“The dreadful drama of War is now being enacted over five countries of Europe,” proclaimed the Editorial in The Western Mail on Monday, 3 August 1914, “and before long, possibly before these lines are read, it may have extended to another country – our own.” Prophetic words indeed as the following day a state of War was declared against Germany and orders were given for troops to mobilise. The momentous news swiftly filtered out from the newspaper offices close to the Arms Park where Glamorgan’s cricketers were engaged on the second day of the Minor County Championship match with Surrey 2nd XI.
The match duly continued with Norman Riches posting a century as the home side set the visitors a target of 184 to win. However, there were concerns amongst the visiting team over both how, and when, they might travel back to Paddington as the Great Western Railway announced that it was cancelling several planned excursion trains, and with troop movement now a necessity, a revised timetable was drawn up. It may have been no coincidence that Harry Creber swiftly worked his way through the Surrey line-up as Glamorgan secured a facile victory by 81 runs with the visiting players and officials hurriedly departing the Arms Park and heading to the railway station to catch the next available service back to London.
Archer Windsor-Clive , the son of the Earl of Plymouth and a Glamorgan cricketer, was amongst the first batch of British troops to be killed, with the man, tipped to be a future captain of the Welsh county, killed at Landrecies in France on 25 August 1914. Click on the link below to find out more about Archer Windsor-Clive.
By the time of his sad death, the cricket grounds at Cardiff and Swansea had become military training centres. For a while, the pavilion at the Arms Park was also used to house prisoners of war before later during the hostilities other sporting contests, such as boxing and tug-of-war, were staged to entertain the troops based in and around the Welsh capital.
Sadly, several Glamorgan cricketers lost their lives during the Great War. Click here to visit the ‘Roll of Honour’ page where you can read more about their cricketing careers and, sadly, how they lost their life fighting for King and Country.