O’s fans are being urged to play their part in telling the incredible story of the club’s contribution to the First World War to hundreds of local school children as part of Leyton Orient Trust’s They Took The Lead initiative.
The project, launched in April, will initially see research undertaken on the 41 Clapton Orient players and staff who were part of the famous Footballers’ Battalion during the war.
The Battalion was formed in December 1914 in response to growing calls for the country’s football clubs to play their part in the war effort. Ten Clapton Orient players, the most from any club in the country, were among the first to sign up. Three of them, Richard McFadden, William Jonas and George Scott died during the Battle of the Somme.
The research will be turned into a touring exhibition and visiting workshops at ten local schools in the New Year alongside a series of local history walks connected with the story. A website will also be developed and the exhibition is due to go on display at the Matchroom Stadium later in the season.
Leyton Orient Trust is looking for fans to be part of a team of volunteers to help undertake the research. Volunteers will be given special research training and get the chance to visit to the National Football Museum in Manchester and learn more about football’s role in the conflict.
Workshops where fans can find out more about the project and how to volunteer are being held before the home games against Bristol Rovers on August 29th and Wycombe Wanderers on September 19th.
Philip Rudling, deputy chief executive, Leyton Orient Trust said:
“So much can be learned about the war from this story so it is vital that younger generations get the chance to discover it and understand the sacrifices that were made by those from the club 100 years ago. It is something everyone associated with the club can connect with so we hope that fans will get involved and help us preserve the story for future generations.”
The project has secured funding in its first year from the Heritage Lottery Fund but the Trust is hoping to raise £30,000 to extend it until 2018, taking it to thousands more young people and local residents. Fans are being encouraged to fundraise for the project during the season.
A newsletter about the project and the story of the club’s involvement in the war will be part of Saturday’s match programme and can also be viewed here.
To register and find out more about the workshops contact [email protected]
You can donate to the project here
Saturday August 29th, 1-2pm, Hall A, SCORE Centre, Oliver Road, E10 5JY
Saturday September 19th, 1-2pm, Hall A, SCORE Centre, Oliver Road, E10 5JY