Larrett Roebuck, picture taken from the official Huddersfield Town publication 'Souvenir Blotter' 1932-33

The first English League footballer killed in action in 1914: told by the Western Front Association

Posted on on 13 October 2014
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The Western Front Association tells the story of Larrett Roebuckthe first English League footballer killed in France 100 years ago.

Before the First World War, Roebuck was a professional footballer with the Yorkshire club, Huddersfield Town. He was also a reservist with the Second Battalion, the York and Lancaster Regiment.

Recalled to the colours at the onset of war, he was sent to France where he fought in the early battles of 1914, the so-called "Race to the Sea".

Larrett Roebuck was killed in October 1914 during his battalion's actions near the village of Beaucamps, close to the Belgian border. 

His grave has never been found, despite the relatively recent discovery of the remains of 15 fellow soldiers of his regiment. They will be reburied at a Commonwealth military cemetery on October 22nd 2014.

Not only was Larrett Roebuck the first player in the English Football League to be killed in action, but he died at an early stage of the war.

This was at a time when clubs and footballers were under criticism for sustaining league competitions when so many volunteers were flocking to the colours.

On behalf of The Western Front Association, Alan Hodgson and David Tattersfield have created an extensively researched and illustrated history of Larret Roebuck's family life, and his careers as a footballer, soldier and miner.

To read the full story, click here.  

Information and images supplied by the Western Front Association

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News