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Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Day Delroy Facey Sent QPR Back to Division 3

2000/2001 Season
1. Fulham 46 30 11 5 90 32 +58 101
2. Blackburn Rovers 46 26 13 7 76 39 +37 91
3. Bolton Wanderers 46 24 15 7 76 45 +31 87
4. Preston North End 46 23 9 14 64 52 +12 78
5. Birmingham City 46 23 9 14 59 48 +11 78
6. West Bromwich Albion 46 21 11 14 60 52 +8 74
7. Burnley 46 21 9 16 50 54 -4 72
8. Wimbledon 46 17 18 11 71 50 +21 69
9. Watford 46 20 9 17 76 67 +9 69
10. Sheffield United 46 19 11 16 52 49 +3 68
11. Nottingham Forest 46 20 8 18 55 53 +2 68
12. Wolverhampton Wanderers 46 14 13 19 45 48 -3 55
13. Gillingham 46 13 16 17 61 66 -5 55
14. Crewe Alexandra 46 15 10 21 47 62 -15 55
15. Norwich City 46 14 12 20 46 58 -12 54
16. Barnsley 46 15 9 22 49 62 -13 54
17. Sheffield Wednesday 46 15 8 23 52 71 -19 53
18. Grimsby Town 46 14 10 22 43 62 -19 52
19. Stockport County 46 11 18 17 58 65 -7 51
20. Portsmouth 46 10 19 17 47 59 -12 49
21. Crystal Palace 46 12 13 21 57 70 -13 49
22. Huddersfield Town 46 11 15 20 48 57 -9 48
23. Queens Park Rangers 46 7 19 20 45 75 -30 40
24. Tranmere Rovers 46 9 11 26 46 77 -31 38

Happy Hanukkah to Jewish QPR Fans across the Globe

  Happy Thanksgiving to QPR Fans in the United States. And American QPR Fans around the world.



- Past Doncaster Games (From the Bushman Archives)

- Flashback to a QPR Fan in the Vietnam War

- Seven Years Ago: QPR Home Loss to Roy Keane's Sunderland

From Today's News: Six Charged

Flashback ...April 2001
"Striker Delroy Facey's injury-time tap-in condemned QPR to Second Division football next season...

 One of the worst moments in QPR memory: And there have been more than one in the last few years!) QPR's relegation back to the old "Third Division" (in 2001 called the Second Division; and now called League 1) was made certain with a 2-1 loss at Huddersfield, who had Kevin Gallen playing for them. QPR were under the recently-appointed Ian Holloway.

(And of course, off the field, the club was in some considerable turmoil, with the Chairman selling up and the club going into Administration - having just fought off a merger with Wimbledon.) Ironically, Huddersfield were also relegated at the end of the season.

And on a personal level, was engaged in a family milestone celebration that day.

The QPR team on that sad, sad day: Harper, Baraclough, Ready, Plummer, Perry, Knight, Bignot, Peacock, Darlington, Crouch, Thomson. Subs: Bull, Wardley, Paquette, Kulcsar, Kiwomya.


BBC - Saturday, 21 April, 2001

Striker Delroy Facey's injury-time tap-in condemned QPR to Second Division football next season.

Facey picked up his 10th goal of the season in the fourth minute of stoppage time after Andy Booth's shot was parried straight to him by the visitors' keeper Lee Harper.

Facey, who turns 21 on Sunday, wheeled away in celebration knowing that his goal also helped the Terriers in their own fight against relegation.

Huddersfield took the lead on 33 minutes when Dean Gorre's low, 18-yard drive took a deflection off Ian Baraclough, leaving Harper stranded.


Rangers hit back on 43 minutes when Marcus Bignot's long ball down the right was expertly controlled by Andy Thomson, who then lobbed advancing keeper Nico Vaesen from 10 yards.

In an action-packed first half, Huddersfield had three shots cleared off the line by Mark Perry (twice) and then Baraclough.

Andy Booth struck a fierce shot goalwards after rounding Harper on nine minutes, but Perry, at full stretch, denied the recent recruit from Sheffield Wednesday.

Booth turned provider on 28 minutes with a fine left-wing cross which Simon Baldry thumped goalwards only to see Perry block the effort.

Sterile second half

Town's Chris Lucketti followed up but Baraclough stuck his leg out and blocked the ball before Karl Ready hacked the ball to safety.

At the other end, 6ft 6in striker Peter Crouch seemed certain to put Rangers ahead on three minutes but he mishitee a shot into the ground and saw the ball balloon high over Vaesen's right-hand upright despite having only the big Belgian to beat from just six yards.

The second period was a sterile non-event in which neither side produced much of note.

QPR substitute Chris Kiwomya had a late goal ruled out for offside, and Huddersfield's best chance came on 74 minutes when Lucketti headed unmarked straight at Harper from a Baldry free-kick.

Facey's winning touch was a cruel blow on a hard working QPR side who matched Huddersfield stride for stride in an evenly balanced game.

The visiting players collapsed on the floor at the final whistle knowing that they were certain to be relegated.

Huddersfield: Vaesen, Heary, Lucketti, Jenkins, Baldry, Armstrong, Gorre, Holland, Thornley, Booth, Facey. Subs: Margetson, Gray, Moses, Irons, Gallen.

QPR: Harper, Baraclough, Ready, Plummer, Perry, Knight, Bignot, Peacock, Darlington, Crouch, Thomson. Subs: Bull, Wardley, Paquette, Kulcsar, Kiwomya.

Referee: A Bates (Stoke on Trent).


BOSS Ian Holloway was absolutely heartbroken on hearing the news that Rangers had been relegated following Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield.

