This painting commemorates some of the many professional football players that had their career interrupted and effected by the First World War and sadly lost their lives whilst serving for their country. 


1. Leigh Richmond Roose (Goalkeeper): A Welsh international who played for a number of professional clubs in the Football League between 1901 and 1912. 

He joined British Army on the outbreak of the War  and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in France and Gallipoli before returning to London and enlisted as a private of the Royal Fusiliers in 1916 serving  on the Western Front, where his goalkeeping abilities resulted in his becoming a noted grenade thrower. Promoted to the rank of lance corporal, Roose was killed, aged 38, on the Somme in October 1916.

2. Donald Simpson Bell (Defender/midfielder): During World War I he was awarded the Victoria Cross for actions during the Battle of the Somme in mid-1916. When World War I broke out, he became the first professional footballer to enlist into the British Army –  joining the West Yorkshire Regiment in 1915. Bell was shot in the head by a sniper on 10 July 1916 while attacking a machine-gun post near the village of Contalmaison. He is buried at Gordon Dump Cemetery, near Albert.

3. Larret Roebuck (Left-back): Roebuck was an English professional footballer who played in the Football League for Huddersfield Town. The first Football League player to be killed in action, he With the York and Lancaster Regiment he arrived on the Western Front in September 1914. On 18 October 1914, Roebuck was recorded as "presumed dead" after an attack near Beaucamps-Ligny during the Race to the Sea.

4. Richard McFadden (Striker): McFadden started his career in the Northern League with Blyth in November 1910, before moving to Wallsend Park Villa. In May 1911, he joined Clapton where he  broke Orient's goalscoring record in his first season with the club, scoring 19 goals, only to break the record again in what was to be his final season, 1914–1915, with 21 goals.

McFadden attracted press attention off the pitch in 1912 when he rescued an 11-year-old boy from the River Lea, and he also risked his own life when rescuing a man from a burning building.  At the outbreak of World War I McFadden joined the 17th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, the "Footballers' Battalion", along with 40 other Orient players and staff. On the 22nd of October 1916, McFadden was fatally wounded by a shell blast whilst leading his men near Serre-lès-Puisieux. He died of wounds the next day in a field hospital.

5. James Comrie (Centre half): While a part-time footballer with Lincoln City, he worked as an attendant at Bracebridge Pauper Lunatic Asylum.

In 1915, during the second year of the First World War, Comrie enlisted as a private in the Northumberland Fusiliers. He died of wounds inflicted by a German trench mortar on 9 August 1916 near Méteren, France, during the Battle of the Somme. Comrie is commemorated on the Menin Gate.

6. Jasper Batey (Midfielder): Batey played for South Shields, Portsmouth, and Brighton & Hove Albion.

Nicknamed "Ginger" after the popular Batey's beer, Batey enlisted into the 17th (Service) Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, at the outbreak of the First World War. He was transferred to the Army Cyclist Corps after his enlistment. He was serving as a private when he was killed in action on 23 October 1916 in France.

7. Walter Tull (Inside forward/half back): He played as an inside forward and half back for Clapton, Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town and was the third person of mixed heritage to play in the top division of the Football League after Arthur Wharton and Willie Clarke. He was also the first black player to be signed for Rangers F.C. in 1917 while stationed in Scotland.

Tull served in the Middlesex Regiment, including in the two Footballers' Battalions. He was the first’man of colour” to be  commissioned as a second lieutenant on 30 May 1917 and killed in action near the village of Favreuil in the Pas-de-Calais on 25 March 1918  during the First Battle of Bapaume.

8. Alphonse Six (Striker): Six was born in Bruges and is mainly remembered for his goal-scoring capacities.  with Cercle Brugge he scored 93 times in only 89 matches. His 1910–1911 season was especially remarkable, when scoring 38 goals in 20 matches.

Six played nine times for Belgium, scoring eight goals. 

In 1912,  he moved to Olympique Lillois, where he became the first Belgian football player to become a champion in a foreign country.He was   killed on 19 August, only two weeks after war broke out when  Belgian troops were surrounded by the Germans near Boutersem

9. Evelyn Lintott (Half back): He played as a half back for Plymouth Argyle and Queens Park Rangers in the Southern League, and Bradford City and Leeds City in the Football League. Lintott was capped seven times by the England national team .He was killed in action on the first day on the Somme, the opening day of the Battle of Albert. Lintott lost his life along with more than 19,000 other men.

10. Wilfred Bartrop (Ouside forward): Bartrop started his career at home side Worksop before transferring to Barnsley on 21 June 1909. He played in both FA Cup finals that Barnsley reached in 1910 and 1912, winning the cup in 1912.  At the end of the 1913–14 season he transferred to Liverpool who he played a total of 3 games for before his career was interrupted by the First World War.

He joined the Royal Field Artillery as a Gunner in a Trench Mortar Battery. He died in  Belgium 4 days be fore the Armistice  when his unit came under heavy artillery fire at the river Escaut on 7 November 1918. Bartrop was severely wounded in the legs and chest by an airburst and died of wounds seconds later. 

11) Tom Gracie (Centre forward): He signed for Everton in 1911 after playing for Scotland's reserves vs England at Goodinson Park. A season later he switched to the red half of Merseyside, signing for Liverpool in an exchange deal. Gracie was unable to establish himself in the Liverpool first team, making only sporadic appearances in his two and a half seasons at Anfield. He returned to Scotland in 1914, admitting to feeling "unappreciated"in the south. 

In March 1915 he was diagnosed with leukemia. Despite his illness and against medical recommendation he decided to continue to play with Hearts and train with his battalion. Gracie died on 23 October 1915 in Stobhill Hospital in his hometown Glasgow.

12) Sabdy Turnball (Inside forward): Turnbull started his football career with his hometown club, Hurlford Thistle. He later moved to Manchester City and end of 1906 he moved on to rivals Manchester United helped the club to their first championship in 1908 and the 1909 FA Cup, scoring the only goal in the final, against Bristol City. He would go on to score 100 goals for the club in 245 games.

Turnbull enlisted in the 23rd Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment before being transferred to the 8th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. Turnbull was killed during the Battle of Arras on 3 May 1917 aged 32.



Least We Forget

  • Handmade artwork printed in high resolution on premium white art paper. Prints are unframed.
    All prints come numbered and signed by the artist, Bernard Kelly.