It has been over 105 years since the first shot was fired in World War One. My search for those who represented Brentford FC (at some time in their life) and who made the ultimate sacrifice, continues to this day. New sources for research are added online daily. Snippets of information, written down and printed one hundred years or so ago, re-opens closed avenues into finding and bringing back into our memory the names of those once lost in time. Once rediscovered, these brave men will never be forgotten again. We Will Remember.

My research into Brentford FC for season 1902/1903 mentioned a player, named “Dutfield” (pictured), who had appeared for the Bees first eleven, at full-back, once in the Southern League and once in a London League match (Dutfield was a reserve XI player). Newspaper reports just showed his surname and nothing more.

Dutfield, being an uncommon surname, was one I had expected to be searchable with some ease. Unfortunately not! So I waited for new sources to appear online. One new source then appeared…

At the start of season 1902/1903 a piece on Brentford FC, in the Uxbridge & West Drayton Gazette, gave mention of a player named “Duffield” (sic) who had arrived from Croydon and played as a full-back. He was to be a reserve player for the coming season. This new source (Croydon) re-opened the file on Dutfield. Finally, a first name and more.

The research is summarised below……

Harry Dutfield was born to George and Ann Dutfield (nee Thompson) and registered in the Aston district of Birmingham Warwickshire in last quarter of 1879. [George Alfred and Ann married in Leeds on 25 September 1865 at St Peter’s.]

The 1881 Census of England show the family living at; (the) “Back of 95”, 1, Icknield Square, Birmingham, Warwickshire. George is noted as a leather dresser (a currier) and was born in Battersea in 1846. Ann, his wife, was born in Leeds Yorkshire in 1844. Their five children were; Ernest (b.1870), Ada (b.1872), Kate (b.1874), Clara (b.1876) and Harry (b.1880).

At some time, between the two census records of 1881 and 1891, the family moved to Wallington, near Croydon, Surrey.

Now residing at; 5 Golden Terrace, Wallington, Croydon, Surrey. George (44) is still in the leather trade as a currier. Ann, 45, is now a mother to six children. Ada had, by now, left the family home (m.1892) and Arthur is the additional child (b.1881).

Harry Dutfield followed his father into the leather trade and became a leather dresser.

One of several newspaper records, for example in the Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter of 29 April 1899, show a “Dutfield” appearing at full-back for Beddington Corner FC in a local Surrey junior league, known as the Herald League.

The next record available is the marriage of Harry Dutfield to Louisa Clara Brown. This was registered in the first quarter 1899 at Epsom Surrey.

The 1901 Census has Harry, now 22, as a leather dresser and Louisa, 23 (b. Carshalton Surrey), living at London Road, Wallington, Croydon, Surrey. They have two children; George Dutfield (b.1899 Beddington Corner, Surrey) and Gladys Dutfield (b.1901 Beddington Corner, Surrey).

[Note the birth town given in this Census.]

From 1900 to 1902, H. Dutfield is noted as a footballer for Beddington Corner FC. For example, in the West Surrey Times dated 30 March 1901, H. Dutfield played for “The Corner” against Farncombe FC.

In the Uxbridge & West Drayton Gazette, dated 19 July 1902, Brentford Football Club announced several new signings for the coming season, 1902/1903. One signing was “Duffield” (sic) a full-back from Croydon. The research mentioned above notes that Dutfield is the man Brentford signed and that he played in the Croydon area for Beddington Corner FC.

Harry Dutfield played for the Brentford First XI just once in the Southern League (versus Reading in a three nil defeat) and once in the London League (versus Woolwich Arsenal in another three nil defeat). His main contribution to the Bees was for the Reserve XI who played in the South-Eastern League and the reserve division of the London League, Division 2.

At seasons end, 1902/1903, there isn’t another mention of Dutfield playing for Brentford. Nor is there mention of Harry Dutfield moving to another Club to continue his football career, even at junior level back in the Surrey leagues.

The 1911 Census of England and Wales is where we next see the family. The Dutfield family had moved to Leicestershire. Harry and Louisa were living at 91 Repton Street, Leicester Leicestershire.

Now 32 years of age, Harry was still a leather dresser and Louisa, 33, was now a mother to six children; George (b.1899 Surrey), Gladys (b.1901 Surrey), Alice (b.1903 Surrey), William (b.1904 Surrey), Percy (b.1906 Surrey) and Grace Ellen (1911 Leicestershire).