Olly said:" What can I say? The lads are absolutely devastated. All I can say is that they didn't lose our First Division status on the Huddersfield result alone. I thought they gave me everything on Saturday and showed great character. I felt we could have won the match.

"I don't think we would have lost the Huddersfield game if we didn't have to win it, if you see what I mean. I wouldn't have done the things we tried to do just to get the three points that we needed.

"If the players can show the character and the spirit that they have shown over the last couple of weeks, I feel the place can improve. I thank the players for their efforts and I think we've been a real team over the last five or six games. The spirit has improved and my boys are hurting now.

"The club have had a long fall and face a hard climb. You cannot get away from what we have been this season and we have capitulated at times.

"But I think the lads will take this on and remember this feeling. I feel we have improved and things can only get better. We have got to turn the negatives into positives.

"Rangers are a wonderful club. I love the place. And those supporters who were singing at the end on Saturday deserve more than they have got this season. All I want to do is try to bring back some good times."


RANGERS must prepare to spend next season in Division Two after a last minute goal from Delroy Facey condemned them to the drop.
A game that looked to be heading for the draw that would have kep both sides on tenterhooks for another week was just seconds from the end when Facey pounced for the winner.

The Terriers had taken the lead through Dean Gorre's deflected effort but although Andy Thomson levelled it was not enough to spare Rangers from heartbreak.

Rangers had Chris Kiwomya back from a bout of the shingles, although he had to be content with a place on the bench.

Peter Crouch had the first chance of the game for the visitors, but his third-minute right-foot shot from 18 yards sailed wide.

Delroy Facey then fired one over the crossbar for Huddersfield five minutes later as Town began to take the early initiative.

The lively Booth had a great chance to mark his return by opening the scoring after 10 minutes, but his close-range shot was blocked on the line and the QPR defence scrambled the danger clear.

Minutes later, after Booth had been brought down by Karl Ready, Simon Baldry's deep free-kick was well-saved by Lee Harper in the Rangers goal as Huddersfield continued to enjoy the better of the early exchanges.

Harper was again called on to pull off a save from a Chris Holland left-foot shot after 17 minutes, before Crouch finally brought some work out of Town goalkeeper Nico Vaesen with a right-foot effort three minutes later.

But it was the home side who continued to force the pace and - after Ready had blocked a Chris Lucketti effort - Gorre's 33rd-minute 25-yarder took a deflection and wrong-footed Harper to give Huddersfield a 1-0 lead.

QPR came storming back and Crouch and Leon Knight both went close to an equaliser before Thomson found it with a beautiful lob over Vaesen two minutes before the break.

Rangers pushed on looking for the winner, and having thought that a point was in the bag, and another lifeline, were cruelly punished by Facey's winner.

QPR Official Site - April 2001 - BOSS READY TO REBUILD

BOSS Ian Holloway has outlined his plans for a major revamp of the squad at Queens Park Rangers.

Olly said:" I've got a big job on my hands. I didn't realise it was as big as this. But I can't wait to have a go at it.

"I want to have a look at the positives. I think we've got some good young kids at the club and we want to bring them on.

"We've got a lot of work to do in the summer. We've got to stop the downward spiral of this club, put some foundations down and start to rebuild. It is going to be a difficult process but it is one that I want to take on. We've been on a slippery slope but hopefully it has bottomed out.

"It is going to be tough next year. It is a very tough division with big teams in it. But we need to consolidate ourselves, get some organisation into the way I want to do things and sort a few players' futures out.

"I will be given a full budget to work within this week. I have only just seen the overall finances of our club and the details of all the contracts. Things will have to change, that is all I can say. There will have to be an awful lot of changes around the place for us to survive and start building.

"We need the fans to stick with us and that is why we spent time saluting the fans after the game on Saturday. The supporters have been magnificent and that is what gives me hope for the future."


CAPTAIN Gavin Peacock spoke with dignity after hearing confirmation that Rangers had been relegated up at Huddersfield.

Gavin said:" All the players are devastated. We had been under pressure for some months and the axe had been looming over our heads. But we felt that we started to improve in recent games.

"Even at Huddersfield, I think we probably deserved to come out on top in the game. The spirit and effort was there. But it wasn't to be.

"We had to go and try and win the game. So the manager sent on extra strikers in the second half. Then Huddersfield broke away to score the winner in injury time. But even a draw wouldn't have been enough for us.

"It wasn't just the Huddersfield result that put us down. It was our results over the whole season. You can look at recent games against Grimsby and Crewe, with the chances that went missing. You have to put the ball in the net at one end and stop it going in at the other. We haven't done that well enough over the season. So it has led to us being relegated.

"I feel for everyone at the club - all the players, everyone behind the scenes and obviously the fans as well.

"Now we have to come back stronger as players and as a club."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

QPR: Club-Fan Meeting Report...QPR Flashbacks: Ray Wilkins...The Morgans...


- Happy Birthday (Yesterday) to the Morgan Twins - Roger and Ian: Turned 67 (Photos from the Bushman Archives)

- QPR Report Messageboard -
-Photos: From the 1880s to the 21st Century - The Bushman QPR Photo Archives


- 19 Years Ago Today: Ray Wilkins Appointed QPR Manager. (And the rest is history!)

- 10 Years ago today: QPR1st Met With the Club - Meeting Report

- On This Day: Ron Hunt's one QPR Goal - and Simon Stainrod's QPR Hatrick

- Seven Year Flashback: Chairman Paladini Sacks his Managing Director after just a few months

- Ex-QPR Managing Director and part owner, Alejandro Agag in the Car Racing News


This is being posted up on the various QPR Messageboards.

