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As part of Cricket Remembers, an ECB campaign to commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day and remember the cricketers who fought in the First World War, the ECB have commissioned esteemed cricket historian David Frith, who has kindly written the following article to honour the first-class cricketers of Middlesex who made the ultimate sacrifice.

In the turmoil created by the declaration of war in the autumn of 1914 former England and Middlesex captain P.F. “Plum” Warner, a student of military history, seemed unsure whether cricket matches should be cancelled instantly or continued for any patriotic benefit. The match against Yorkshire, up in Sheffield, was cancelled then reinstated. Yorkshire managed to scrape a two-wicket victory, but Middlesex romped to victory over Kent at Lord’s in two days. Soon, though, cricket was removed from the minds of everyone as the threat of war was overtaken by the ghastly reality. As many as seventeen Middlesex players were to perish in the conflict.

By 1916 the club was able to view a comfortable balance sheet and to acknowledge the contribution to the war effort of a number of Middlesex cricketers. The previous two years, nonetheless, had been rendered truly horrendous by the self-inflicted deaths of two great Middlesex Test cricketers, A.E.“Drewy” Stoddart and Albert Trott. The following year found the club acknowledging the fact that as many as 58 of its cricketers past and present were serving their country in the war effort.

With the end of the war, the two-day fixtures of the 1919 experimental County Championship was soon seen to be a failure. “Plum” Warner, meanwhile, had thoughts of retiring (he was 45 as the war ended), and said as much while working on demobilisation in the Middle East. A sergeant-major, upon hearing this, ventured to say: “Give it up, sir! Never heard of such a thing, sir! Don’t be a fool, sir - if I may say so, sir. I have not seen as straight a bat as yours, sir, between Dan and Beersheba! ”He went on to lead Middlesex to the Championship in 1920, and was carried shoulder-high from the field.

MIDDLESEX CRICKETERS (first-class) who lost their lives in the First World War

Lord Bernard Charles Gordon-Lennox born Westminster, May 1, 1878; died Kleinzillebeke, Belgium, November 10, 1914.Duke of Richmond’s third son.Major in Grenadier Guards.Educated at Eton.Played military cricket: century for I Zingari against All Egypt at Alexandria.In sole Middlesex match was bowled by Jessop for 0 at Lord’s.His widow was among many killed in the bombing of the Guards Chapel in London in 1944.

Wilfred Stanley Bird born Yiewsley, Middlesex, September 28, 1883; died Richebourg St Vaast, France, May 9, 1915.Educated Grange, Eastbourne and Malvern.Lieutenant 6 Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps.Educated Malvern.Oxford University blues 1904-06 (captain 1906); Middlesex 11 matches 1905-08; MCC;969 runs in 55 matches at 12.75, HS 57.

Guy Greville Napier born London, January 26, 1884; died Loos, France, September 25, 1915.Captain 35th Sikh Regiment.Educated Marlborough.Medium-pace bowler.Cambridge blue 1904-07; Middlesex 21 matches 1904-13.Posted to Quetta, India: best bowling 9 for 17 Europeans v Parsis, Poona 1909-10.Took 6 for 39 for Gentlemen v Players at Lord’s in 1907.First-class: 854 runs at 8.71, highest 59; 365 wickets at 21.33.

John Wyndham Hamilton McCulloch born Calcutta, India, December 4, 1894; died Bailleul, France, October 21, 1915.Captain 8th Border Regiment.Educated Westminster.Middlesex 2 matches 1914: 18 runs in 3 innings.

Sholto Douglas born Norwood Green, Middx, September 8, 1873; died Cambrin, Arras, France, January 28, 1916.Captain Middlesex Regiment.Served in Boer War.Educated Dulwich.Middlesex 1 match 1906: 30 runs in 2 innings.

Harry Brodrick Chinnery born Teddington, Middlesex, February 6, 1876; died Monchy-le-Preux, France, May 28, 1916. Half-brother of E.F.Chinnery. Lieutenant in King’s Royal Rifles. Educated Eton. Surrey 30 matches 1897-1904; Middlesex 9 matches 1899-1902. Final match for Gentlemen of England in 1910. First-class: 66 matches 1897-1902: 2536 runs at 24.86; 4 centuries; 12 wickets at 46.16, best 4 for 51; 25 catches. Final first-class match Gentlemen of England 1910.

