Newbattle at War a history of the Parish at war   

 Now featuring Scots in the Great War Living History Society.    

Haddington Rugby Football Club

The team of 1912/13

Founded just before the Great War, the grand opening of the club was cancelled due to the death of the King.

Many of the club, including the Captain Francis Burnet, were also soldiers in A,B Companies of the 8th TF Royal Scots and were on a parade to mark the passing of the King.

One of the mainstays of the club was a man called 'Dod' (George) Nisbet who was a Sgt in the Signalling section, and it would seem he could wangle the time away for men playing.

 Lt Francis Alexander Burnet was wounded on 11th April,1918 fighting a desperate rear guard action against the Germans near Paradis.

He had to be left behind as the stretcher bearers could not get to him due to the overwhelming German advance.

He was never found and is presumed to have died that day from his wounds.

He is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial. 

One of his team mates and comrades in arms that day was Lt George Reid, another of the founder members. He survived the fight that day but suffered an identical fate the next day in fighting around Pacaut Wood, Paradis. His body was never recovered either and he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, he was 25 years old
The first man in the photo known to have fallen in action was Private 473 Alexander Faunt, he was a member of the 8th Royal Scots Battalion machine team and was friends with the Souness brothers John and George who are the Uncle of site member George Souness.He was killed on 1st March,1915. He was 22 years of age and is buried in the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery at Souchez. However he was not the first person that had played for the club to die Capt Thomas Todrick who had played as guest, died in December,1914 with the 8th Royal Scots.
Another three men in the group photo were believed  to bekilled.
I cannot find a G Sandilands but believe that the lad concerned is 2nd Lt John George Sandilands11th Royal Scots, who was killed in action on 23 March,1917 in the Arras Sector, his body was never found and he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
The next lad to die was 2nd Lt John William Hutchison, he is listed as an officer in the 1/8th Royal Scots but had been transferred to another unit as he was killed in the fighting for Jerusalem, where he is buried. He was 23 years of age.
The last man to die was Pte 30103 Robert Goodall, Depot Royal Scots Fusiliers. He died at home a diabetic coma induced by a shrapnel wound after the war finished on 14th September,1919 he is buried in the cemetery at Haddington. 

Of the others in the photo, Walter William Henry Romanel served as an Lt with the 8th Royal Scots in the last year of the war. He survived the war.

Pte 1112 Alexander Paxton went to France on 5th November,1914, with 8th Royal Scots,one of the originals. He appears to have served until at least 1917 when he was invalided home. He survived the war.

Pte 1175 Peter Ormiston was another of the originals like Alex Paxton, he served with the 8th Royal Scots until at least 1917 when he was commissioned as an officer into the Kings Own Scottish Borderers. He survived the war.
Of the remaining lads William Baptie saw service with the 5/6th Royal Scots before transferring to the 9th Royal Scots. James Clapperton served with the 2nd, 8th and 9th Royal Scots, both survived the war. Alexander Cameron Stevenson served I belive withe 2nd Royal Scots Fusilers, but I can't confirm it. If he did then he was the first to fall in October, 1914.