Banner image

In-Depth: Bristol Rugby and Remembrance

The Memorial Gates offer a stark reminder of Bristol Rugby’s unbreakable relationship with Armistice Day – and this week’s clash between Bristol United and the UK Armed Forces sees the club continue its rich military links.

A total of 26 Bristol Rugby players lost their lives in World War One, with a further 17 perishing in World War Two. This week – on Wednesday evening (UK Armed Forces fixture), Saturday afternoon (Bristol Rugby vs Rotherham Titans) and Sunday morning (Remembrance Day Service) – we will remember them and the millions of others who have lost their lives on military duty.

Here’s some at-a-glance facts – courtesy of club historian, Mark Hoskins – about Bristol Rugby’s relationship with the UK Armed Forces:

  • Bristol have played the Combined Services on six occasions, winning four times and losing twice. The first fixture was on November 29th, 1924 and the most recent on November 3rd, 1993. There was also one fixture against Combined Services & British Police.
  • The fixture was usually played to give the Combined Services a warm-up match prior to a game with a touring team. For example, the game in 1970 preceded Combined Services vs Fiji and the game in 1972 preceded Combined Services vs New Zealand.
  • Bristol has a long history of matches against services teams. Fixtures have been played against: The Army, Royal Navy, RAF, Royal Naval Engineering College, Devonport Services, United Services Portsmouth, Aldershot Services, A Services XV, Gloucestershire Regiment.
  • In the 1931 Bristol v Combined Services match, Douglas Bader played for Combined Services. This was only a few weeks before he lost his legs in a flying accident.
  • Bristol players, who have been regular members of the services, include Andy Hoon, Hamish Bryce, Garath Archer (Army), Paul Hull, Gavin Sharp, Stuart Crossland, Chris Moore (RAF), John Leigh, Bob Armstrong, Mick Reece (Royal Navy).
  • The Bristol Supporters’ XV raised over £600 for various services charities during the Second World War.
  • WSD Craven, one of the founders of the Army Rugby Union, played one game for Bristol.
  • Ira Jones, the highest-scoring Welsh flying ace of World War One, played for Bristol in 1921-22.
  • 26 men who played for the club fell in WW1 and 17 in WW2.
  • Captain Manley Angell James VC played for Bristol. He was a native of the city and attended Bristol Grammar School.
  • Reg Pickles, Bristol’s first post-WW1 captain, appeared for Mother Country in the 1918-19 Inter Services Tournament known as the King’s Cup.  

Bristol United take on the UK Armed Forces on Wednesday, 8th November (7:45pm KO). You can purchase tickets by clicking here.

Related News

Bristol United to face UK Armed Forces in charity fixture

Bristol United to face UK Armed Forces in charity fixture

Posted: Monday, October 23rd 2017

Team news: Bristol United vs UK Armed Forces

Team news: Bristol United vs UK Armed Forces

Posted: Tuesday, November 7th 2017

Report: Bristol City Under-23s 1-2 UK Armed Forces

Report: Bristol City Under-23s 1-2 UK Armed Forces

Posted: Friday, July 28th 2017

Bristol Sport Kicks Off Poppy Day Appeal

Bristol Sport Kicks Off Poppy Day Appeal

Posted: Wednesday, November 5th 2014

Latest News

Nominate players for U14s Aspire Programme

Nominate players for U14s Aspire Programme

Posted: Monday, October 25th 2021

Gallagher Premiership round 11-13 fixtures confirmed

Gallagher Premiership round 11-13 fixtures confirmed

Posted: Wednesday, October 20th 2021

Scarlets and Tigers fixtures on general sale now

Scarlets and Tigers fixtures on general sale now

Posted: Wednesday, October 20th 2021

Loan watch: Lloyd's 12-point haul in dramatic Clifton defeat

Loan watch: Lloyd's 12-point haul in dramatic Clifton defeat

Posted: Tuesday, October 19th 2021

Also from Bristol Sport

🎥 Highlights: West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Bristol City
Football icon

🎥 Highlights: West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Bristol City

Highlights from the Hawthorns as Bristol City fell to a 3-0 defeat against West Bromwich Albion.

Posted: Sunday, October 24th 2021 • Football

🎥 'We were well off it today' - Pearson
Football icon

🎥 'We were well off it today' - Pearson

Manager Nigel Pearson gave his reflections on City’s performance after a 3-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion.

Posted: Saturday, October 23rd 2021 • Football

Game Recap » Bristol Flyers 81-82 Surrey Scorchers
Basketball icon

Game Recap » Bristol Flyers 81-82 Surrey Scorchers

Bristol Flyers narrowly lost at home to Surrey Scorchers in the BBL Cup.

Posted: Saturday, October 23rd 2021 • Basketball

📝 REPORT: West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Bristol City
Football icon

📝 REPORT: West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Bristol City

Bristol City fell to a 3-0 defeat against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns.

Posted: Saturday, October 23rd 2021 • Football

Overseas stream on Robins TV for Baggies game
Football icon

Overseas stream on Robins TV for Baggies game

As per EFL regulations, today's Sky Bet Championship match at West Bromwich Albion will be on Robins TV to international subscribers only.

Posted: Saturday, October 23rd 2021 • Football