Mrs Linda Lane

Secretary, Liverpool St.Helens Football Club

Dear Linda,

As President of Rugby School's alumni association I wanted to let you and your members know that this coming weekend (10/11 January) we will be marking the 100th anniversary of the deaths of two very brave men and rugby footballers:

    * Ronnie Poulton-Palmer (originally Poulton), who captained the XV at Rugby School, and subsequently represented Oxford University, Harlequins, Liverpool and England for whom he won 17 caps, finally captaining his country in 1914 and leading them to a Triple Crown and what we now call a Grand Slam in the last season of international football before the start of the Great War. Poulton-Palmer was undoubtedly the finest English three-quarter of his and, perhaps, any generation.

    * Freddie ”Tank” Turner who Captained Sedbergh and also captained Oxford University, as well as Liverpool.  Turner then went on to play for, and Captain, Scotland winning 15 caps before the Great War.Turner and Poulton-Palmer played with and against each other on many occasions.

Both men became friends whilst at Oxford and Turner invited Poulton-Palmer to play for Liverpool when he was required to work in the family biscuit manufacturing business in the North West. Previously, he had always played his club rugby at Harlequins.

Poulton-Palmer and Freddie Turner were two of the remarkable three five nations captains (the other being R.A. Lloyd of Ireland) that Liverpool fielded in their wonderful side of 1914. Not long after the end of the season that proved to be the last before the start of the first World War they joined two different regiments and, tragically, both were killed by enemy sniper fire in the first few months of 1915.  

We are gathering at Rugby School for a Rugby/Sedbergh dinner this Saturday evening, followed by a service in Chapel on Sunday morning, after which boys from Rugby and Sedbergh will play a memorial match in honour of both men. Following the match, an oak bench engraved in their memory will be unveiled on the Close next to the spot where William Webb Ellis famously picked up the ball and ran with it in 1823, thus originating the distinctive feature of the game we know and love today.

Richard and I feel that it is important to let you and your club know that this event is taking place to recognise the centenary of the sacrifice made for their countries by these two great players and former members of Liverpool Football Club.

With kind regards


Simon Penniston (C65-70)

President of the Rugbeian Society

Jan 8 2015

Captains in Battle

The 1913 Liverpool Team


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