It was written up by Clive Whittingham of Loft for Words in amazingly quick time.

Profound thanks to Clive. And profound thanks to Bushman for going from this site.


The latest meeting between various unofficial QPR websites, message boards and podcasts and the club's media team was held at Loftus Road on Tuesday November 12.

From the club:
Press and media manager Paul Morrissey (PM) and multi-media officer Adam Hulme (AH)

From the sites:
Paul Finney (PF) from the Open All R's Podcast; Ron Norris (RN) from QPR Net; Simon Dorset 'Roller' (SD) from the Not606 board; Matthew Woolf (MW) from WATRBs; Ian Gamber 'Bushman' (IG) from QPR Report; Steve Sayce (SS) from Indy R's; Clive Whittingham (CW) from LoftforWords.

The meeting began with Adam Hulme introducing himself and his role at the club. As multi-media officer at QPR Adam oversees the club's social media channels, YouTube account and QPR Player. He's been here since August 2011 after spending three and a half seasons at Chesterfield – one full time, and the rest during his studies in media and sports journalism at Huddersfield.

PM praised AH's impact, saying that during his time with the club the official Facebook page had gone from 18,000 likes to 225,000 likes, Twitter from 8,700 followers to 148,000, and YouTube is now averaging ten videos a week and 200 videos have been uploaded since the start of this pre-season.

1- QPR Player Video Quality

The video quality on QPR Player - a subscription service – is of inferior quality to the footage the club is posting onto YouTube for free.

AH said the club is also unhappy with the quality of the video on QPR Player, particularly given the work that is being put in by the media team on the multi-media front at the moment. The club film with HD camcorders and cameras, send the footage into the Perform Group which operates the Player service and it is shrunk down by them. Other clubs have the same complaint and HD quality will be rolled out by Perform in 2014. AH says this is the first time a date has been mentioned by Perform, so hopefully improvements will be seen soon.

The club invested in new camera equipment prior to the Barnsley game – before that all game footage was taken from DVDs, which meant lower quality and not in widescreen. The new camera captures raw footage on a matchday at roughly 120gig and the club is pleased with the outcome so far.

PM said that obviously the number of cameras at matches has reduced since the club was relegated from the Premier League, and there is often now only the one main camera at games. Up until the recent purchase of the new equipment, for home and away games, the footage is burned to a DVD which reduces the quality and is then uploaded to QPR Player which reduces the quality further because of the platform's limitations - this doesn't make for a good end result. The new camera equipment enables QPR to start with a much better quality. If fans compare the YouTube highlights uploaded since Barnsley to those from the start of the season there is a significant difference.

AH also pointed out that QPR Player often defaults automatically to the 'low' quality option and advises supporters watch out for that and switch it to 'high' if it's happening for them. The club have contacted Perform to ask them to change this so it automatically defaults to the ‘high’ quality option initially.

MW raised the issue of not being able to watch QPR Player on an iPhone or iPad.

PM said an odd situation has developed because the Football League developed an app while QPR were in the Premier League. Having dropped back down a division Rangers have found they're not providing the same service that other longer-serving FL clubs are able to but as Perform are working on a new, replacement app they don't want to spend time and money sorting QPR out with the current app because it's going to be replaced in 2014 anyway. A frustrating situation for QPR to be in.

However having dropped down to the Championship the club has found rights much more relaxed and they're now able to post match highlights for free on YouTube. Currently you cannot show Premier League action on YT although there is a suggestion that the dropping of a recent legal case may see that relaxed.

RN asked whether the club saw YT as a way of driving subscribers to Player, or something altogether separate.

AH said the club are restricting YouTube highlights to 60 second packages at the moment and the aim is to drive people to Player for the extended highlights. The extended interviews, press conferences and post match interviews are exclusively for Player. AH said the club did expect subscribers to drop with them giving out more free content on YouTube but that hasn't happened.

YouTube and QPR Player content is never shared between the two platforms.

PM said the difference between YouTube and Player is YouTube is very behind-the-scenes focused whereas Player is much more interview and highlights based. He added the club is keen to push away from is the current financial set up with Player, where subscribers pay a flat £35 a year. In an age when there is so much footage readily available for free it's an outdated model and is something to be looked at. A PPV, iTunes style system was mentioned as a potential alternative.

PF asked if the scheme that makes QPR Player free to Platinum season ticket holders could be extended to all season ticket holders.

The club is restricted in its marketing of Player at the moment because the media team believes it's a product which they would like to see changed and updated. That said, the income the club gets from the QPR Player subscriptions is "absolutely not insignificant."

SD raised the point of exclusive content from Player later appearing on London Call In for free.

PM said London Call In would only ever air a shortened version and the media team are conscious of not devaluing the QPR Player subscription.

MW raised a point from WATRB posters that the tunnel cam was much better when it was handheld by AH – it's recently changed to a fixed rig GoPro set up as Adam now films the players coming off the pitch. MW said it was now almost like dull CCTV footage whereas previously there had been some interesting moments to come from the footage.

AH took the feedback on board. He said the club owns two 'roaming cameras', one of which is set up for the post match press conference leaving only one for the tunnel/pitch cam, so they have tried to fix the Go Pro camera in the tunnel. Tunnel cam has proved to be a popular feature with supporters.

2 - QPR Player commentary

SD and others raised issues that, as the commentary is provided by BBC Radio London, it frequently cuts away to get updates from other London matches, which is not ideal when you've paid a subscription to QPR Player. This was a particular issue during the recent match at Millwall when the stoppage time equaliser was missed while the QPR Player commentary was receiving an update from the game at Watford.

