1914 Revisited

On Sunday morning, the Eccles RFC Duke of Edinburgh Gold group will set off on an epic expedition to the Somme, France.  103 years ago, players from Eccles were about to take the very same journey themselves.

This amazing document is an invitation to the club’s Annual General Meeting, September 3rd 1914.  Little could they know what lay ahead of them. A month previously on 4th August, Britain had declared war on Germany and within a few weeks rugby in Lancashire was abandoned and Army recruitment began. Those 1914-1915 fixtures were never played. The Manchester Regiment formed their 1st Pals battalion on 28th August and the Lancashire Fusilier’s 1st Salford Pals Battalion formed on the 11th September.

Before the First World War Eccles were a successful club who played at a ground to the rear of the Rock House Hotel on Peel Green Road, Barton. Spectators in 1912 were recorded in the thousands.  In the 1913/1914 season the first team won 17 of their 26 games, scoring 55 tries and losing only 3 games one of which was at home to Broughton Park by a single drop goal to nil.

Renowned Forward Harold Bowker and Half-Back Reginald Lightbrown Bolton both contributed 9 tries each that season and represented their county. On the outbreak of war those two gentlemen and many of their team mates were amongst the first local heroes to enlist and serve their country. Many of them became officers. Many achieved recognition on the batttlefield. Sadly many of them would not return to play again.

It was to be 5 years before Eccles recommenced rugby activity in October 1919 when they faced a Fylde XV at a ground on Stott Lane with a team composed in the main of discharged soldiers, many of whom had suffered wounds.

For the past 12 months the DofE Gold group have attempted to research the lives of the Eccles players who went to war. On Saturday 1st July they will be at Theipval to lay wealths and tributes on behalf of the club and the city of Salford, to the memory of those who sacrificed their lives in WWI.  If you or your relatives have any information to offer them on any of the names below please do get in touch.

1913/14 Eccles First Team 

T.L. Whitehead (Capt.), A.H. Fawcett, H. Bowker, J. Bolton, R.L. Bolton, W. Laxton, B. Prax, T. Sibley, T. McPherson, W.H. Eidsforth,  C.E. Forsyth, A.N. Tongue, H.H. Whitehead, R.N. Rawlinson, T.S. Stephens (Vice Capt.), F. Halliday, E. Bateson, F.L.H. Oakley, P. Cash,  H. Barber, H. Plevin, J. Hudson, R.H. Quine, F.W. Wilson, C.E.Owen, W.C. Scholes, P.G. Bradford, W.H. Hardman, T.J. Bradburn.

1913/14  Eccles “A” Team

E. Bateson (Capt.), F.A. Murdock, S.T. McCabe, G.W. Wood, J. Musgrave, H. Quine, F. Hope, F.M. Mc Conechy, H. Keynon, H. Brine, C.P. Wild (Vice Capt.), H. Plevin, P.G. Bradford, E. Mallinson, H.J. B. Reynolds, F. Binnion, A. Monks, E. Kenyon, W.A. Spencer, C. Goulden, T.W. Whitehead, J.H.F. Kendall, H. Fletcher.

Eccles Duke of Edinburgh’s Somme 101: in the footsteps of the brave

Eccles RFC were the 1st rugby club in the country to offer the DofE programme to all it’s young people as a living tribute to Christopher Tickle following his tragic passing, and the posthumous awarding of his DofE Gold.

Since its’ humble beginnings, the DofE and club now have a dedicated group of volunteers offering the Award at all levels, and has seen over 160 awards over Bronze, Silver and Gold. This was reflected in the recent attendance of our last completing Gold group at the Buckingham Palace garden party on 24th May.

On Sunday 25th June 2017 our current Gold group will undertake a fitting “living tribute” to previous players from the club. The idea all stemmed from the invitation to lay a wreath at the Salford Somme 100 memorial parade. At that time the young people were presented with a willow cross (the wood associated with Salford) and a miners lamp, to lay at Theipval memorial at the Somme 101 parade.

