Hockey's Military Stories

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Wimbledon Ladies' Hockey Club (WLHC), the oldest surviving ladies' hockey club in the world, celebrated their 125 years in style over the weekend of 27th and 28th of September. It began with a programme of matches followed by a traditional match tea of sandwiches and cake at the Wimbledon Club where a unique exhibition had been staged exploring the 125 years of the club’s history. Displaying photographs, papers and ephemera relating to every stage of WLHC’s past, the exhibition was a celebration of the journey the club has taken from 1889 to today. Wimbledon Ladies Hockey Club has experienced a wide range of events from two World Wars, women being granted the right to vote and the acceptance of women’s hockey as an Olympic Sport. The display covered many aspects of the WLHC history, from the change of kit and surface played on and the club’s experiences of the non-league days to playing in the Surrey, South and National Leagues in addition to information about a number of individuals who have been instrumental in supporting the survival and on-going progress of WLHC. Much of the information on display was provided by The Hockey Museum.

The exhibition was much admired and appreciated by the past and present members who attended the evening cheese and (specially labelled) wine evening at which entertaining speeches were made on the history of WLHC by Judy Smith our Museum Librarian, Georgina Headley on 'The Heart of the Club' and Ben Marsden on 'The Future of the Club'.

Sunday afternoon was a real treat as matches were played in glorious sunshine on the grass, for the first time for many years, in front of the club house, watched by a large crowd of past and present members. The first match was a costume match between teams dressed in 1889 costume and 1920s tunics, all of which had been superbly made by theatrical costumier and WLHC member Joanna Close. This was followed by a match between a WLHC team and a select side drawn from fourteen different clubs, also played on the grass pitch, a new experience for most of the players.

Old friendships were renewed and new ones forged over what all agreed was the most fitting celebration of the club’s proud and illustrious history during a splendid weekend superbly organised by Julie Quester and Joanna Close.

Judy Smith, December 2014

Hockey's Military Stories: An Introduction

This research project was prompted by the enormous interest and publicity that has surrounded the centenary of the start of WW1. We knew that many, indeed thousands, of hockey players were involved and that many lost their lives. The stories do not just relate to serving men but also those...

India's First International Match: Indian Army Team Tour to New Zealand, 1926

India's First International Match: Indian Army Team Tour to New Zealand, 1926

  Captain H V M Cox's hockey stick from the Indian Army Hockey Team tour to New Zealand in 1926.The engraved plate reads:1926 Indian Army Hockey Team v New Zealand.390 goals for. 37 against.Stick used by Captain V M H Cox throughout the tour.   This stick is one of...

Lt Campbell: The First Hockey Player To Die In WW1

Lt Campbell: The First Hockey Player To Die In WW1

Lt Charles Arthur Campbell   It seems highly likely that Lt Charles Arthur Campbell was the first hockey player to make the ultimate sacrifice in WW1 as there were so few others killed, officers or soldiers, before the Battle at Mons. Lt Campbell was born in London but grew up...

Hockey Heroism At The Only Major Sea Battle Of WW1

Hockey Heroism At The Only Major Sea Battle Of WW1

Once the First World War had begun it became obvious that the Royal Navy, traditionally the pride of the British Nation for centuries, would have to play a vital role in what would become both a domestic and global conflict or perish in the attempt. Not for nothing is the...

Lieutenant Eric Walter Poyntz Westmacott RN

Lieutenant Eric Walter Poyntz Westmacott RN

Perhaps the first Naval hockey player to become a casualty of the Great War? Lieutenant Eric Walter Poyntz Westmacott RN was on the left wing for the Royal Navy in 1912 and in 1914 he was reported as "the best player in the Navy team". That was to be his...


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