Richard McFadden – Lest We Forget

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‘It would prove a difficult task to do full justice to the memory of our late inside-left.’

On the eve of the unveiling and dedication of the O’s Somme Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, today we remember with honour, Clapton Orient goal-ace Richard McFadden, who passed-away on 23rd October 1916, after being severely wounded by a shell-blast the previous day.

McFadden was one of forty-one Orient players, staff and supporters that served with the 17th Bn Middlesex Regiment – ‘The Footballers’ Battalion’, being one of the first players to join-up for King and Country, at the special meeting held to raise the battalion at Fulham Town Hall, 15th December, 1914.

He was known for his heroism on the battlefield and it was known that he often ventured out into No Man’s Land to rescue wounded comrades, resulting in him being awarded the Military Medal for ‘Bravery in the Field,’. A swift rise through the ranks saw him attain the rank of Company Serjeant Major and he was also in-line for a commission.

Prior to the war and before coming to London, his bravery had already shown itself on several occasions as it was reported that he had dragged a man from a burning building. In addition, after he had signed for the O’s, it was also documented that he had saved the lives of two young boys who were struggling in the River Lea, just two weeks prior to rescuing a very small child from a burning building in Clapton.

For the rescuing of these three young children he was awarded a medal from the Mayor of Hackney.

Clapton Orient statistics – Signed from Wallsend Park Villa in 1911

142 Appearances 68 Goals (top scorer in the four seasons he played for the O’s)

Richard McFadden’s Obituary, published in Oriental Notes 4th November, 1916

‘It is with feelings of great sorrow and deep regret that we publish the sad news of the death

of Company Serjeant Major Richard McFadden. He died in hospital from wounds received in battle. It is hard to realise that the bright and cheerful young man to whom we recently said good-bye, should now be numbered with the Empire’s heroic dead. It would prove a difficult task to do full justice to the memory of our late inside-left. His knack of making and retaining friends; his loyalty; his innate love of fair-play, and his ever-ready hand to succour those in distress was characteristic of the man. Of his brave deeds – both in civil and military life – the majority of us are aware. To his lasting honour he volunteered in the early stages of the war, and rapid promotion followed. We feel assured that we express the feelings of his numerous friends and admirers when we tender our heart-felt sympathy to Mrs McFadden and the near relatives of our late player.’

Rest in Peace, Richard

We Will Remember Them