When the call to arms came at the beginning of World War 1 many of the then Eccles RFC players enlisted. Our young people have been researching those members of the club, and now have historical backgrounds on:
T L Whitehead
Harry Pelvin
Edward (Teddy) James Martin
Norman Shaw
Harold Bowker
Ernest Bateson
Charles Percy Wild
Reginald Bolton
John Bolton
Frederick Lewis Henry Oakley
On Sunday 25th June, the day after Armed Forces Day, the group will depart from Eccles RFC and replicate the WWI journey of the Salford Pals Battalions of the Lancashire Fusilier Regiment, travelling by boat, train and foot, arriving at the Somme on the evening of Fri 30th Jun 17.

On Sat 01th Jul 17, the group will have a very moving but amazing day:
07.20 at the Lochnagar Crate, where they will participate in the morning service
Lochnagar was the largest mine to be exploded on the 1st Jul 1916, packed with 60,000lbs of explosives at the end of a 1,030ft tunnel. The explosion saw debris raise 4,000ft in the air and, at the time, was the loudest man made sound in history.
09.00 at Thiepval Memorial. Again the group will participate in the service, wearing representative club colours and laying a wreath, the willow cross and miners lamp on behalf of the Mayor, people of Salford and Eccles RFC.

as part of the visit our young people will also meet representatives from the Commonwealth War graves Commission (CWGC), Mrs Therese DEYGHERS- Mayor of Peronne, Mr Stephane DEMILLY- Mayor of Albert and now Deputy of the Somme and Vincent.
The group have put hours of time and effort into their research, making contact with several regiments, individuals and historical societies to ensure they have comprehensive information on the players. As part of their practice expedition the visited the Fusiliers Museum in Bury, where they received an insight into how it was for the players who they now know..

If you would like to follow their progress, or see how any of our DofE young people, groups or leaders are doing, follow us on Twitter
And if, in true “Tommy style” you want to wave them off, everyone is welcome on Sunday to see them begin their epic journey…
If you want any information about the DofE Award scheme at the club, please contact 1 of our adult leaders. We are always looking for volunteers or financial donations and sponsorship, as the Award at the club is entirely self-funding and completely run by volunteers.

Re-scheduled Junior Section Meeting- Monday 26th June 7.30pm

Dear Junior Section Coaches and Managers,

The re-scheduled Junior Section meeting will take place on Monday 26th June at 7.30pm.

The main aim of the meeting will be to prepare for a smooth start to the new season in September. Please try to send a representative from each team.

Any items for the agenda should be sent to Paul or Andrea in advance of the meeting.

Thank you. Continue reading

Eccles Beer Festival 2017

The Eccles Beer Festival is returning in 2017, over the weekend 4-6th August. After some earlier requests a number of volunteers have put their hands up, but we still need more to ensure everything runs smoothly. Planning will begin in earnest over the next couple of weeks, so if you think you can contribute, in pretty much any capacity, please let me know.


Mark Greenhalgh

DoE needs your votes

Please get voting and recycling!

We were successful in January in getting funding from recycling rewards for some new rucksacks and camping gear for this summers expeditions thanks to all your votes. We now have another chance to get some more funding for new tents – but we need you votes.

How to vote

· click on the following link


· Select Eccles
· Select Eccles RUFC
· Click vote
· Insert your email – click vote
· You will receive an email into your inbox asking you to confirm your vote – click confirm (if this is not done the vote will not be counted)

Voting completed – you will receive no further emails regarding this – it’s that easy!

You can vote with more than one email address ( e.g. Personal and work) – please share with friends and family to get the votes rolling in- deadline Sunday 18th

Postponed- Junior Meeting 12th June

FAO:  Junior Section Coaches and Managers,

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Junior Meeting tomorrow, 12th June, has had to be cancelled. We hope to rearrange for next Monday, the 19th, but we will confirm this ASAP.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.


Saturday 10th June & nothing to do.

After getting rid of the Brothers Lillie & associates the club has closed down for a few hours.

However it will be open again for this afternoon’s Footty game between the 3 Lions and the Highland Hoard, aka The Mel Gibson look a likes.  That’s the soccer game between England & Scotland for those unable to keep up to speed.  K.O. is 5pm so the club will be reopened by 4:30pm at the latest.

Following that we will stay open for the rugger game between The Red Rose and the Pumas.  England v Argentina for those still struggling.  K.O. 8pm.

So, if your stuck for things to do and have had the sense, not to make a trip to Blackpool come down and support your country & club.  Put it this way, it’s better to throw a bottle at the club’s big screen rather than your own TV.