On April 24, 1915 Clapton Orient played their last game of the 1914-15 season – a 2-0 home win over Leicester Fosse. Nothing unusual about that, apart from that this was the last game that many of the 41 Orient players and staff were part of before departing for the battlefields and trenches of northern France to support the effort in the First World War. To acknowledge this event Leyton Orient will be holding a special commemoration for today’s game, which is also the last home game of the season against Sheffield United.
Starting at 12.30pm young people from both Leyton Orient and Leicester City charitable trusts will re-enact that famous last match in traditional club colours. This will be followed by a reception hosted by Leyton Orient Trust which will honour the three Orient Players who fell in service by welcoming their descendants, the Mayor of Waltham Forest; the Speaker of Hackney and other dignitaries.
The Trust will celebrate its recent Heritage Lottery Award to undertake further research into and promote throughout the local community the lives of the 41 and launch its fundraising campaign to extend the project beyond one year.
At 2.15pm special guests – the Honourable Artillery Company Regimental Band will take to the Orient pitch performing some music of the period and welcoming the current players on to the pitch. At half time and full time further commemorations are scheduled to take place.
Alessandro Angelieri, Leyton Orient Chief Executive, said: “It is very important that we recognise the Club’s history and the role it has played on and off the pitch. This commemoration is very poignant as it is virtually to the very day and I am sure it will prove to be a highly emotional occasion. I would also like to thank the Supporters Club and Leyton Orient Trust for their commitment and welcome the families of the three fallen Clapton Orient Players.”
Neil Taylor, Leyton Orient Trust Executive, said: “We are absolutely honoured to be involved in marking this milestone in the history of the club and in welcoming all those associated with the event and promoting the role Orient played. We are especially honoured that the Honourable Artillery Company Regimental Band will be present. We are also looking to raise £30,000 to expand the project. Donations can be received via justgiving.com/leytonorienttrust.
Steve Jenkins, Leyton Orient Supporters Club Deputy Chairman, said: “I am really pleased that we as a club, supporters and players are able to commemorate the sacrifices made. I have personally spent the past 15 years researching and bringing to life Orient’s story in particular that of the three players who lost their lives. It is more important than ever that they are remembered on this special occasion.”