Records aren’t readily available to follow what happened after 1911 except the births of more children! Frank Dutfield (b.1913 Leicester), Bertie Dutfield, (b.1915 Leicester [Bertie, however, died soon after birth in early 1915]), Florence Dutfield, (b.1916 Leicester) and Leonard Thomas Dutfield (b.1918 Leicester).

Harry Dutfield answered the call for men to join the Colours between 7/10 of May 1917. He joined the 4th (Reserve) Battalion Leicestershire Regiment as Private H. Dutfield 203533.

He was posted to the 7th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, in October 1917, before his posting and embarkation to France. He was then transferred to the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment sometime later, likely to be around 24 October 1917. [The dates of enlistment and movements are taken from fellow men whose records survive and are closely numbered to Harry Dutfield]

The surviving War Diary [WD] of the 1st Leicestershire’s allow us to follow Harry’s progress from October 1917 to June 1918. The most poignant piece is from June 1918…….

The Battalion, on 6 June 1918, were in the front Line, to the left of the Chateau Segard sector.

The WD notes on the 6 June 1918; “Intermittent shelling by both sides, throughout the day, which otherwise passed uneventfully. 16th King’s Royal Rifle Corps relieved the Battalion at night. Relief somewhat hampered by hostile gas shelling on our front line and hostile activity on back areas. Relief eventually complete at 12.00 midnight.” The WD kept detailed notes, which is unusual for many regimental diaries, of a running casualty list for each month. For June 1918 it notes; “Casualties; other ranks, ‘C’ Company; 1 killed, 6 wounded.”

The one man killed we know to be; 

Private Harry Dutfield 203533, of C Company 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment.

His body is laid to rest in the CWGC Nine Elms British Cemetery, Poperinge, Arrondissement Ieper, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium. PLOT XI. E. 5.

Sadly, before his own death, Harry would have had to suffer the sad news that his and Louisa’s eldest son, George Henry Dutfield #40869 of the 8th Bn. King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), was killed in action on 13 April 1918, aged just 18.  

George Henry Dutfield is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial Hainaut, Belgium, Panel 2.

Louisa Clara Dutfield never re-married and is noted in the Register of 1939 as still living in Leicester along with their youngest son Leonard Dutfield. Louisa later passed away in 1949.

May they Rest in Peace…….

The following are former players of Brentford FC who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Bombardier William George Allwright

Royal Field Artillery. No.22710. Died: 12/04/1918.

Died after discharge from the Army, in 1916, due to a stroke.

Buried; South Ealing Cemetery. Commemorated on Screen Wall H.P.21

Brentford FC; 1899/1900 – Southern League – 5 appearances.

Private John Bayne

2nd Battalion Royal Highlanders (Black Watch). No.3/3694. Died: 21/07/1915.

Killed in Action; St. Vaast Normandy France.

Buried; St. Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’avoue Pas de Calais France. Grave No. I. J. 2.

Brentford FC; 1899/1900 & 1902/1903 – Southern League – 4 appearances & 2 goals.

Private Harry Dutfield

1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment. No. 203533, Died: 6/06/1918.

Killed in Action; Poperinge Belgium.

Buried; Nine Elms British Cemetery, Poperinge West Flanders Belgium. Grave No. XI. E. 5.

Brentford FC; 1902/1903 – Southern League – 1 appearance.

Lieutenant Alexander Glen

Royal Army Medical Corps. Died: 21/09/1916.

Committed suicide in camp, Ripon Yorkshire.

Buried; Ripon Cemetery Ripon Yorkshire.

Brentford FC; 1908/1909 – Southern League – 11 appearances & 3 goals.

Private Harry Gould

8th (Service) Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London) Regiment. No.G/1063. Died: 07/09/1914.

Died of heart failure during training at Colchester barracks.

Buried; Colchester Cemetery, Essex. Grave number F. 11. 43.

Brentford FC Amateur; 1911/12 to 1912/13.

Private James Greechan

12th (Service) Battalion Highland Light Infantry. No.17740. Died: 25/08/1917.

Died of wounds; during the Battle of Langemarck, Ypres.

Buried; Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery Ypres Belgium. Grave No.XVII.A.9.

Brentford FC; 1906/07 – Southern League – 15 appearances & 2 goals.

Sergeant Patrick Hagan

11th Battalion Royal Scots. No.3004. Died: 14/07/1916.

Missing in action; during the Battle of Bazentin Ridge Somme France.

Recorded on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 6D & 7D).

