Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Former Kempston Rovers Player Commissioned

Kempston Rovers F.C. 1908-9 [Z50/142/786]

Wednesday 18th August 1915: Frank Crowsley, the son of Mr. James Crowsley of Tempsford Street, Kempston has written from India to say that he has been commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry, making him the first Kempston boy to receive this honour. Before joining the Army he was well known as outside-left for Kempston Rovers F.C. He writes that when he first left home in 1908 he was a lance-corporal and hopeful that he would soon be promoted to corporal. However, a new draft from the 1st Battalion joined his unit in Malta bringing with it a number of more senior lance-corporals; as a result his promotion did not come through until 1910. After three years in Malta he was sent to China where he was posted throughout the Chinese Revolution of 1911-12, though without ever being called upon for a ‘scrap’. He was promoted to Lance-Sergeant shortly before leaving China for India in October 1913, then to Sergeant in February 1914, and last June he heard that he was to be a Second-Lieutenant.

Lieutenant Crowsley has kept up his football, playing regularly for the regimental team. He is stationed at Quetta where there are four cups for soccer - one for company teams, one for double-company teams, one for half-battalion teams and one for battalion teams. He has played in a number of finals but has won only two medals. He has been fortunate with injuries, only suffering one sprained ankle while in Malta. He wonders how the rest of the old Kempston Rovers are faring, and imagines that most must now be in the Forces. Although his station is Quetta he is temporarily in Hyderabad which he finds “fearfully hot”. He says “it was 116 degrees in the shade more than once during last month and the first two weeks of this month, so you can bet that it is not too comfortable. I am writing this now with the perspiration running off me, and a big sheet of blotting paper under my hand so as not to soak the paper, and I am covered with prickly heat … One does not suffer much from that in Quetta, so you can guess that I shall not be sorry to get back there again.”

Source: Bedfordshire Standard, 20th August 1915

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