PM pointed out that as QPR aren't always the main game, even if you were in London and able to tune into local radio you wouldn't always be able to get a full commentary without a QPR Player subscription. However there are occasions when QPR are the main game and there is a duplication between Player (subscription) and the radio (which is free). BBC London is the club's media partner and pays a significant sum to be that. Part of that agreement is providing commentary for QPR games home and away. The arrangement has many benefits for the club: providing a reliable, professional commentary team home and away, with no issues regarding equipment, sickness or problems getting to long distance away games. It means the club know every game will be covered. The flip side is there isn't a QPR bias, which you may want when you're listening to the QPR website for the commentary, and when it is the live match they go to other grounds. PM was off on the day of the Millwall game and as he listened to the commentary he was equally as frustrated with what happened there. 

CW said that in the past the BBC London commentators had continued to commentate for the QPR Player audience while the radio audience were taken off around the grounds but this doesn't happen any more.

PM said the issue with doing the commentary 'in-house' is finding skilled commentators who are available home and away throughout the entire season. A budget could be put in place, but it would be difficult to find QPR supporters with the skill set who would be available and willing to go to every game home and away and do it.

SS said the quality of the BBC commentary is very good, and Phil Parry covers the club well, but agreed the cutting away was an issue.

3 – Other online/Player issues

PF wants to see more coverage of the Story of QPR and the work the club is doing in the community via the Player and YouTube channel.

PM acknowledged problems with the mobile site. He said the traffic to the site wasn't consistent with industry standards which reflected on the quality of the product. Perform is rolling out improvements from next month and a redesign early in 2014. The club is fully aware of its current limitations. PM said it was encouraging that Perform is starting to put dates to the suggestions, rather than a vague 'we're looking into it.'

MW raised issues from WATRB users reporting very poor customer service from Perform, with queries often going without an answer at all.

Adam Hulme asked to be CCd into all future customer e-mails to Perform ( HYPERLINK "mailto:adamh@qpr.co.uk" adamh@qpr.co.uk) so that he can personally ensure that all problems are dealt with properly. Contact the club directly if complaints go unanswered.

4 - Programme

PM said the club has looked into interactive online versions of the programme, and potentially later on this season it will be trialled and feedback sought. With regard to a PDF version, that has been looked at and a trial have taken place at other clubs but the return was low and it's not deemed viable at the moment. There is a financial implication of one PDF copy being downloaded and passed around many different supporters. If there is a suitable demand for it then the club will look into it.

PF asked if classic programmes could be reproduced within the current ones, as an insert in the middle. Particularly from the club's European campaigns which younger supporters may not know about.

PM said the club was constantly addressing the challenge of putting the historical side of the club into the programme in a way that doesn't just have the younger readers skip straight past it.

5 – InsideR
Although the InsideR has been universally well received, there have been some download issues with the size of the publication, particularly on Android devices.

PM said the amount of images and videos embedded in the publication made the size of it a challenge. At the moment you can download it on Apple and Android tablets, but you can't download it on Smart Phones, which is where the issue lies. The publishers say the user experience would be poor with the size of the screen, and there are cost implications of them producing a new, separate version that works for mobile.

Problems opening the InsideR with a Google Chromebook were also mentioned and this was noted and will be looked into.

There is an interview with Joey Barton in the fourth issue which is very extensive and addresses a lot of issues including him joining the club, the fall out after the Man City game, the move to Marseille and his return to the club. There is also a feature with John Gregory, Steve Wicks, Ian Gillard, Gary Micklewhite and Warren Neill as well as several other exclusive interviews with players past and present. It's out December 18 and the club is always keen to hear fans' feedback on it.

The idea of videos and clips that can't be included in InsideR being sent out to the fan sites and embedded in articles and on message boards was raised and quickly agreed upon so the InsideR can be cross promoted across the various sites, and fans get access to more content.
The club will also start e-mailing out embed codes to the YouTube videos it publishes so that sites can embed them on their own platforms.

6 - Alec Stock
The recent article in The Guardian ( HYPERLINK "http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2013/oct/30/forgotten-story-alec-stock-qpr-manager" www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2013/oct/30/forgotten-story-alec-stock-qpr-manager) about the way Alec Stock was treated by the club was included on the agenda and developed into a wider discussion on how the club treats and deals with former players/managers and how it can be improved.

IG suggested naming the South Africa Road stand after Stock and inviting his family down to an unveiling. Other ideas included placing Stock's name on home shirts for a game and naming the executive boxes after legendary figures from the club's history.

RN pointed out that rushing to do something for Alec Stock could make it look like the club was simply reacting to the article and it was agreed by all parties present that the club needs to be more proactive, rather than reactive, and make more effort in this area in general.

Many clubs have an ex-players committee, often run by volunteers, to arrange fundraising dinners and such like to help former players with things like medical bills. Examples of successful schemes elsewhere included Portsmouth, Everton and Tottenham. The lack of a similar set up at QPR has previously been raised by former winger Dave Thomas who says he is regularly contacted by Burnley and Everton but rarely by QPR. CW said that without a similar scheme at QPR issues like this will continue to occur and the club, mainly through the media team, will have to continue reacting to negative publicity generated.

RN raised a Hall of Fame idea, with an annual induction of one footballer and one non-footballer (Daphne Biggs was mentioned), which could be included as part of the Player of the Year dinner. Alec Stock could be the first inductee. This would be something more substantial, proactive and long term than simply reacting whenever a negative story comes out.

