1941

Obituaries during the war, 1940

BLOUNT, AIR VICE-MARSHAL C. H. B., C.B., M.C., died as the result of an air crash in October, aged 46. A very good bat for Harrow, he scored 137 at Lord's when captain, but his great second inning's effort did not prevent defeat, Eton winnings by six wickets. Behind the stumps he also showed good form. He played several times for the Royal Air Force against the Royal Navy at Lord's and was well known in cricket circles as a member of M.C.C., I Zingari and Free Foresters.

BOUGHEY, Mr. J. F., captain of the Eton XI in 1938, fell while on service with the Coldstream Guards in September. A. N. A. Boyd, Eton captain in 1934, and B. M. Fisher, who enjoyed the same distinction in 1935, also lost their lives, three recent Eton cricket captains dying for their country during the summer. A very capable batsman, Boughey showed to advantage under any conditions of pitch. In his first match against Harrow he gave proof of sterling ability until rain brought the match to an end. Next year, when Eton won by seven wickets, he and J. P. Mann put on 102 in a stand that checked a collapse, five men having been dismissed for 39 runs. His 61 contributed largely to the triumph that came after a Harrow declaration. As captain he set a fine example of confidence and skill with 95 against Haileybury, and at Lord's he contributed 65 to a second innings of 118, the match being drawn. His season's record showed 361 runs, average 32. In May 1940 he played for a Sussex XI against R. A. F. at Lewes.

BOYD, MR. A. N. A., the Eton captain in 1934, a Lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards, was reported early in June-- Killed in action. An exceptionally good batsman, he gained a place in the Eton eleven of 1932 and finished his School career with 100 against Harrow at Lord's in the third consecutive drawn match between the Schools. During the season he made 606 runs, average 50.50. Besides his century at Lord's he scored 153 off the Eton Ramblers attack and 111 against Charterhouse. Boyd, his opening partner, M. D. P. Magill, and B. M. Fisher, wicket keeper in the 1934 side, were announced in the same casualty list as killed. An all-round athlete, Boyd was awarded Field Game and Association Football colours.

BUTTERWORTH, PILOT OFFICER REGINALD EDMUND COMPTON, R.A.F.V.R., the Harrow, Oxford and Middlesex cricketer, was killed in action in May. An all-rounder, he started the bowling against Eton at Lord's in 1924, and in the two innings took eight wickets for 107 runs. Although bowling well for the Freshmen and scoring 79 in early trial, his form when first at Oxford was unreliable, and not until 1927 did he receive his Blue from E. R. T. Holmes. That season he scored 110 at the Oval against Surrey and 101 against Free Foresters, but, though always likely to prove valuable with either bat or ball, he did little against Cambridge. A good stroke player, he seldom wasted opportunities of scoring; his medium-paced bowling was difficult when he made the ball swing late. In recent years he played many good innings for Middlesex, and in 1937 opened the batting in several matches with either Edrich or Price.

ECKERSLEY, LIEUTENANT PETER THORP, R.N.V.R., M.P., died on August 13 at the age of 36 as the outcome of an accident when flying. Known as the cricketer-airman, he often flew his own plane to matches. In 1928, when prospective candidate for the Newton division of Lancashire, he announced the compulsion of deciding between politics and cricket and that he chose cricket. Experience at Rugby and Cambridge University, where he did not get his Blue, equipped Eckersley so well in batting and fielding that after one season in the eleven he was appointed captain of the Lancashire County club when only 24. This difficult position, with little amateur companionship, he held with honour for six years and led his side to the Championship in 1934.

In the seasons 1923 to 1936 Eckersley often played well when his side were badly placed, and he scored 5,730 runs, including a very good century against Gloucestershire at Bristol. A first-rate fieldsman, he set his team a splendid example, notably at times when some slackness was apparent. Still, he retained a liking for politics and, reversing his previous decision, he contested the Leigh division in 1931 before he achieved his ambition by becoming Unionist Member of Parliament for the Exchange Division of Manchester in 1935. He consequently resigned the captaincy of Lancashire, but his restless nature, known so well to intimate friends, influenced him to join the Air Arm of the R.N.V.R. when war broke out. Despite indifferent health he was always keen for duty until his strength became overtaxed.

