch if you watch the ball you probably fall into a shell hole & if the ball bounces it probably hits the side of a shell hole & goes off at right angles."

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Whilst researching in the IWM I found a wonderful description of a game of cricket being played in May 1917 on the Arras battlefield. It is from a Captain William Villiers, 9th KRRC. We used it in our Arras panorama volume. Quote below:

"We had a great game of cricket which we play here. We use a tennis ball & a pick handle as a bat. The wicket is a box stood on end. The more shell holes about there are, the better. Yesterday the officers played a team out of the company at tip-&-run. The pitch was a path between shell holes. The men went in & made 34 & we just beat them when it began to rain. The shell holes make fielding great fun as when there is a catch if you watch the ball you probably fall into a shell hole & if the ball bounces it probably hits the side of a shell hole & goes off at right angles."

I think "tip and run" is actually rounders (soft ball to Americans)

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In this context, 'tip and run' is a form of cricket in which batsmen are expected to play defensive shots and then run like mad. Ideal for small 'grounds' where aggressive batting is not possible.

Robert

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... Major George Macarthur Onslow of the Light Horse in batting, is being caught out. Shells were passing overhead all the time the game was in progress.

He survived, though.

I am presently compiling a database of brigade commanders, and only this morning I added the name of Brig-Gen G M MacArthur Onslow, commanding 5th Australian Light Horse Brigade for the last few months of the war, in Egypt.

On the Western Front, do you think they used the road-mounted version of the 12-inch howitzer as a heavy roller? :lol:

Ron

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On the contrary they probably fell asleep watching it allowing everybody to tiptoe away. Overheard by an Arabic speaking colleague during the cricket matches at Sharjah

First Arab policeman "When does it end?"

Second Arab policeman "How can you tell if it's ended anyway?"

I am sure you all know this... but it never fails to amuse me...

The Rules of Cricket

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.

Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out.

When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side thats been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out.

Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.

There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.

When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!

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Two heartwarming cricketing tales of wounded soldiers

From: War pictures behind the lines (1915) : Malcolm, Ian, Sir,

This apparently took place in a hospital for the wounded, I think in Boulougne

".....Here and there they come across an incident that lightens the darkness of the day. One searcher told me of a surgical ward in which a cricket-match was already arranged, though the date had not yet been fixed, between an eleven of ' left legs ' and a team of ' right legs ' ......"

This one is from: "Over there" with the Australians (1918) Knyvett, R. Hugh

This was apparently in a hospital for the wounded back in Australia

"...We had a cricket-match, one-armers versus one-leggers, and we one-leggers were allowed to catch the ball in our hats; but the one-leggers lost as we were nearly all run out. Some of us being half-way down the pitch as the ball was thrown in, would throw one crutch at the wickets, knocking off the bails, when the umpire, who had no legs at all, would give his decision that we were "stumped." ...."

Caryl

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The following is allegedly based on an actual incident:

There was a young curate from Dover

Who bowled twenty-one wides in an over,

Which had never been done

By a clergyman's son

On a Thursday, in August, at Dover.

The story recounts that no runs were scored from the six deliveries which were not wides, so the over, despite conceding 21 extras, was technically a maiden. :lol:

Ron

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The following is allegedly based on an actual incident:

There was a young curate from Dover

Who bowled twenty-one wides in an over,

Which had never been done

By a clergyman's son

On a Thursday, in August, at Dover.

The story recounts that no runs were scored from the six deliveries which were not wides, so the over, despite conceding 21 extras, was technically a maiden. :lol:

Ron

If various songs and rude ditties are to be believed a great many technically* maidens were bowled over by clergymen's sons

*ie professed maidens

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England having just won at edgbaston a natural question is -we hear lots about football matches near the front, but what about cricket?

trajan

1/6th South Staffords near Hill 60 in 1915

post-336-0-59125400-1313347068.jpg

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Is that you in bat Roy?

TK

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Is that you in bat Roy?

TK

No, and it wasn't me taking the photo either. :)

Roy

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I trust that the umpire called No Ball.....more than two men backward of square on the leg side.

Ah....but before Bodyline....so not a no ball!

Bruce

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Here are few references I have picked up.

Cricket - One of the most important jobs was the preparation of the cricket pitch in HQ Field, by our three groundsmen under Corp. Chapman. The latter deserved another decoration for the speed with which the wicket was prepared. Most of us had before, and have since, played on many a worse pitch a good wicket greatly enhanced the pleasure of many matches we enjoyed there.

Every opportunity was therefore given for sports of various kinds. Cricket was, of course, the chief of these. Two excellent pitches had been made by our Lewis gun groundsmen and inter company, Officers v Men, Battalion and other fixtures were arranged including two matches against the Hampshire Officers and NCO's.

The History of the 11th [Lewisham Battalion, The Queen's Own RWKR, 1934 Russell, Lewisham News

I am looking down on the courtyard where some officers are playing cricket with a stump and a wooden ball, with an old brazier for a wicket. We were having a (single brazier) cricket match.

The War the Infantry Knew 1914-19, Dunn.

1938. Jane's, 1987.

In the daytime we played cricket matches and, with a hard chalky subsoil, the pitch proved very fast, and one is reminded that in the course of a certain game a QM, one Jack Denham, when playing a good innings, was astonished to receive delivery of a Mills bomb.

The First Birmingham Battalion in the Great War. (14th Service Bat. R . Warwickshire Reg) J.E.B. Fairclough. 1933.

I also remember reading that they played cricket which made a change from the interminable football. But unfortunately I cant find the reference!

Their is a report of a mach in the 18th Div. history, between the Div HQ and the Sussex Pioneers to long to show here but it is on page 189-193 in the Div History.

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I have just come across another reference - am currently reading A Generation Missing by Carroll Carstairs (Strong Oak Press 1989) and on page 81 it says "The following day a cricket match took place between out own and another battalion."

Mark

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Thanks Mark and RAM (and other pals)! Methinks there is a book in this somewhere...!!!

Trajan

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