December 29. International rugby players served in WW1. Roll of Honour

On the first day of 1912 Ireland played France at rugby in Paris. Irish internationals Alfred Squire Taylor, William Victor Edwards, and William Beatty sprinted on to the Parc des Princes turf. Edwards, from Strandtown, Belfast, who played in the pack for Ulster, was making his first appearance in Irish colours. He was chosen to be Ireland’s new number eight. He was killed on 29/12/1917 during the defence of the city of Jerusalem. Taylor was to die at the third battle of Ypres and Beatty died shortly after the war. Edmund Smyth from Banbridge was another former international player to die. See today’s Sportsman’s RH. This day in 1915 James Collins from Randalstown died in Salonika with Royal Irish Fusiliers. In 1914 Edward Benson, son of the rector of Ballymoney, enlisted with the Royal Naval Air Service’s Armoured Car Division. He served in Europe and in Russia. William Smith from Bushmills died in a Japanese POW camp in 1941. He had been in the ill-fated HMS Repulse. In 1942 Norman Kyle from Carnmoney fell during the Faughs’ operations around Goubellat, Tunisia on 27-29 December. Photo – Vichte Military Cemetery, Belgium. It is located 40 kms east of Ypres and 13 kms east of Kortrijk. It contains 236 WW1 burials and 2 from WW2.

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