PM admitted that the article on Stock painted a 'shocking' picture of QPR but the important thing now was to react in the right way and get something in place to improve

7 - AOB
RG raised the issue that no board members sat on the panel for the latest fans forum
SS added that Tony Fernandes had actually attended a recent forum at Loftus Road for the Junior R's while the main forum went without board representation. There was a feeling that it was more of an 'Evening with Harry Redknapp' affair than a fans forum – a good evening, an entertaining evening, but not a forum and not a lot of serious discussion. There was a feeling that without such a big gap between forums, and with the team performing better on the field, the reception for Phil Beard or another board member may not be quite as hostile as it had been at the first forum earlier in the year. 

PM said Tony Fernandes went to the junior forum simply because he was in the country and at the club on that day. He added that Tony Fernandes certainly doesn't duck issues and is determined to be as open with the supporters as possible.

SS raised the issue of the chairman trailing big news, such as hints about the stadium or a new kit supplier, on Twitter and then often nothing happens.

IG raised the issue of whether the club should issue official statements distancing themselves from and denouncing poor behaviour by supporters at matches –

PM took the points on board but pointed out that the club didn't want to set a precedent where they had to issue a statement every time somebody was arrested at a game however serious or minor the offence. He said the club can show a firm hand by banning people for certain incidents, but doesn't feel it necessary to announce it every time they did so.

SS acknowledged improvements in the way the club staff are using Twitter, but did wonder why head of press Ian Taylor trails forthcoming news via his own account before it has been announced officially, which can often lead to incorrect speculation about what it might be. 

PM said the reason behind it is to create interest and buzz around an announcement. The official club Twitter feed is there solely to announce news. The change in approach on Twitter is a direct result of the consultation with the fans groups and has been positively received.

Tweet @pjmorrissey77, @adamhulme86, , @watrbs, @qprnet, @loftforwords, @rollerranger, @paulfinney1969, @qprpodcast, @qprindyrs, @ruislipr

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Footballers, QPR and The World Wars - Remembering Those Who Died

Designed By/Courtesy of QPR Poster Fraggy

 Courtesy of HaQPR1963 Who Designed This Memorial


Some Previous Pieces

- Further Details about The Football Battalion

- Henry Winters/The Telegraph: The Football Battalion

- IndyRs "We Will Remember Them"

- QPR Support Poppy Appeal

- Help For Heroes

- From The Bushman QPR Photo Archives

(Obituaries: Found and Posted by Haqpr1963)

John Speare TOSSWILL


TOSSWILL, John ‘Jack’ Speare

72726 Corporal, Northern Signal Service Training Centre, Royal Engineers

Died UK September 28, 1915 Age 25

Remembered with honour at Eastbourne (Ocklynge) Cemetery Grave UA250

‘Jack’ Tosswill was born in Eastbourne in 1890. His footballing career started at Eastbourne Borough before moving on to nearby Hastings and St. Leonards, next was Aberdare Athletic, Tunbridge Wells Rangers and then Maidstone Utd. Bigger clubs then followed and he joined QPR (Played 3, scored 1) before moving to Liverpool where he only managed 11 games and scored one goal for the reds. It was from Liverpool that Southend acquired him in 1913 with who he stayed for one season before moving on to Coventry City before the war ended the footballing calendar.

He enlisted in his home town of Eastbourne and for at least some of his time with the military he served with the Royal Engineers Signal Depot based at Dunstable. The signal training services taught the ever improving art of communications, something that had been found to be woefully lacking in the early days of the war. As a training centre they would have taught all forms of signal work such as semaphore, lamps, telephone line laying and the newly utilised wireless. Tosswill was taken ill whilst the unit was based at Southampton, possibly awaiting to be shipped overseas, he was forced to have an operation but unfortunately later succumbed to its effects. He was buried close to the convalescent home in his native Eastbourne.

by Steve Newman


Deaf footballer dies from operation

Saturday, October 2 – 1915
A likeable fellow, somewhat eccentric, deaf, and a good-class footballer. That is how one might sum up Corporal J.S. Tosswill, whose death is announced this morning. His ear deficiency used to cause some curious happenings in football matches, for he was not able to hear the referee’s signal, and oftimes was seen to proceed to score goals what time the crowd and other players were waiting to take a free kick! Poor Tosswill (writes “Bee”) was a bit of a wag, and his letters to me were always novel and interesting. He was with Liverpool but for a short time, afterwards proceeding to Coventry City. He was brought from Queen’s Park Rangers, and learnt his game with Tunbridge Wells Rangers. On the outbreak of war he joined the R.E. section, and was soon made a corporal.
A capital cricketer, he played for a time with Stanley.

His death took place this morning as a result of an operation at Eastbourne.

(Liverpool Echo, 02-10-1915)


Frank Cannon

Company Serjeant Major 14982, 11th Battalion, Essex Regiment.
Killed in action: Tuesday, February 15th 1916, aged 32.
Buried: Potijze Burial Ground Cemetery, Ypres, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Ref. H. 10.

Born, lived and enlisted in Hitchin.

As with a number of the men on the Pirton War Memorial, Frank’s connection to Pirton is not immediately obvious. In fact, it was not until his connection to West Mill was discovered that Frank’s listing on the Village War Memorial was explained - West Mill lies near Ickleford and adjacent to Oughtonhead Common and the River Oughton and lay within the Pirton parish boundary.

Frank was born on November 8th 1885 in Hitchin and it is the Hitchin records that provide most of the following information.

His parents were John and Martha Cannon, who were born in Hitchin and Therfield respectively. The 1891 and 1901 censuses identify nine children; three girls and six boys, all born in Hitchin. They are named below1. The 1911 census does not add any more names, but gives the total number of children as thirteen and sadly records that five had died.

