Union of London & Smiths Bank staff football team, 1912-13 | RBS Remembers

RBS remembers 1914-1918


Union of London & Smiths Bank staff football team, 1912-13

The Union of London & Smiths Bank staff football team, 1913

 

Like most big banks, Union of London & Smiths Bank had a vibrant staff sports club, which fielded teams in a whole array of sports. Its members were mostly drawn from the bank’s London offices and branches, because the club facilities were located in Beckenham, south east London.

The 13 men on the bank’s football squad in 1913 were aged between 17 and 25. Theirs was the generation that suffered most heavily in the First World War. All 13 of them served in the army, and 6 were killed.

Back row, from left:

William Allen
Born in January 1892, William worked in the bank’s head office in Princes Street, London. He volunteered within months of the outbreak of the First World War, joining the Royal Sussex Regiment. He was killed in action on 20 September 1916.

Lloyd Richer
Lloyd was born in 1888 in West Bengal, where his father was an army officer. He was educated in England before joining the bank’s head office staff in March 1906. He joined the army on 1 September 1914, and served throughout the war, rising to the rank of Acting Captain and earning the Military Cross. He was demobilised in February 1919 and returned to the bank, where he remained for the rest of his career. He retired in 1946 as manager of Marylebone High Street branch, and died in 1968.

Arthur Latreille
Arthur, born in July 1895, was the youngest member of the team. He was an only child, and was educated at Brentwood Grammar School, where he excelled in all sports, particularly cricket. He was a clerk at the bank’s head office.

In the First World War Arthur joined the Queen’s Westminster Rifles, and went abroad early in 1915. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916, he was shot in both legs. He was brought back to hospital in England, where he died of his wounds just over a week later, on 9 July 1916, the day after his 21st birthday.

William Osborne
William was born in 1889. He was a clerk in the bank’s head office, and a dedicated member of the staff sports club. He was a particularly good all-round cricketer. He enlisted as a Private at the outbreak of war, and was commissioned in January 1916, becoming a Second Lieutenant. He was killed in action on 10 September 1916.

Francis Collett
Francis was born in 1890, the son of a builder and his wife. He joined the bank in 1910, after his uncle – a retired employee – recommended him. He started at head office, but later moved to Paddington branch, and then to Notting Hill Gate branch.

He joined the army in 1916, becoming a Private in the Honourable Artillery Company. In February 1918, while still in the army, he married his wife Eveline. They were married for 45 years, until her death in 1963.

Francis returned to the bank after the war. He eventually retired as manager of Wimborne branch in 1950. He lived to be over 100 years old, and died in the early 1990s. In 1975, he donated this photograph to his former employer’s archives. It has been cared for in the archives of NatWest ever since.

Ernest Tardif
Ernest was born in 1887, the son of a civil servant and his wife. While Ernest worked for Union of London & Smiths Bank, his youngest brother Valentine worked for another of our constituent banks, The National Bank. Both brothers served in the First World War. Ernest survived, but Valentine was killed in France in 1916, at the age of 19.

Soon after the war Ernest left the bank, and went to work in a tax office. His name does not appear again in the bank’s records.

Middle row, from left:

Herbert Twizell
Herbert was born in Ashford in 1892. He worked at the bank’s head office. During the First World War he served in the City of London Yeomanry (Roughriders). He was killed in action in the Middle East on 10 August 1916.

Thomas Watkins
Thomas was born in 1887. He was a clerk at head office, and the oldest member of the football team; 25 years old when this photograph was taken. Like his team-mate Henry Twizell, he served in the City of London Yeomanry (Roughriders) during the First World War. He was killed in action in Greece on 4 March 1917. His younger brother Norman, who also worked for the bank, was killed in France in July 1916.

Alexander Mills
Alexander was born in 1890, the son of a monumental sculptor. He was educated at Wells Blue School for Boys before going to work in the bank’s head office in 1907. He was away from the bank on active service from January 1917 until the end of the war. After demobilisation he returned to the bank, and by the end of the 1920s was a branch manager. He retired in 1950.

Alexander and his wife Ella had a son named Peter, born in about 1919. He followed his father into the bank, and worked there until he joined the army during the Second World War. He was killed in Egypt in 1942, at the age of 23.

John Hobbs
John was born in 1886, and worked at the bank’s head office. He joined the London Regiment in September 1914. He served throughout the war, but does not seem to have returned to the bank after he was demobilised.

Leslie Matthews
Leslie was born in 1894. He worked at the bank’s head office. During the First World War he served as a Rifleman in the London Regiment. He was killed on the Western Front on 30 April 1916, at the age of 21.

Front row, from left:

John Walton
John was born in 1888. As well as playing for the bank’s football team, he also represented the bank as a lightweight boxer. Early in 1914 John left the bank. He emigrated to America, where he found work as accountant to a tyre repair firm in Providence, Rhode Island. He joined the British army in 1917, serving in the Seaforth Highlanders and the Tank Corps, before being discharged after the end of the war.

Leonard Pollard
Leonard Charles Pollard was born in 1893. He started at the bank in 1911, originally at head office and later at London Victoria Street branch. He joined the army in August 1914, and served throughout the war. After being demobilised in March 1919 he returned to the bank, and eventually retired as manager of Warwick Gardens branch in 1953. 

 

Comments

 

 

Irene Crawford August 04 2014 9:00PM

How emotional to read about those young men who were killed at at such a young age. And how lovely to hear about Francis who lived to over a hundred. War is so cruel and still is today. Thanks for sharing the stories of the brave young men


 

kate johnson August 08 2014 2:28PM

Absolutely brilliant to know the stories behind these soldiers and remember these men who died so young during the war. Its such a shame that it takes so many young lives, even today.


 

Sabina Tongue August 14 2014 1:37PM

What touching stories to read of such young men. This country should be proud of all servicemen/women they put the word GREAT in Great Britain


 

Aveline Moore November 09 2014 11:36PM

How wonderful to see that my grandfather played for the football team.He was lucky to survive the war but I am sad that Valentine didn't. I was part of a channel 4 program called' Not Forgotten' where Valentine was remembered.He enlisted at the age of 17 and died aged 19.Along with countless others he gave his life for our freedom. Aveline Moore

 


What's your view?

Please share your view or story on this subject for publication on this page.

You should ensure that you agree to our posting guidelines and then leave your comment, with What's your view as the email subject and the way you would like your name to appear with your message.

Please note that we review every comment before publishing it to make sure that it doesn't breach our posting guidelines so it sometimes takes a day or two for your comments to appear.

Leave your comment

Related topics

1 July 1916: first day of the Somme

The first day of the Battle of the Somme was the bloodiest in the history of the British army.

Our fallen

1,582 members of our staff lost their lives during the First World War.

Later lives

Those who fought in the war were a unique generation, and their experiences deeply affected the rest of their lives.

Sharing our facilities

Banks lent premises and facilities to meet wartime public need.

John Gruchy

John was captured in 1914 and spent the rest the war imprisoned in Germany and, later, interned in Switzerland.

David Wishart Hanna

David survived ground-breaking surgery after being wounded in France, but died in a motorbike accident while convalescing.

The Keeping brothers

Edwin, Herbert and John Keeping all worked for the same bank.

Set Tab for lightbox