Albert Cotter was killed at the age of 33 in Palestine on October 31, 1917. He played 21 Tests for Australia. Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia
As the centenary of the World War I is commemorated, Michael Jones remembers the cricketers who were killed in action. This is part 2 of the series, recounting the next set of players.
24. Harry Chinnery: He played for Surrey in the 1897 season, and toured the United States of America (USA) with Plum Warner’s team that winter; he then moved to Middlesex, for whom he played from 1899 onwards, and later toured India with the Oxford University Authentics. Three of his four First-Class centuries came in consecutive innings, with 105 and 165 for Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) against Oxford University in 1901, followed by 100 for Middlesex against Gloucestershire in his next match. He was killed at Monchy-le-Preux on May 28, 1916, aged 40.
25. Leonard Colbeck: He turned the course of the 1905 Varsity match with a remarkable innings. He came to the wicket with Cambridge reeling at 44 for five in their second innings, still 57 short of avoiding an innings defeat. He “took all sorts of risks, cutting balls off the middle stump to the boundary, but his eye served him so well that he was very rarely at fault” [Wisden]. Colbeck scored 107 in two and a quarter hours, supported by 60 from Harold McDonell, and Cambridge secured a lead of 163 — which turned out to be more than enough, as Oxford were bowled out in the fourth innings to lose by 40 runs.
Colbeck also made 175 not out for Cambridge against WG Grace’s XI the next year, but failed to make any impression in the 10 matches he played for Middlesex over the following few seasons, or his three appearances for the Europeans in the Bombay Quadrangular Tournament in 1913-14. He was killed aboard HMS Ormonde off the Cape of Good Hope on January 3, 1918, two days after his 34th birthday.
26. Edward Coleman: He kept wicket in two matches for Essex in 1912; his glove-work was tidy, but he made no impression with the bat. He was killed at Salonika on April 2, 1917, aged 25.
27. Christopher Collier: He worked on the Edgbaston ground staff, before joining Worcestershire in 1910. He played five seasons for the county but achieved little of note, scoring only one fifty. He was killed near Mametz on August 25, 1916, two days after his 30th birthday.
28. Arthur Collins: He never played a First-Class match, but nevertheless left an indelible mark on cricket history with an innings of 628 not out, spread over five afternoons, in a house match at Clifton College in 1899; it remains the highest individual score recorded at any level of cricket. He carried his bat in a total of 836, after being dropped on 20, and followed the innings by taking 11 wickets in the match. The remainder of his career, consisting of a few college and Army matches, was unexceptional. He was killed at Ypres on November 11, 1914, aged 29.
29. Frederick Collins: He opened the bowling for Victoria between 1899 and 1909, making an immediate impact with figures of six for 81 on debut against South Australia, including the wickets of Clem Hill, Joe Darling and George Giffen. He played only 37 matches in a career of almost a decade, but finished with the respectable record of 146 wickets at an average of 26. He was killed near Ypres on October 4, 1917, aged 36.
30. Albert ‘Tibby’ Cotter: He was, at 5’ 8’’, short by the standards of fast bowlers, but he generated considerable pace from a small frame and regularly troubled batsmen in the decade preceding the war. He destroyed England with six for 40 in his second Test — only his fifth First-Class match — when the visitors were bowled out for a mere 61 at Sydney in 1904, and followed it up with seven for 148 at the Oval in the return series the following year. Also on the 1905 tour, he came close to bowling the tourists to an improbable win at Worcester after the first day had been lost to rain.
Cotter ran through the county side with seven for 15, as they collapsed from 64 for two to 78 all out in their first innings, then took the first five in the second innings before rain had the final say; he finished with match figures of twelve for 34. A hard-hitting tail-ender, he didn’t make runs very often, but when he did he made them quickly: 36 not out off 28 balls, with two sixes, at Adelaide in 1911, which threatened to snatch the game away from South Africa after the last pair had been required to make 86 to win, before Bill Whitty was dismissed at the other end to seal victory for the visitors; and 41 off 40 against England at Melbourne the following year, again in a losing cause. He finished with a strike rate in Tests of a run a ball. He was killed in Palestine on October 31, 1917, aged 33.
31. Alexander Cowie: He enjoyed some success as an opening bowler for Cambridge University in 1910 and 1911, taking five for 67 against Surrey on his First-Class debut as the university beat a strong county side by two wickets. He also played two matches for Hampshire, including a return of five for 94 against Lancashire; his brief First-Class career brought him 58 wickets at an average of 24. He was killed in Mesopotamia on April 7, 1916, aged 27.
32. Alexander Crawford: He played for Warwickshire in 1911, and moved to Nottinghamshire the following season. He made his debut against the Indian touring team; after not being required in the first innings when Frank Foster and Frank Field bowled unchanged to take five wickets apiece, Crawford came on in the second to take six for 36 as Warwickshire won by 10 wickets. That remained the only five-wicket haul of his short career. He was killed at Laventie, near Lille, on May 10, 1916, two weeks short of his 25th birthday.
