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Leeds Rugby’s War Heroes remembered with new memorial

1st August 2017 | 8:36 am

By Dan Phillis

The memorial, erected in honour of the 16 Leeds Rugby League players who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War is located in the memorial gardens at Headingley Carnegie Stadium

War heroes from Leeds Rugby’s past have been honoured with a new memorial at Headingley Carnegie.

WP – In Article MPU

War heroes from Leeds Rugby’s past have been honoured with a new memorial at Headingley Carnegie.

Dignitaries, including the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and the armed forces came together at Headingley Carnegie Stadium for the unveiling of a marble memorial stone, erected in honour of the 16 Leeds Rugby League players who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War.

Over the past two years work has been undertaken by Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Heritage Committee to research and collate a full list of Leeds players, both first team and second team, who died during First World War.

The memorial, which is situated next to the memorial garden at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, was unveiled by Air CDRE Dean Andrew OBE MA MBA RAF, president of the Rugby Football League and blessed by Leeds Rhinos chaplain the Reverend Stephen Mitchell.

Speaking on behalf of the Heritage Committee, its chairman Phil Caplan commented: “When the Leeds Rhinos Foundation heritage committee was established, we felt we had a duty not just to preserve and uncover the past but to respect and honour it.

“Not merely to see that events were properly researched and recorded but by telling the stories and properly commemorating the deeds of those associated with a club of such worldwide renown.”

The ceremony was attended by relatives of some of the players honoured including Andy Jarman, grandson of international Billy Jarman, who fought and died at the Battle of the Somme in August 1916.

“My wife, Karen and I were honoured and humbled to be invited to Headingley for the unveiling ceremony of the First World War memorial plaque,” he said.

“It was a privilege to be able to speak to those present about the life of Samuel William (Billy) Jarman, his rugby career with Leeds and England and his contribution to the Battle of The Somme.

“I am extremely grateful to those who made this possible. Billy is one of the thousands who have an unmarked grave, this permanent memorial will keep his memory alive. It was a unique and memorable day.”

Current Rhinos star Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who is also a trustee for the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, read a poem by Wilfred Owen at the unveiling.

“It’s important for the club, it’s important for Leeds Rhinos Foundation and it’s important for the city to recognise these people who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the liberty of those of us who are able to play great sports like rugby league because of it,” he noted.

“Big credit has got to go out to the Heritage Committee who make sure that these things happen at our great club.”