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History of Rugby within the Regiment

1895 saw the creation of Rugby League, at an inaugural meeting at the George Hotel, in Huddersfield. The Northern Rugby Football Union was established as a breakaway faction of England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU). Both organisations played the game under the same rules at first, although the Northern Union began to modify rules almost immediately, thus creating a new faster, stronger paced form of rugby football. By the second half of the 19th Century over 50% of the rugby clubs in England were in the north of the country; the game being very popular with the working classes. This was continued with the break-away and formation of the Rugby League in 1895.

2DWR Team Maritzburg SAWith our recruiting tradition already in the West Riding and the establishment of the Depot in Halifax in 1877 it was not long before the Regiments tradition of playing rugby began, with the 2nd battalion gaining early honours. This reputation and strength was constantly enhanced by the recruitment of officers with a flair for rugby.

In those far off days of Rugby League, the thirteen-a-side game was played by all the elementary schools of Yorkshire, and thus the depot recruited a steady stream of recruits who played rugby.  Because of this rugby ability the 2nd Battalion became the initiator of serious Regimental Rugby.

The Regiment went on to cement its soldiering and rugby prowess in South Africa and India.

In India between 1904 and 1914, the 1st Battalion won the Calcutta Cup nine times, the Madras Cup seven times and the Bombay Cup six times. The 2nd Battalion won the first ever newly instituted Army Challenge Cup in 1907. Since then the Regiment has won the Army Cup 14 times and have been runners up a total of eight times. In the Regiments heyday it won the Army Cup four years in a row, 1965 – 68. However, the Cup eluded us after 1981.

To celebrate the Regiments Tercentenary in 2002 the ‘Dukes’ took 30 players to New Zealand for a six-week tour playing both New Zealand Military and Club sides.

Rugby Individual Honours

Lt (Horsey) Brown Army & Ireland (12 Caps) 1925-1928
Lt (Horsey) BrownArmy & Ireland (12 Caps)
1925-1928
Capt Mike Campbell-Lamerton Army, London Scottish, Scotland (23 Caps) British Lions in South Africa 1962 Captain of British Lions in Australia & New Zealand 1966
Capt Mike Campbell-Lamerton
Army, London Scottish, Scotland (23 Caps)
British Lions in South Africa 1962
Captain of British Lions in Australia & New Zealand 1966
Lt Grieve Army, Scotland & British Lions in South Africa during 1938
Lt Grieve
Army, Scotland & British Lions in South Africa during 1938
Lt Reynolds Army, England & British Lions in 1938
Lt Reynolds
Army, England & British Lions in 1938

 

Since the early days the Regiment has produced an impressive amount of international players, repreenting England, Ireland and Scotland. CF Grieve and FJ Reynolds toured South Africa in 1938 with the British Lions. Brian Curry played for England in 1959, whilst Jack Scroby played for Great Britain and the army, as did Roy Sabine. Norman Field played for Great Britain in 1963 and later for Bradford Northern and Halifax. In 1965 Charlie Renison played for both Scotland and Great Britain. In the same year Arthur Keegan played for Great Britain. Yet our most successful player was MJ Campbell-Lamerton who toured with the Lions to South Africa in 1962 and Captained the Lions in Australia and New Zealand in 1966. At one point in the 1950s England’s Half Back pair was DW Shuttleworth and EMP Hardy, who provided continuity to both England and the Dukes.

Brigadier DW Shuttleworth became President of the Rugby Football Union in the 1985/86 season.

Cpl's Waquabaca & Ponijiasi Fijian stars 1960-70
Cpl’s Waquabaca & Ponijiasi 1960-70
Cpl's Heywood, Fields & Scroby National Servicemen Rugby League Stars
Cpl’s Heywood, Fields & Scroby
National Servicemen
Rugby League Stars
Lt's Hardy & Shuttleworth Army, Combined Services, Headingly, Yorkshire & England
Lt’s Hardy & Shuttleworth
Army, Combined Services,
Headingly, Yorkshire & England
Arthur Keegan
Arthur Keegan (served late 50’s) Later coached at representative level for Yorkshire and Bramley.

 

Army Caps

The ”Dukes’ have produced over 50 players that have been capped for the Army against the Navy and the Air Force since 1914.

The Teams

The 2nd Battalion 1906/07 Team, Captained by Capt Denton Winners of the 1st Army Cup Match Score = 2DWR (5) - Trg Batt RE (0)
The 2nd Battalion 1906/07 Team,
Captained by Capt Denton
Winners of the 1st Army Cup Match
Score = 2DWR (5) – Trg Batt RE (0)
The 1st Battalion 1931/32 Team Captained by Lt Miles Winners of the Army Cup Score = 1DWR (21) - Trg Regt RE (0)
The 1st Battalion 1931/32 Team
Captained by Lt Miles
Winners of the Army Cup
Score = 1DWR (21) – Trg Regt RE (0)
1DWR Team 1957/59 Captained by Capt Gilbert Smith The Regiment v Ulster Score = 1DWR (19) - Ulster (8)
1DWR Team 1957/59
Captained by Capt Gilbert Smith
The Regiment v Ulster
Score = 1DWR (19) – Ulster (8)
1DWR Team 1967 Captained by Capt Reid Winners of the Army Cup Score = 1DWR (14) - 7RHA (3)
1DWR Team 1967
Captained by Capt Reid
Winners of the Army Cup
Score = 1DWR (14) – 7RHA (3)

 

The Battalion’s Northern Ireland Tour of 1957-59 saw the Battalion play Club Rugby across Northern Ireland. As the tour drew to an end Ulster honoured the Regiment  by playing the Battalion at Ravenhill. The team, Captained by Capt Gilbert-Smith, produced an outstanding performance resulting in the Battalion taking a well deserved victory with a score of 19 to Ulster’s 8.

 

Cpl Field Scoring a Try in the 1959 Match against Ulster
Cpl Field Scoring a Try in the 1959 Match against Ulster 
Whilst stationed at Osnabruck, West Germany, from 1965 to 1968, the Battalion had four consecutive victories in the Army Cup.
1DWR Team 1998/99, Captained by Lt McCormack, were narrowly beaten in the Cup Final, at Aldershot, by the 7th Royal Horse Artillery, with a final score of:- 1DWR (15) - 7RHA (20).
1DWR Team 1998/99, Captained by Lt McCormack, were narrowly beaten in the Cup Final, at Aldershot, by the 7th Royal Horse Artillery, with a final score of:-
1DWR (15) – 7RHA (20).

Regimental Mascot 'Albert'

Rugby Mascot

‘Albert’, a carved wooden Indian elephant was the rugby team’s mascot. He was kept in the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess and paraded at each rugby match, He was the longest-serving supporter of the rugby squad.