Monday, 28 September 2015

Footballs for the Front

2nd Bn, Beds Regt vs. Depot Bn, Royal Engineers
Army Football Cup Final 1906,  [X550/1/105/1b]

Tuesday 28th September 1915: The Luton News has received a quick response to two requests it published last week asking for footballs to be sent to soldiers at the Front. On Friday morning a well-known local sportsman gave instructions for the purchase of two good balls, to be charged to his account. Another ball was received from Mrs. T. H. Dryden, which was sent to the “The Boys of the 2nd Siege Battery” of the Royal Garrison Artillery. While one of the footballs was being prepared for dispatch to Private W. S. Warren, a Lutonian at the Base Stationery Depot at Rouen, a lady telephoned to say that she had posted one to him in response to his appeal. The football was then sent to Driver W. Payne of the 121st Royal Garrison Artillery who had asked for one a fortnight ago.

Another appeal sent on behalf of “a few of the Local Lads” in the East Anglian Royal Engineers has been now received: “The local lads wish me to write to you to let you see that they often think of the dear old town, and also to let the people of Luton see that we are still cheerful and intend to keep up our spirits as far as we can. That is why I am writing to ask you if you could forward us a football to pass away the spare time after we have finished work. There are several chaps here who were in different teams in Luton.” The fourth football will soon be on its way to Gallipoli for these lads.

The Secretary of the Bedfordshire Football Association has suggested that local footballers could send subscriptions towards the cost of providing footballs for soldiers: “The many requests for footballs from local soldiers serving with the Colours, that have appeared in your paper, have led me to think that a united effort to supply the wants of these soldiers, by the footballers left behind, would be well in season. It is not every individual whose means will allow him to personally send out a ball, but I think there are many footballers who can and would be ready and willing to give a trifle towards such an object. If any gentlemen care to send along subscriptions I shall be quite ready to receive them, and to acknowledge them, with your permission, through the medium of your paper, and to arrange for the balls to be sent out.”

Source: Luton News, 30th September 1915

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