In 1891 and 1901 the family was living at 14 Church Yard, Hitchin. John (senior) was listed as a grocer in 1891 and then later as gardener and fruiterer. By 1911 most of the family, including Frank, had grown up and left home. The remaining family had moved to 16 High Street, Hitchin; John (senior) now recorded as a fruiterer and nurseryman, with his wife, John (junior), Annie and Ralph all listed as assisting in the business.

It is not clear when Frank left home, but after leaving school he worked in one of Hitchin’s firms of solicitors as a clerk, in fact for Mr Francis Shillitoe the coroner. He was a keen swimmer and diver and also played football for Hitchin Town. He was described as a “dashing player and good dribbler with a fine shot” and he had a County Cap – meaning he was selected to play at least five times. Queen's Park Rangers spotted him and he signed for them in April 1907, although he continued his ‘day job’. He played, and scored, for them against Manchester United in the 1907/08 Charity Shield. The match was played between the Football League champions (Manchester United) and the Southern League champions (QPR), the score was one all, so it was replayed and Frank also played in that game which Manchester United won four nil.

In April 1908, playing centre forward, he scored three goals against West Ham; that must have impressed them because by 1909 he had been persuaded to transfer to them, where oddly he was known as ‘Fred’. It was about this time that he married a young woman called Violet Maud, who was born in Potters Bar, and they moved into 87 Walsworth Road. He debuted for West Ham against New Brompton on January 1st 1910 and in his next game, against Norwich, he scored. That was to be his only goal and after only four appearances, all in January, he left the club. Their daughter Margaret Grace was born later in 1910 and he must have continued playing, because in the 1911 census, when he was boarding with his wife and daughter in the home of George and Annie Eve, 107 Gillingham Road, Gillingham, Kent, his occupation was given as ‘Nurseryman’s son working on nursery and professional footballer’. In fact he went on to play for Gillingham, then Colebridge - located in the Potteries - and finally for Halifax in Yorkshire.

After his return to Hertfordshire, his name appears in connection with the war, in the Parish Magazines of September and October 1914 and by then he and Violet had three children. So it was some time after 1911 that he returned to Hertfordshire, moving to West Mill and taking on a smallholding. Both magazines record him as serving in the Bedfordshire Regiment and the Hertfordshire Express of November 14th 1914 lists him as one of the men of a local rifle club who had enlisted. All the men from the rifle club seem to be from Pirton and by that time Frank had been transferred to the 11th Service Battalion, Essex Regiment and held the rank of serjeant. We know from his Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that he later became Company Serjeant Major.

The 11th Essex was a service battalion – a battalion created specifically for the duration of the war. It was formed at Warley in September 1914 as part of K3 – Kitchener’s third army, and was attached to 71st Brigade in the 24th Division. The following January (1915) they were moved to Shoreham and then to billets in Brighton. In March they returned to Shoreham and then in June moved again, this time to Blackdown Barracks, Deepcut, Camberley, Surrey. They were ordered to the Front in August and landed in Boulogne on August 30th 1915. Unfortunately the Battalion’s war diary, obtained from the National Archives, starts on January 1st 1916 so Frank’s experience before that date is uncertain. However, in January the 11th Essex were in the Line at Potijze in Belgium, so it is likely that they went straight there and fought in the defence of Ypres. Ypres is pronounced ‘Eepra’, but was known as ‘wipers’ to the British Soldier.

Frank was killed in action on Tuesday February 15th 1916 and the war diary records the preceding days. The 11th Essex had been in the trenches around Potijze, with rest periods away from the trenches spent in Ypres. Whether this could be described as rest is arguable as although they were behind the front line the town was constantly shelled and while ‘resting’ they still had to form working and carrying parties.

Frank returned to the trenches for the last time on the 11th. The bombardment was heavy and there were seven casualties that day. The shelling continued on the 12th and they observed an aircraft flying low over the enemy trenches before a gas alarm was called and a heavy cloud drifted towards them. It seems that it was smoke and not gas, but not knowing that and fearing that it was hiding an enemy attack they had no choice but to bravely stand their ground and pour rapid fire into the smoke. There were six casualties that day, but the next day was quieter with only three. The 14th was more eventful, more shelling, two mines2were blown somewhere to their right and the trenches were subject to enfilading – fire from the flank, along the line of the trench - very dangerous. Casualties included three officers and eight other ranks. On the 15th the enfilading continued, their front line was hit by shrapnel shells and they suffered thirteen casualties. It was the shrapnel that wounded Frank. The diary makes a simple statement ‘D Company had Serjeant Major Cannon wounded’ - it was fatal.

He did not die in one of the recognised Battles of Ypres, of which there were three, but rather in the general and bloody defence of the salient3to the east of Ypres. This prevented the Germans from taking Ypres and moving west to capture the British supply ports. By the end of the war 1,700,000 men from both sides had been wounded or killed in this area of Belgium.

Various local newspaper reports record his death and confirm his connection to Pirton. One records two families in bereavement, and notes that one was from the war ‘the sudden death at the Front of Sergt (actually Company Serjeant Major) Frank Cannon whose family had been residing in West Mill for some time.’

The reports that appeared in the North Herts Mail add detail from a letter written by Quarter Master Serjeant, L P Martin. The 13th Essex had been in the trenches for sixteen days and were just about to be relieved, ‘He was just ready to leave the trench when several shrapnel shells burst over him, wounding him and several others. Although his wound was rather serious – he was wounded in the back – it was quite thought he would get to England and recover, but I am sorry to say he died on his way to the dressing station about an hour after he was hit.’ It also confirms that Frank’s brothers, Harry (actually Charles Harry), Robert and Ralph were all serving, and that Ralph was serving in the same Battalion as Frank. His brothers do not have a known connection to Pirton, at least not before the war, although after the war Robert moved to West Mill and worked as a dairyman.