Brentford FC; 1906/07 to 1907/08 – Southern League – 49 appearances & 9 goals.

Sergeant Joshua Hardisty MM

11th (Lonsdale) Battalion Border Regiment. No.16258. Died: 18/11/1916.

Killed in Action; Beaumont-Hamel France.

Buried; Waggon Road Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, France. Grave ref: A. 30

Awarded Military Medal – for “bravery in the field”.

Brentford FC; 1905/1906 – Southern League – 1 appearance.

Company Sergeant Major George William Kennedy DCM, MM

42nd Battalion (Royal Highlanders) Quebec Regiment Canadian Infantry. No.418239. Died: 16/11/1917.

Died of wounds during Battle of Passchendaele, Belgium.

Buried; Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium. Grave Ref.: XXII – DD – 12A.

Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal – “for devotion to duty”.

Awarded the Military Medal – for “bravery in the field”.

Brentford FC; 1910/11 to 1912/13 – Southern League – 78 appearances & 2 goals.

Sergeant George Albert Littler

2nd Battalion Kings Royal Rifles Corps. No.9173. Died: 11/05/1915.

Died of his wounds during Battle of Aubers Neuve Chapelle France.

Buried; Bethune Town Cemetery, Pas de Calais France. Plot no. III – grave no.C.27.

Brentford FC Reserve XI; 1913/14 to 1914/15 (London League & South Eastern League).

Private Henry George Purver

24th Battalion (2nd Sportsmen’s) Royal Fusiliers. No.SP/3728. Died 31/07/1916.

Missing in action; Delville Wood Somme France. 

Recorded on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 8 C 9 A and 16 A).

Brentford FC; 1911/12 – Southern League – 2 appearances.

Private Horace Osborne Robotham

23rd Battalion Duke of Cambridgeshire’s Own (Middlesex Regiment). No.F/2397. Died: 12/09/1916.

Missing in action during Battle of Ginchy & Flers-Courcelette Somme France.

Recorded on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 12D & 13B).

Brentford FC; 1905/06 – Southern League – 18 appearances.

Sergeant Percy Kitchener Saunders

18th Divisional Workshops Royal Army Ordnance Corps. No.7624351. Died: 02/03/1942

On-board SS Rooseboom during the evacuation of Malaya and Singapore. Ship torpedoed by Japanese submarine (I-59). Died at Sea.

Recorded on the Singapore Memorial, Kranji War Cemetery. Column 108.

Brentford FC; 1939/40 – Football League First Division – 2 appearances.

Private Ralph Shields

No.2 Company Australian Army Service Corps. No.NX57251. Died: 21/11/1944.

Died as a Prisoner of War.

Buried; Labuan War Cemetery Malaysia (Sabah) 1. Section N. Row AA. Plot 16.

Brentford FC; 1921/22 – Football League Division 3 (South) – 9 appearances.

Private Alexander White Walker

3/9th Battalion Royal Scots. No.4496. Died: 12/5/1916.

Died of Tuberculosis at 2nd Scottish General Hospital Craigleith Edinburgh.

Brentford FC; 1904/05 – Southern League – 8 appearances.

The following footballers are also remembered. They appeared as a guest player in War-Time matches for Brentford FC between 1915/1919 and 1939/1946.

Sapper John Frederick Alborough

2nd Signal Company Royal Engineers attached to 5th Field Company R.E. No.21127. Died: 31/10/1918.

Sergeant Albert Edward Bonass

Royal Air Force (Volunteer Reserve). No.1898979. Died: 09/10/1945.

Sergeant Henry Cook

12th Battalion Alexandra Princess of Wales’ Own (Yorkshire Regiment). No.20982. Died 9/01/1917.

Private William Kirby

6th Pioneer Battalion (R.E.) attached to East Yorkshire Regiment. No.40391. Died 3/10/1917.

Shoeing Smith William Mathews

Royal Horse Artillery (53rd Welch Division) Ammunition Column. No.745301. Died 29/4/1921.

Sergeant Richard Cross Wynn

12th Battalion Alexandra Princess of Wales’ Own (Yorkshire Regiment). No.20955. 17th Company Labour Corps no.340210. Died 9/8/1919.

Former players of Brentford FC who were killed due to enemy actions on home shores in WW2 and recognised as Civilian War Dead.

Walter Spratt

Despatcher at Moser’s Ltd Southwark London. Died: 22/01/1945. (V2 rocket attack).

MAY THEY REST IN PEACE.

 

Paul Briers