Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Luton Town Footballers Enlist

Luton Town Football Club, 1908-9 [Z1306/75/21/5]

Wednesday 16th December 1914Yesterday morning two wing forwards from Luton Town Football Club, Hugh Pierce Roberts and Frank Lindley, attended a meeting of professional footballers at Fulham Town Hall. At the end of the meeting they were among the first to enlist in the new Footballers’ Battalion; so many others followed that extra recruiting officers had to be called in to help.[1] A total of 35 men signed up and marched together to Chelsea Barracks. They were then given ten days’ leave at a rate of 2s 9d per day while on home service.

This morning in the dressing room Roberts and Lindley told their team mates about yesterday’s events. Six more Luton Town players have now gone to London by train to enlist. They are:

  • John Dunn (back)
  • Robert William Frith (half-back)
  • T. T. Wilson (half-back)
  • Arthur Harold Wileman (forward)
  • Arthur Roe (forward)
  • Ernest Simms (forward)

The men were accompanied to London by their trainer Billy Lawson, who already has two sons in the Territorials and would very much have liked to join up himself. When the players are called up they will go for training to Richmond. They will be allowed leave to play in their Club’s fixtures until the end of the season and will continue to receive their Club wages as well as their army pay.[2]

Source: Luton News 17th December 1914

[1] The Footballers’ Battalion was the 17th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment.
[2] See Luton’s World War I: Great WarStories for more about the involvement of Luton Town players in the Great War.

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