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Captain on the Rugby field and Battlefield

03 February 2016

With England v Scotland on February 6 for the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield, CWGC has delved into its archives and discovered an army captain who fought both on the battlefield and the rugby field and won a Calcutta Cup.

This month will mark 100 years since the death of Captain Edward George Gatacre, who was born in Barnstaple, Devon in 1884 and was educated at Cheltenham College. He joined the army as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion King's Shropshire Light Infantry in 1905.

Edward soon became captain for his regimental rugby team and helped to win the Calcutta Cup between 1907 and 1910. 

This is a different trophy to its now more famous counterpart (Edward is not listed on the RFU's Roll of Honour), having been set up in 1890 by the rugby section of the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club as an inter-club trophy. Officially known as the Calcutta Rugby Union Challenge Cup, it was promptly christened the Calcutta Cup.

By 1911, Edward was in India with the Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding Regiment). That year, Edward and his comrades formed part of the Guard of Honour at the last Delhi Durbar or Court of Delhi, a mass assembly at Coronation Park, Delhi, in the presence of King George V to mark his succession as Emperor of India.

Edward went to France with his regiment on 29th October, 1915. He was wounded on the Somme on 19th February, 1916, while the West Riding Regiment was in trenches south-east of Hebuterne. He died, aged 32, the following day.

Edward is buried at Louvencourt Military Cemetery, France.


Interested in Rugby? Learn more about soldiers who played the game.