February 25, 1915
There are fewer participants in sports and games since the war began than ever before. Golf clubs, crickets clubs, football clubs, Rugby clubs, and boxing clubs all tell the same tale, and when the season approaches tennis, croquet, and swimming clubs will have a similar story to unfold.
Players are few, and consist of those barred by age or prevented by civil responsibilities from being engaged on military service. The membership of the various golf clubs, for instance, has been so depleted by enlistment in the Army or Navy that seldom, if ever, has the “starting sheet” to be requisitioned, even on Saturdays.
Quite a quarter of the players from the local clubs have joined the forces, and unfortunately a fair number have fallen in action.
Golfers on service
Taking, for example, a few of the most important clubs, it will be seen what an inroad war has made in the lists of active players. No fewer than 126 members have joined the forces from the Royal Liverpool Club, which has a membership of somewhere about 750, and sad to relate four of these members have already fallen in action. In addition, eight of the staff are on active service.
The West Lancashire Golf Club is proud to record forty-five of its members as being now on military service, as also three of its staff. The membership roll of this club bear the names of about 400. So far as is at present known none of its military members have been killed.
Out of 250 members of the Chester Golf Club, fifty-three joined the forces, and here again they have to record two as having been killed – Major J.H. Massey and Captain Grayson. One members of this club, Second-Lieutenant H.M. Atkinson, has already distinguished himself, and has been awarded the D.S.O. Second-Lieutenant Atkinson, by the way, was the Welsh amateur golf champions for 1913.
Caddies have also responded to the call of country, and here again the Chester Golf Club have about 100 of these on its honour roll. The Wallasey Golf Club has sixty-five out of 400 members on active service; and the Formby Golf Club 115 out of a membership of 500.
The Leasowe Golf Club has got ten of its members on service out of a roll of 260 players. Several of the caddies from this club are also now wearing khaki. Besides, Leasowe links is now used by the military five days of the week as a shooting range.
Positions of sports clubs
There is also scarcely a Rugby club in the whole Liverpool district that has not a great number of its members now wearing either khaki or naval uniform. In fact secretaries of these clubs aver that Rugby football has the honour of having a higher representation among the forces at the present time than any other sport.
Harriers clubs, too, in consequence of the war are running fewer members this season than ever in the past.
Several of the cricket clubs have also under consideration the abandonment of their summer fixtures. Owing to an inadequate number of players remaining they doubt the possibility of securing fully representative teams.
So far as boxing is concerned, the great difficulty is in fixing up matches having any real value, for so many of the pugilists have thrown aside the boxing gloves in favour of the rifle and refused the attractive purses.
The problem of the swimming clubs is likely to be a serious one during the forthcoming
In fact, there is no branch of sports that has not contributed in men very largely to all branches of his Majesty’s Forces.
(Liverpool Daily Post: February 25, 1915)