The launch of a new book featuring the WW1 exploits of Clapton Orient was tinged with emotion and gratitude at a small bookstore in the Dutch town of Almelo
Amazingly " Tien Helden en een Hond " was the second book to be published on the same day. The other being the centenary version of Steve Jenkins' They Took the Lead.
The Dutch book title translates to Ten Heroes and a Dog is written by Tom Egbers, a well known TV sports journalist, best selling author and an authority on English football.
When Steve Jenkins heard about the Dutch book launch he asked Holland-based Orient fan Melvin Chambers to present Tom with The Orient Somme scarf and badge as a gesture of goodwill and thanks for bringing the Clapton Orient sacrifice to a new European public. In the short space of a couple of weeks the book has already issued its second edition and is destined to top the bookselling charts.
This came as a complete surprise as Tom signed hundreds of his books at the Hilarius Bookstore in his home town. It was a jovial book signing event until Melvin asked to address Tom at the packed store.
Melvin told Tom, whose own grandfather fought in the Great War and eventually died through chronic disease brought on by a German gas attack, that on behalf of the Leyton Orient Supporters Club he'd like to say a few words.
"I told Tom, that on this eve of the Dutch Remembrance Day, our club and supporters are deeply grateful to you for telling the story of Clapton Orient and our terrible losses at the Somme in 1916. We are deeply touched by the way you have told the story of our fallen three, McFadden, Scott and Jonas, and those others of the club who suffered serious injuries," said Melvin.
When Tom, who was extremely close to his grandfather and bears his name, saw the scarf it left him speechless. After composing himself Tom thanked us for this wonderful and most unexpected gesture.
" I will wear this scarf and badge with pride, " he said. " I am going to show this to everyone at the TV studios tonight...."
"Tom also expressed a desire to come and visit us here in Leyton with me," revealed Chambers. "His knowledge of our club is amazing and he has been following our form. When I left him he shouted through the shop so everyone can hear: We are going up!"