FISHER, PILOT OFFICER B. M., posted killed early in June, kept wicket for Eton in the 1934 match and next season succeeded A. N. A. Boyd as captain. His highest score that year was 33 against Harrow at Lord's.

GRAHAM, MAJOR JAMES PATRICK ARTHUR, of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, who fell in action in Belgium, aged 38, was in the Winchester XI in 1920.

HAWTIN, W. who was on the Northampton ground staff and played for the county in a few matches during the seasons 1929 to 1934, died in March as the result of an accident when working on munitions. In recent years he was professional to the Wigan club.

HAYE MR. J. C., captain of the Penzance club and an occasional player for Cornwall, was killed on active service early in the year.

HENRIQUES MR. D. J. Q., of the Harrow XI, 1936 and 1937, a Second Lieutenant in the Sherwood Foresters, was killed in action during May, aged 21.

HODGKINSON, CAPTAIN G. F., of the Sherwood Foresters, was reported wounded and missing in July. When 22 he played first for Derbyshire against the South African team of 1935, and was the highest scorer with 44 in the County's first innings.

JACKSON, MR. JAMES BERTRAM, who was in the Eton XI 1935 and 1936, died on August 21, in the Military Hospital, Colchester, as the result of an accident when on duty. Aged 22, he was a Second Lieutenant in the 4/7 Dragoon guards.

JELF, MR. RICHARD HILL, a Second Lieutenant in the Derbyshire Yeomanry, was killed while flying in July. For Eton in 1928 and 1929 he was a useful slow left-hand bowler.

LEGGE, LIEUT. GEOFFREY BEVINGTON, R.N.V.R., Fleet Air Arm, suffered death while flying in November, aged 37. Legge played little first-class cricket since 1930, when he resigned the Kent captaincy. After batting up to the high form associated with Malvern School, where he was captain, particularly in off-driving and cutting, Legge gained his Oxford Blue in 1925 and captained the University XI next season. Each year he headed the batting averages, and scored 83 in four innings, against Cambridge, the first of two good matches ending in a draw and Oxford losing the other by 34 runs. In this 1926 match R. G. H. Lowe did the fifth hat-trick, all by Cambridge bowlers, in the University match. In 1928 he succeeded A. J. Evans as Kent captain, and managed the side so well in the field that Lancashire, winners of the Championship, alone came out with a superior record. He went to South Africa in the winter of 1927, and also toured New Zealand and Australia when A. H. H. Gilligan captained the M.C.C. team in 1929. At Auckland in the specially arranged fourth Test Match, Legge excelled by making 196, the next highest score in a total of 540 being 75 by M. S. Nichols. Legge bowled slows with some success. Usually fielding in the slips, he seldom dropped any catch within reach, and in everything he attempted showed skill at the game. He was in the Malvern football eleven and also represented the School at rackets.

LOVEGROVE, MR. E. W., a Lieutenant in the Sherwood Foresters, was killed in action early in the year, aged 32. He did well in the Cheltenham XI, averaging over 30 in 1927, and gave Suffolk useful help as recently as 1939 with an average of 21.75.

MACAULAY, PILOT OFFICER GEORGE GIBSON, one of the chief Yorkshire bowlers during a career lasting from 1920 to 1935, died on active service, as announced in December. Born at Thirsk on December 7, 1897, he did not take part in County cricket until 23 years of age, when he appeared for Yorkshire as a fast bowler. Under the influence of George Hirst and Wilfred Rhodes, he reduced his speed to medium pace, developing spin and controlling his length with such effect that on June 2, 1921, at Hull, six Derbyshire batsmen fell to him at a cost of only 3 runs, his match record being seven wickets for 12 runs. That success set MacAulay on the road to fame. Forsaking his position in a bank, he became a valued member of the County side.

