WW1 Rugby Memorial

The third in our series of photo stories from Alligin Photography on behalf of the Army Rugby Union.  Photographer Lee Crabb [Scrumpix Images] Picture editor Geraint Ashton Jones [Alligin Photography]

WW1 Rugby Memorial

On Saturday 16th September, 2017 the small village of Craonnelle, in the Aisne Department of France unveiled a permanent memorial to rugby players who had lost their lives in WWI.  The project had been the idea of John Dennison and Franck Viltart and the sculpture was made by former legendary France rugby captain and flanker, Jean-Pierre Rive. The location for the memorial is very appropriate as Craonnelle is in the heart of the former Chemin des Dames Battlefields that witnessed such bloody fighting and tragic loss of life.

Alongside the memorial has been produced a Book of Remembrance.  This on going project his designed to capture the names of as many rugby players as possible who lost their lives in World War One.  It is further hoped that each year an annual Youth Festival of Rugby will be held at the site to celebrate rugby today but also to reflect on events of the past.

Col Adam Griffiths OBE, the Director of Rugby for the British Army, led a large contingent from the Army Rugby Union to the events at Laon.  12th Regiment Royal Artillery played a match against the French Police whilst the Army Senior XV played against the French Pacific Combined Forces.

The images on this page were captured by Lee Crabb, of Scrumpix Images, who attended the event on behalf of Alligin Photography and record the ceremony where Rives' statue was unveiled.  Lee's action images from the event can all be found on the Army Rugby Union's Media Portal along with a number of video highlight packages from the matches produced by JPF Sports Media.

WW1 Rugby Memorial Sculture by Jean-Pierre Rives