Committee Chairman Steve Jenkins, along with the band he formed – the ‘17th Pals’ Battalion Band’ were involved with the act of remembrance before the O’s FA Cup 1st round tie v Maldon & Tiptree, where they performed on the pitch at half-time at the Breyer Group stadium. The Somme banner was also on display and commemorates the O’s WW1 story, when 41 players, Club officials and supporters joined up to fight in December 1914. Steve, who is also Deputy Chairman of the O’s Supporters Club and the ‘17th Pals’ also participated in the Leyton Royal British Legion Remembrance Service at the war memorial in Coronation Gardens on the Sunday morning, as well as a ceremony the day before in Highams Park, which was attended by Conservative MP and former party leader, Ian Duncan-Smith.
‘Meanwhile Committee Patron, O’s Legend Peter Kitchen, along with his partner Katherine and Committee members, Treasurer Malcolm McCarthy MBE and Alex Hup, their Battlefield tour guide, were invited up to Edinburgh to attend the McCrae’s Battalion remembrance ceremony and the annual commemoration luncheon on Sunday 10th November. It was a proud moment for Malcolm McCarthy to lay the O’s wreath, alongside representatives with wreaths from Heart of Midlothian, Hibernian, Raith Rovers, Dunfermline Athletic, Falkirk, Queens Park, St Bernards & many others, all of whom provided Scottish footballers who enlisted into the McCrae’s Battalion, the 16th Royal Scots, which had been formed by Sir George McCrae in November 1914, in response for calls for professional footballers to do their duty and play the ‘Greater Game’. At the lunch afterwards, which was attended by representatives of the Scottish FA as well as all the clubs mentioned above, Peter gave a talk about the O’s story and their journey leading up to them having a permanent memorial erected on the Somme battlefields in the village of Flers in 2011, which is only 3 km from the McCrae’s Memorial Cairn at Contalmaison. Peter also spoke about the major contribution that footballers made during the conflict and how even 100 years ago, footballers were still role models inspiring and leading by example. The O’s Somme group were also invited to the Hearts v St Mirren game on the Saturday, which Hearts won 5-2 and were given a personal tour of the stadium, their club museum and the memorial garden and even had a further invite to tour their Edinburgh rivals, Hibernian, at their stadium on the Monday.