In fifteen seasons, when a regular member of the Yorkshire XI, he took 1,773 wickets for the County at 17.08 runs apiece, and altogether in first-class cricket 1,838 at 17.64. He reached the top of his form in 1925, when in County Championship matches he claimed 176 wickets at 15.21 runs each, and his full record showed 211 wickets, average 15.48. Under suitable conditions for using the off-break, batsmen seemed at his mercy. Four times he did the hat-trick, more often than any other Yorkshire bowler, and for the County only Rhodes, Hirst, and Schofield Haigh have proved more successful with the ball. Not only did he often send down the unplayable delivery, but he could keep batsmen on the defensive for long periods; such an instance occurred at Kettering against Northamptonshire in 1933, when he bowled fourteen overs for nine runs and dismissed seven batsmen. Like others capable of turning the ball a lot from the off, MacAulay often bowled round the wicket; short steps to the crease and easy delivery were characteristics that earned him a distinct place among contemporaries. In the field he excelled close to the batsman, particularly when Emmot Robinson, his chief supporter in the Yorkshire attack, was bowling. These two were unchanged in the 1927 match with Worcestershire.

MacAulay soon met with recognition from the England selection committee, and, after appearing for the Players at Lord's, he was chosen to go to South Africa with the team captained by F. T. Mann in 1922. MacAulay took a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket; then, in a sensational finish to this match at Capetown, he made the stroke which brought England victory by one wicket. In his only match for England against Australia--at Leeds in 1926--he did little with the ball, but, joining George Greary, he scored 76, the ninth wicket realising 108 runs. This stand went a long way towards enabling England to make an honourable draw in face of a total of 494 by Australia.

If this was his most noteworthy performance with the bat, MacAulay frequently gave useful help, and his runs for Yorkshire totalled 5,759, average 18.11. An injury to his spinning finger in 1934, when attempting to hold a return catch in the match with Leicestershire at Headingley, no doubt hastened MacAulay's retirement from the county. He left Yorkshire at the end of the next season and then played for League clubs in Wales, Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Educated at Barnard Castle, MacAulay regularly each season brought an eleven of noted players to meet his old school. During the 1914-18 war MacAulay served in the Royal Field Artillery, and early in 1940 he joined the Royal Air Force.

His benefit was a small reward for a Yorkshire professional, realising no more than £1,633, but the County made him a special grant of £250 on his retirement.

MAGILL MR. M. D. P., Lieutenant in the Berkshire Regiment, appeared in a casualty list early in June. He went in first with the Eton captain, A. N. A. Boyd, in the 1934 match against Harrow, but was more prominent at Rugby football, captaining the Eton XV in 1935.

MATTHEWS, SUB-LIEUT. MICHAEL HARRINGTON, R.N.V.R., fell in action, as announced on June 1, aged 26. From Westminister School he went to Oxford, gaining his Blue as Wicket keeper in 1936, a position he held for two seasons. Very safe with his hands, he caught N. W. D. Yardley, M. Tindall, P. M. Studd, R. G. Hunt and T. W. Fraser in the Cambridge first innings of the 1937 encounter, and so took a conspicuous part in an Oxford victory in the University match at Lord's after an interval of five years. He was a useful sprint runner and boxer. In 1937 he was awarded a first in Greats--the highest classical honour for an Oxford undergraduate. He was son of the Rev. W. R. Matthews, Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral.

