Exeter City Football Club will be remembering four former players who died during the Battle of the Somme at a special ceremony to be held at their St James Park war memorial.
The memorial service, in partnership with the Royal British Legion, will take place at 2pm on Friday 1 July. This is the exact centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. That day alone saw 57,470 British casualties including 19,240 who were killed.
Two Exeter City players – Fred Bailey and Evelyn Lintott died on this first day and two others Arthur Evans and Percy Worner during the rest of the Battle.
Fred Bailey played for Exeter City Reserves before the war and was a well-known athlete. He was a member of local clubs including Exmouth Harriers.
Evelyn Lintott played for Exeter City as an amateur while studying to be a teacher at St Luke’s College. He went on to play professionally for Bradford City and Leeds City. He won seven caps for the full England team and was Chairman of the Football Players’ Union.
Arthur Evans was a professional player for Exeter City joining from Manchester City in 1913. He worked as a cricket coach at West Buckland School, North Devon in 1914. He was killed on 31 July.
Percy Worner, an amateur player, was one of the original founders of St Sidwell’s United who changed their name to Exeter City in 1904. He had been at St Sidwell’s School and later taught there after training at St Luke’s College alongside his great friend Evelyn Lintott. Worner was killed on 4 September. His original wooden cross and medals are on display in the The Keep Military Museum in Dorchester.
Representatives from the various organisations associated with the four players including Exmouth Harriers, St Luke’s College, Professional Footballers’ Association, West Buckland School and St Sidwell’s School have been invited to the ceremony along with some known family descendants. They will be joined by representatives of Exeter City Football Club and its owners the Exeter City Supporters Trust.
During the service representatives will lay a special Somme cross for each of the four players who were killed and a wreath in memory of all who lost their lives. Eleven Exeter City players died during World War One and are remembered on a memorial by Exeter City’s Garden of Remembrance.
The Royal British Legion will also perform an act of remembrance including The Exhortation, Last Post, Two Minute Silence, Reveille and the Dedication.
All are welcome to attend the service. Paul Farley for the Club and Trust said:-
We are determined never to forget the sacrifice made by our former players. The Somme was a particularly painful episode in World War One and the centenary of the first day of the battle provides a poignant time to remember those that gave their lives.