33. Foster Cunliffe: He bowled left-arm medium pace for Oxford University and Middlesex in the second half of the 1890s, and more occasionally in the first years of the 20th century. He took 235 wickets in First-Class matches at an average of under 22, with his best performance coming at the Parks in 1896 when he took eight for 26 to bowl out Surrey for a mere 96; in the return match at the Oval a few weeks later he held up an end to help Stacy Waddy add 93 for the ninth wicket, then took five for 83 and three for 68 as the county side were forced to follow on and Oxford completed their second win of the season over the same opposition. He died of wounds at Ovilliers La Boiselle on July 10, 1916, aged 40.
34. Geoffrey Davies: He was a leg-spinner and useful lower-order batsman for Cambridge University and Essex in the years immediately preceding the war. In 1914, he made centuries against Northamptonshire and Somerset — the latter in the last round of Championship matches before the competition was abandoned — as well as taking 83 wickets in the season at under 20 apiece, skittling the Free Foresters with three for 37 and eight for 67 then, scoring 42 not out to guide Cambridge to victory by one wicket; Wisden was impressed enough to aver that “there can be little doubt that, but for the War, he would have developed into an England player”. He was killed near Hulluch on September 26, 1915, aged 22.
35. Archibald Difford: He played for Western Province and Transvaal in the Currie Cup in the early years of the century. He made 103 against Griqualand West at Johannesburg in 1907 — more than the opposition managed between them in either innings, as Western Province won by the massive margin of an innings and 359 runs. Murray Bisset, who captained South Africa in two Tests, was Difford’s brother-in-law. He was killed in Palestine on September 20, 1918, aged 35.
36. Geoffrey Dowling: He played four matches for Sussex in 1911, with a highest score of 48 and one wicket. He was killed at Hooge on July 30, 1915, aged 23.
37. William Edwards: He kept wicket for Glamorgan before the county achieved First-Class status. He had some success behind the stumps in Minor Counties matches, but achieved little with the bat. He was killed in Palestine on November 1, 1917, aged 25.
38. Keith Eltham: He was a middle-order batsman for Tasmania between 1910 and 1914. His 11 First-Class matches for the state brought him three fifties, with a highest score of 78 against New South Wales (NSW), and two wickets. He was killed on December 31, 1916 near Lesboeuts, aged 30.
39. Charles Fisher: He appeared in 21 First-Class matches for Oxford University and Sussex, with a highest score of 80 against Worcestershire in 1911. He was killed in the Battle of Jutland on May 31, 1916, aged 29.
40. Harold Garnett: He was Lancashire’s regular keeper for the first decade of the 20th century. He was picked for the 1901-02 tour of Australia, played in a few tour matches, but was clearly out of form and was not selected for the Tests. Helater captained Argentina (a team of expats, including no native Argentines) in three matches against the MCC touring team in 1912. Selected for the Gentlemen against the Players in 1914, Wisden considered that “the way in which he stumped Hitch in the Players’ second innings would have been wonderful even if done by Blackham at his best”. On top of more than 200 keeping dismissals in First-Class matches, he was also a useful batsman, peaking in 1901 when he scored 1,758 runs, including three centuries. He was killed at Marcoing, near Cambrai, on December 3, 1917, aged 38.
41. Hubert Garrett: He was born in Australia, but moved to England and played as a leg-spinner for Somerset in 1913. His best performance was for HDG Leveson Gower’s team against Oxford University that year, taking six for 60 and four for 32; he took 32 wickets in 11 First-Class matches in all, at an average of 22. He was the son of Tom Garrett, who played in the first Test in 1877. He was killed at Gallipoli on June 4, 1915, aged 29.
42. Francis Gillespie: He had some success for Surrey second XI in the Minor Counties Championship and scored 72 on his first team debut against Gloucestershire, but that remained his highest score and he was dropped after achieving nothing of note in five further matches. He was killed at Ypres on June 18, 1916, aged 27.
43. Thomas Grace: He (no relation to the more famous cricketing Grace family) appeared in two First-Class matches for Wellington, bowling them to victory over Otago in 1913-14 with figures of four for six in the fourth innings. He was killed at Gallipoli on August 8, 1915, aged 25.
44. Alfred Hartley: He opened the batting for Lancashire for seven years. He scored over 1,000 runs in three consecutive seasons, peaking with 1,585 in 1910 including his career best of 234 against Somerset in which he added 295 with Johnny Tyldesley for the second wicket and 175 with Jack Sharp for the third. His form that year earned him selection for the Gentlemen against the Players; he scored 24 and 35 in the second match, worth many more in a low-scoring game in which no player reached fifty. He was killed near Maissemy on October 9, 1918, aged 39.
45. Eric Hatfeild: He was a slow left-arm orthodox who bowled Eton to an innings victory over Harrow in 1903 with returns of five for 33 and seven for 58, and went on to play for Oxford University.
To be continued
Read Part 1 of this Article
(Michael Jones’s writing focuses on cricket history and statistics, with occasional forays into the contemporary game)