The O’s have cause to remember further to the service and sacrifice made by the forty-one players and staff of Clapton Orient who enlisted into the 17th Battalion Middlesex Regiment – which was more commonly known as the Footballers’ Battalion. Ten Orient footballers signed on the dotted line at a specially convened recruitment meeting held at Fulham Town Hall on Tuesday December 15, 1914, with the Orient captain Fred ‘Spider’ Parker being the very first footballer in the entire country to enlist. Indeed Clapton Orient was the first football club to join up en masse and the O’s patriotic example led other clubs to join-up to serve King and Country.
Three Clapton Orient Footballers made the ultimate sacrifice during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and their lives will be commemorated during an Act of Remembrance which is being held at the war memorial in Coronation Gardens this coming Sunday. The memorial has a large marble plaque which acknowledges with honour the men from Clapton Orient who served with the 17th Middlesex, in particular; Company Serjeant Major Richard McFadden MM, Private William Jonas and Private George Scott.
Act of Remembrance Sunday, November 13.
O’s supporters and friends of the Club are encouraged to join up with members of the Leyton Branch of the Royal British Legion along with members of the public in Coronation Gardens for this important ceremony. The Orient bugle team and the 17th Pals’ Battalion Band will be in attendance along with pipers from the Legion and a wreath will be laid to remember the Orient lads of 1916.
CSM Richard McFadden MM
142 Appearances 68 Goals Serre, Somme, October 23, 1916
Pte William Jonas
74 Appearances 23 Goals Delville Wood, Somme, July 27,1916
Pte George Scott
213 appearances St Quentin, Somme, August 16, 1916
We also remember Lance Corporal Sidney Wheelhouse, the captain of Grimsby Town Football Club who played as a guest player for Clapton Orient whilst he was in London awaiting his move to France along with his comrades
in the Footballers’ Battalion.
L/Cpl Sidney Wheelhouse Beaumont Hamel, Somme, September 19 1916
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM