Accounts of or by Harold Vincent Alefounder, 1891-1985, appearing in the Bee's Sports Notes column of the Liverpool Echo.14 May 1915
News of the "Comrades."
My colleague "Ryta," who is one of a large number of "Echo" members on service, sends me a word about the men at Grantham. He writes:—
We seem to be cut off from the rest of the universe. We have got quite used to our new quarters by this time, and so far we have not had much to grumble at. Until to-day the weather has been gloriously fine, consequently we saw the place at its best. For the last twenty-four hours, however, it has rained continuously, and we are up to out ankles in mud which has the consistency of glue. This is not at all pleasant, and it gives us an idea of what an awful time the previous "campers" had during the winter months. This week our battalion resumed training in real earnest. Up to this week we had been getting the encampment into a more sanitary condition, and also improving the outside appearance of our huts by some gardening—laying grass sods and planting shrubs, &c. Now we have a miniature Garden City. It has been officially announced that our brigade is now the "89th Infantry Brigade of the 30th Division." Previously we were the "110th Brigade." Don't know whether this change means an earlier removal to "hostile" parts. The chief recreation after parade hours has been football. Quite a number of matches have been played, and as there are a lot of good players in the battalion some capital games have been seen. Particularly keen and interesting have been the meetings of the right and left halves of our company—the 4th. The right-half company is composed of the 13th and 14th platoons, and the left-half of the 15th and 16th platoons. So far the sides have met twice, and on both occasions a draw of 1 goal apiece has been the result. The first meeting took place last week, when a penalty goal to either side led to a replay last Monday. Once again each goalkeeper was beaten once, and extra time failed to enable a definite issue to be made. The teams are to meet again on Friday evening, when a most exciting tussle is expected. Both games produced splendid football (much better than I've seen at Anfield and the Park during the past season). Particularly fine was the defensive play of both team's defenders. No doubt some of the following players are known to you: Fenner (Tranmere Rovers), Moore (Liverpool), Wood (Harrowby), Miles (Balmoral)—succeeded Ted Taylor in goal for this club—Scroggie, Kerr, Pitkethley (Orrell), Keatinge (Dominion). Most of the others are fairly well-known in Liverpool and district leagues. Sergeant J. Butterfield refereed on both occasions, and he was loud in his praise of the excellence of the play in these and also other of the games played by teams in the battalion. All the matches have been well attended by officers, N.C.O.'s and men, and naturally there was much enthusiasm and good-natured rivalry among the supporters of the different teams. Of course there are large numbers of chaps keen in other branches of athletics, and a sports meeting is being arranged.
20 May 1915
12 Apr 1916
My colleague, "Ryta," who is now in good health, writes from the front a letter from which I cull the following:—
"The usual day is half work (drill and cleaning up) and half play. Football is again the rage, and inter-platoon matches are the order of the evening. I dare say it will seem strange to you when I tell you that these games are played the while German shells can be seen bursting not far off, and our own and French artillery can be heard pounding away, and aeroplanes of all three countries fly above the playing pitch. Still, it is so."
12 Nov 1918
To those who have lost sons in the great fight for freedom—our heartfelt sympathy. To those whose sons have now guarantee of life—our heartfelt congratulations Strangely enough the crowd in town yesterday brought me in close touch with "Ryta," and the better half of "Impressionist." To my former assistants and to all the boys: Many happy "returns"!
Last updated 13th May 2015 by Peter Alefounder