Cecil Argo Gold born St Pancras, London, June 3, 1887; died Ovillers, France, July 3, 1916.Lieutenant Royal Berkshire Regiment.Mentioned in dispatches.Educated Eton.Middlesex 1 match 1907: no runs.Played for Berkshire.

Sir Foster Hugh Egerton Cunliffe born Westminster, August 17, 1875; died Olliviers La Boiselle, July 10, 1916.Major Rifle Brigade.Educated Eton and Oxford (captain 1898).Took 8 for 26 v Surrey, Oxford 1896.Gentlemen v Players.MCC committee.Military historian.

William Manstead Benton born Chelsea, July 11, 1873; died Somme, Belgium, August 17, 1916.Educated Framlingham.Captain Manchester Regiment.Extraordinary life: stockbroker, Royal Marine, deserter, Australian Army in South Africa, work on Robben Island leper colony, King’s pardon for desertion, “Fighting Parson” in slums of Walsall, enlisted 1915; prayed in trenches; killed while trying to rescue wounded soldiers in No Man’s Land.Middlesex 2 matches 1913: 25 runs, twice out.

John Henry Sneyd Hunt born Kensington, November 24, 1874; died Ginchy, France, September 16, 1916.Educated Winchester and Oxford.2nd Lieutenant London Regiment.Middlesex 44 matches 1902-12 with long gap between appearances: 1393 runs at 21.43.Sole century for Gentlemen v Players, Oval 1904.

Leonard James Moon born Kensington, February 9, 1878; died (shot himself) Karasouli, Salonica, November 23, 1916.Educated Westminster and Cambridge.2nd Lieutenant Devon Regiment.Century for Cambridge University against Australians 1899.Twice had double-century stands with P.F.Warner for Middlesex.Played 4 Tests for England in South Africa 1905-06, averaging 22.75, highest score 36.

Maurice Edward Coxhead born Kensington, May 24, 1889; died Monchy, France, May 3, 1917.Educated Eastbourne and Oxford.Major Royal Fusiliers.Middlesex 1911.Six first-class matches: 20 runs at 3.62; 13 wickets at 23.07: best 5 for 53 Oxford v Kent.

Richard Percy Lewis born Kensington, March 10, 1874; died Ypres, Belgium, September 7, 1917.Educated Winchester and Oxford (blues 1894-96).Lieutenant-Colonel Manchester Regiment.Middlesex 1898, 2 matches: wicketkeeper.Major figure in military cricket.Also served in Boer War.36 first-class matches: 134 runs at 3.62; 55 catches, 21 stumpings.

Allan Ivo Steel born Liverpool, September 27, 1892; died Langemark, Belgium, October 8, 1917.Son of A.G.Steel (Lancashire and England).Lieutenant in Coldstream Guards.Educated Eton.Slow bowler.Middlesex 2 matches 1912; 116 runs in 5 first-class matches at 14.50, highest 26.Played for Calcutta while working in India.

Clifford Allen Saville born Tottenham, February 5, 1892; died Fresnoy Le Grand, France, November 8, 1917.Captain in East Yorkshire Regiment.Educated Marlborough.Middlesex 3 matches 1914: 57 runs at 11.40.

Leonard George Colbeck born Harrow, January 1, 1884; died off Cape of Good Hope (aboard HMS Ormonde), January 3, 1918.2nd Lieutenant in Royal Field Artillery.Earned Military Cross.Educated Marlborough.Cambridge (brilliant 107 in Varsity match 1905).Middlesex 10 matches 1906-08; Europeans 1913-14.

Reginald Oscar Schwarz born Lee, London, May 4, 1875; died Etaple, France, November 18, 1918.Major in King’s Royal Rifle Corps.Military Cross.Educated St Paul’s.Middlesex (14 matches 1901-05); Transvaal 1902-03 to 1909-10; South Africa in England 1904, 1907 and 1912; in Australia 1910-11: 20 Tests: 374 runs at 13.85; 55 wickets at 25.76.One of the innovators of the googly who bowled with marked success for South Africa.Played 125 first-class matches, including 20 Tests.Top bowler in 1907 English season with 137 wickets at 11.79.England rugby international.Victim of the influenza epidemic.

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