On Tuesday 15 December 1914, a special meeting was held at Fulham Town Hall with a view to recruit professional footballers into the 17th Battalion Middlesex Regiment which was to be more commonly known as ‘The Footballers’ Battalion’.
Players and representatives of many clubs were in attendance, none more so than those from Clapton Orient Football Club. The first footballer in the entire country to sign up into the 17th was the O’s captain Fred Parker, followed by the Orient ‘keeper Jimmy Hugall and striker Richard McFadden.
No less than ten Orient footballers signed on the dotted line that evening, setting a great example to other clubs. In due course a total of forty one players and staff of Clapton Orient enlisted into The Footballers’ Battalion with many supporters joining up with them.
Orient players William Jonas, George Scott and Richard McFadden all lost their lives and were remembered in the ceremony which featured the unveiling of a new Somme memorial banner, organised by Steve Jenkins of the Supporters Club. The Club also remembered Robert Foster, a former matchday steward who lost his life serving in Afghanistan in 2007.