March 21st 2014


England Rugby Captain and former Army Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Edgar Mobbs, was remembered at a Memorial Match held in his honour at Franklin Gardens, Northampton earlier this week (Wed 19th March).

Over 3,000 people gathered to watch the annual charity rugby union match that saw a final score of Northampton Saints 47 Army 29.

Northampton rugby legend, Lieutenant Colonel Edgar Mobbs was refused a commission at the outbreak of World War 1 on grounds of age so he formed his own special Corps known as the ‘Sportsmen’ or ‘Mobbs Own’. Around 400 men volunteered to join him, of whom 264 were passed fit. They became known as the Sportsman’s Battalion and formed a large part of the 7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment.

He was the captain for Northampton saints before going on to captain the Barbarians and then England against France in 1910. He was killed in action during the battle of Passchendaele in 1917. His name is listed on the Menin Gate.

The Mobbs Memorial Match is one of Rugby’s most historical matches having first been played in 1921 between East Midlands and the Barbarians at the Gardens. The event has continued annually since and sees the Army play the Northampton Saints and Bedford Blues, who alternate as opponents on an annual basis. This year it was the Saints turn to host the famous fixture.

The main match was preceded by a game between the Army ‘A’ team play and the East Midlands.

Around the grounds there were a number of military stands and a display of current military, pre match music was provided by the Band of the Parachute Regiment.

Major Max Johnstone of 158 Transport Regiment RLC said: “Edgar Mobbs was an outstanding rugby player and an inspirational soldier. The memorial match is an opportunity to commemorate someone who was a genuine war hero and a Saints and England rugby legend. And as we approach the 100th anniversary of the Great War this year’s memorial match was a particular poignant occasion.”