The 13th Platoon Commander, H Aylmer Burdett also wrote to Frank’s wife expressing how sorry he was for her loss.

The Parish Magazine of May 1918 lists some of the subscribers for the War Memorial Shrine and it includes a donation of ten shillings, a substantial sum, from Mrs Cannon of the High Street, presumably his widow.


Frank Cannon is buried in Potijze Burial Ground Cemetery, Ypres, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. The cemetery lies to the north-east of the town and holds 584 Commonwealth burials from the First World War, of which 565 are named graves. It is a large space considering the number of burials and with low walls has an unusually open and exposed feel. Now it is surrounded by private housing, but at the time was an area which suffered constant shell fire. It was close to Potijze Chateau, which contained an advanced dressing station and this may be where Frank spent his last hours. His family chose an inscription for his headstone ‘Always Remembered by Those at Home’.

Frank is also remembered on the Hitchin Town War Memorial.

1 John Herbert (b c1883), Charles H (probably Harry, b c1884), Frank (b 1885), Alice (b c1887), Robert (b c1888), Annie (b c1882), Ralph (b c1884), Ida (b c1889) and Cecil V (b 1890).

2 Armies mined under their enemy’s lines, packed them with explosives and blew them up to dramatic affect causing a massive death toll.

3 A salient is an area protruding forward from the rest of the line and therefore liable to attack on three sides.

(Thanks to the Pirton WW1 Project for permission to reprint the above article.)

Alan Fowler



Rank: Serjeant
Service No: 5733161
Date of Death:10/07/1944
Age: 37
Regiment/Service:Dorsetshire Regiment 4th Bn. 
Grave Reference X. C. 25.
Additional Information:Son of Joseph and Phyllis May Fowler; husband of Emily Mae Fowler, of Swindon, Wiltshire.

Alan Fowler played for Leeds and Swindon before the war. He appeared as a guest for QPR and Watford several times in the early war years.

The following is taken from SwindonWeb:

The true and tragic story of Swindon Town's Normandy hero revealed

Footballers are often said to perform ‘heroics’ on the pitch these days, but very few get to be real-life heroes. 

Swindon Town striker Alan Fowler literally became a hero when he was killed in action in Normandy in 1944, but now new research has revealed that Fowler’s tragic story comes with a chilling twist.

In peacetime, Alan 'Foxie' Fowler was an all-round sportsman who, despite being only five-and-a-half feet tall, turned out to be a naturally gifted striker.

He made an instant impression after signing from his hometown team, Leeds United, in May 1934, scoring on his debut in a 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers at the County Ground.

He went on to be top scorer in three seasons, and ranks twelfth in the all-time list of Swindon goalscorers, netting 102 goals in 224 appearances.

It earned him a place in club historian Dick Mattick’s 2002 book, Swindon Town Football Club: 100 Greats.

“At just 5ft 6in,” explained Mattick, “Alan was small for a striker, but he made up for his lack of inches with speed of thought and good ball control. He was no slouch in the air either, as many of his goals came from headers, where his sense of timing enabled him to beat much bigger men.” 

War declared

Fowler would have gone on to be even higher in Town's goalscoring ranks had war not interrupted his career in September 1939, and it was perhaps fitting that he would score the club’s last two goals before hostilities put an end to regular professional football at the County Ground (which was subsequently commandeered as a prisoner-of-war camp). 

He got both goals in the 2-2 home draw against Aldershot – the third game of the season, and the last until professional football returned, after the war.

Fowler briefly returned to Leeds to play wartime football, but with a wife in Swindon and with his parents also now living locally (at 7 Leicester Street), he returned to the area to enlist, and found himself in the Dorsetshire Regiment (often affectionately called ‘The Dorsets’).

Footballers were sometimes cruelly labelled ‘D-Day dodgers’ during the war, perhaps because their sporting prowess made them natural trainers, rather than frontline troops.

Indeed, Fowler was a sergeant PT instructor, and neither was he in the first wave of soldiers ashore in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

But he would soon see some of the fiercest ever fighting - and experience it first hand.

The Dorsets were part of the 43rd (Wessex) Division, which also included two battalions from the Wiltshire Regiment, and others from the south-west.

He had been born a Yorkshireman, but he would die a West Countryman.

Fowler had already earned praise, long before embarking for France, with the Evening Advertiser later recalling how, in 1941, he “distinguished himself… by saving three men’s lives as well as his own, whilst priming grenades”.

No further details of that incident are recorded, but it’s no exaggeration to say that what happened to his regiment on July 10, 1944 has assumed a kind of legendary status in the annals of British Army action, and Fowler's battalion, the 4 Dorsets, were in the thick of it.

To Normandy

The Wessex Division had arrived in France on June 24, and a little over two weeks later were destined to play a key role in one of the pivotal actions of the whole campaign – Operation Jupiter, which was the breakout after the British finally liberated the strategic city of Caen.

The plan had been to liberate Caen on D-Day itself, but this wasn’t achieved until the day Alan Fowler died: July 10, 1944.

His battalion had already left Caen behind, and were in the front line, south-west of the city, when, at first light on that sultry morning, their orders were to liberate the towns of Eterville and Martot.

This was part of a wider effort to capture the strategic Hill 112 - an operation whose historical importance cannot be overstated.

It was later reported that the Germans, recognising the supreme significance of this one day above all others, remarked: “He who controls Hill 112 controls Normandy.” 

No wonder the fighting has been described as “of shattering intensity, even by the standard of Normandy”.