NELSON, MR. ROBERT PRYNNE, became a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Marines and was killed in October. His death at the age of 28 brought grief to his many cricket associates. A free left-handed batsman with good style, he made many runs when at St. George's School, Harpenden, where he became a master. He got his Cambridge Blue in 1936, and scoring 91 at Lord's, gave a delightful display. Controlling his lively strokes by clever placing, he cut and drove to the off in beautiful style. He was unfortunate, when so near a century, to fall to a remarkable catch at short leg. Walford knocked up the ball over his shoulder and, turning round, held the catch an inch from the ground as he fell full length. His stand of 133 with N. W. D. Yardley contributed largely to the Cambridge total of 432 and the eventual victory by eight wickets. He got only a single while the 17 runs wanted were knocked off, but his highest score of the season was the best in the match. After a few appearances for Middlesex, Nelson joined Northamptonshire, and captained the eleven with such good effect in the last two seasons of first-class cricket that in 1939 a decisive win at Cambridge was followed by victory in a county match after a prolonged spell of misfortune extending over three years. The success over Leicestershire enabled Northamptonshire to rise from the bottom of the Championship, a position which they had occupied in five consecutive seasons.

Besides exercising the heartening influence of a buoyant personality, Nelson stood out as one of the chief batsmen for the County, scoring 1,031 runs, average 27.13, in 1938, and 1,078, average 32.66, next season. He showed skill in managing his attack and knew when to use his own slow left-hand bowling. His possibilities as an all-rounder were seen at The Saffrons in 1937, when for M.C.C. he scored 183 not out and dismissed six Eastbourne batsmen for 13 runs.

He appeared for the Empire XI several times, heading the averages with 49.83, and played also for Club Cricket Conference at Lord's last summer.

D. L. Donnelly, who organised the British Empire eleven, received this tribute to Nelson from W. C. Brown, the Northamptonshire captain from 1933 to 1935, and present honorary secretary of the county club:--

Robert Nelson's death is a tragedy. Having known him, you will appreciate what his loss means to this county. His own prowess allied to his patience with, and encouragement to, those under him worked wonders. At the end of 1937 the Northamptonshire side was a disorganised rabble. In two seasons he quietly and imperceptibly moulded them into a team which it was impossible to recognise as the same lot who had done duty before he took over the captaincy. His promise to carry on for at least one season after the war had been the mainspring of the Committee's exertions to keep the club together since county cricket lapsed. His loss has left a great gap.

Donnelly himself wrote: Robert Nelson was a source of inspiration to us this summer. In our efforts to raise funds for the Red Cross and in our desire to provide attractive, keen cricket on the field he was always eager to help. From his quiet, unassuming manner it was impossible to gather that he was a personality in the cricket world. We who played with him admired him immensely.

From the time of his first match for St. George's School, Harpenden, at the age of 12, R. P. Nelson kept a record of his performances without a break. table>

PERKINS, COLONEL AENEAS, F. Q., M.C., R.E. Commands and Staff, fell in action, as gazetted early in June, aged 47. At Wellington he was captain of the School; played in the Cricket XI and the Rugby XV before going to Woolwich Academy, where he won the Sword of Honour. He played Rugby for Harlequins when led by Adrian Stoop, and cricket with Free Foresters and I. Zingari. Wounded in 1914, he was awarded the Military Cross in 1917, besides being mentioned several times in despatches during the war period 1914-18.

RUCKER, CAPTAIN P. W., fell in action in May, aged 40. He did well at Charterhouse when captain of the eleven, his bowling average showing 37 wickets at 9.67 in 1918. Next year he gained his Blue at Oxford under Miles Howell. He did little at Lord's in the University match, revived after a lapse of four years during the war. The occasion was remarkable if not unique, for two brothers opposed two brothers: F. W. Gilligan and F. C. G. Nauman played for Oxford against A. E. R. Gilligan and J. H. Nauman in the Cambridge eleven.

WHEWELL MR. W. T., killed during an air raid in October, besides being an admirable centre-half for Cambridge, Corinthians, and in amateur international Association football, played cricket for Cambridgeshire. A useful batsman, he helped the County whenever possible from 1933. Educated at Blackburn Grammar School, he became a schoolmaster after finishing his University career.

© John Wisden & Co