Many of the East Lothian lads in the 8th Royal Scots were exponents of the oval rather than the round shape ball. Haddington RFC was founded in 1912 and the official opening was postponed 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.
So what became of the team during the war? Well the answer is in common with many teams, it suffered badly.
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.
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 to fall 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 Newbattle at War member George Souness.He was killed on 1st March,1915 aged 22 years 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.
2nd Lt John George Sandilands 11th Royal Scots, 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.
2nd Lt John William Hutchison, 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.
Pte 30103 Robert Goodall, Depot Royal Scots Fusiliers. He died at home possibly of diabetic coma, brought on by shrapnel lodged in his body, on 14th September,1919 he is buried in the cemetery at Haddington.
And of the rest of the men?
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.
Pte 330107 George McNeill Clapperton served with 2nd, 8th and 9th Royal Scots, survived the war
A C Stevenson maybe Pte 8688 Alexander Campbell Stevenson, that being the case he was kiled in action December, 1914 whilst serving with the Royal Scots Fusiliers.
Of the rest, their fate is unknown, but one thing is for sure, when their country called, this team answered.