Sadly, Alan Fowler would not live to see the victory, becoming possibly the first casualty on that fateful day, and probably the most tragic.

The details are revealed in Patrick Delaforce’s Book, The Fighting Wessex Wyverns, although it has only now emerged that the Sgt Fowler mentioned in an eyewitness account of the action is the same Alan Fowler who had played inside-right and centre forward for Swindon Town.

Not untypically of Normandy battles, the assault began with a massive bombardment of enemy positions, the barrage including intensive artillery and heavily-armed fighter planes, capable of bombing.

The story is taken up by Major GL ‘Joe’ Symonds, who commanded the 4 Dorset’s B Company (as quoted in Patrick Delaforce’s book):

“We were very close to the barrage, still in excellent formation. About four fighters [Typhoons] came over, presumably a little late, dropped two bombs in the middle of my company. A number of casualties including Sgt Fowler were killed.”

There can be no doubt that Fowler therefore died as a result of action from the Allies’ own air support (RAF Typhoons), and was a victim of so-called ‘friendly fire’. 

Only Fowler’s age in is dispute. Football statisticians claim he was 33, but the inscription on his grave says he was 37. The Evening Advertiser report of his death, meanwhile, put his age at 32.


That report is curious – firstly because it did not appear until August 21, nearly seven weeks after the incident, even though other deaths were usually reported within a week.

It also claims Fowler “died of wounds”, when clearly he must have been killed instantly or very soon after the Typhoons struck.

It is also at odds with the certificate relating to his death, which is kept by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. This specifically records that Fowler was “killed in action”, whereas those who died of wounds rather than on the battlefield were usually recorded as such.

The issue of 'friendly fire' deaths has always been controversial, and there could be some suggestion that the true details of Alan Fowler's death were being concealed.

What is certain is that it adds even more tragedy to an already heartbreaking personal story - yet there was another sad postscript to come.

His father Joseph, who was assistant groundsman at the County Ground, is said to have never recovered from the grief of losing his son, and died in 1947.

The true story of Alan Fowler's death surely only adds to what already was a tragedy, but it does not diminish the honour of one footballer who really can be described as a hero.

Albert Edward Bonass



Trade:W. Op.
Service No:1898979
Date of Death:09/10/1945
Regiment/Service:Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Grave ReferenceSec. G. Row K. Grave 11.
Additional Information:Son of George and Amelia Bonass; husband of Dorothy Bonass, of Earswick.

Albert Edward Bonass was born in York on 1st January 1912. During his career he played for Dringhouses, York Wednesday, Darlington, York City, Hartlepool and Chesterfield.

Serving in the RAF for two years after four years as a war reserve policeman in London when he was on QPR’s books (35 appearances, 5 goals), he reached the rank of sergeant wireless operator and was a member of the Caterpillar Club having baled out over Manchester from a Wellington aircraft.

He was killed 8 weeks after the end of the war when the Shorts Stirling transport he was the wireless operator on crashed during a training flight from RAF Marston Moor.

According to the booklet “Aircraft Down – Air crashes around Wetherby 1939 -1945” by Brian Lunn and Gavin Harland, in the early hours of 9th October 1945 a Stirling bomber failed to maintain height and crashed onto Tockwith village street. The Stirling LJ622 hurtled along the rooftops for half a mile bouncing off alternate houses. There were some 17 houses hit with little or no damage in between before the aircraft finally broke up. With so many houses damaged by the crash and subsequent fire only one person in them was killed. The village postmaster Arthur Cargill (68) was asleep in the attic of his home and he was trapped by the flames and the attic floor fell in.

Footballers Killed in World War II
List Includes (NOT Comprehensive)
(From Wikipedia)
Great Britain

* Norman Catlin – played for Southampton (1935–1937). He lost his life in the controversial sinking of HMS Gloucester off the coast of Crete in May 1941.[1]
* Jo Coen - played for Luton Town (1934–1939). Died on 15 October 1941, in a training accident while serving with the Royal Air Force.[2]
* Tom Cooper - played for Port Vale (1924–1926), Derby County (1926–1934) and Liverpool (1934–1940), as well as 15 appearances for England. Died serving the Royal Military Police in England on 25 June 1940 after his motorcycle struck a lorry.[3]
* Haydn Dackins - played for Swansea Town (1934–1935) and Port Vale (1935–1936). He was killed in action on 2 August 1943, serving in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.[4]
* Bobby Daniel – played for Arsenal. Served in the RAF, disappeared in action on a bombing raid over Berlin on 23 December 1943.[2]
* Alan Fowler – played for Swindon Town. Killed in action with the Dorsetshire Regiment shortly after D-day on 10 July 1944.[2]
* Harry Goslin – played for Bolton Wanderers (1930–1939). Served with the Bolton Artillery, mortally wounded in action in Italy and died 18 December 1943.[2]
* Sid Gueran – played for Southampton (1936–1938). He was killed in action 18 September 1944 in the Battle of Arnhem.[5]
* Sam Jennings - played for several clubs, including Reading (1921–1924), Brighton & Hove Albion (1925–1928) and Port Vale (1929–1931), and was manager at Rochdale (1937–1938). Died in battle on 26 August 1944, at the age of 45.[6]
* Leslie Lack – played for Arsenal. Served in the RAF, killed by friendly fire while returning from a mission in his Spitfire.[2]
* Herbie Roberts – played for Arsenal (1926–1937). He died of erysipelas on 17 June 1944, while on active duty with the Royal Fusiliers.[2]
* Charlie Sillett – played for Southampton (1931–1938). He was killed in a U-boat attack on an allied convoy while serving with the Royal Navy in 1945.[7] Wikipedia

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