The Life of Ronald Poulton
POULTON, Edward Bagnall Poulton
Category: First World War
London. Sidgwick & Jackson. 1919.
First edition; 8vo; original cloth, top edge gilt. Ronald 'Ronnie' William Poulton (12 September 1889 – 5 May 1915) was an rugby union footballer, who captained England. He was killed in the First World War. Poulton played for Balliol College, Oxford University RFC, Harlequins and Liverpool F.C. Poulton is one of three men to score a hat-trick of tries in The Varsity Match – he scored five, still the individual record. He captained England during the 1913–14 unbeaten season, scoring four tries against France in 1914. Poulton was commissioned into 1st/4th Battalion Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire Regiment) in 1913. At the outbreak of the First World War Poulton volunteered for overseas service. His Battalion was sent to the Western Front in March 1915 On the morning of 5 May 1915, Poulton was involved in repairing a trench, in the vicinity of Ploegsteert Wood in Belgium, when he was shot by an enemy sniper. Captain Jack Conybeare, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, a school friend, wrote : "I was talking to one of the Berks' officers this morning. He told me that Ronald was far and away the most popular officer in the battalion, both among officers and men. Apparently he was standing on top of the parapet last night, directing a working party, when he was hit. Of course, by day, anyone who shows his head above the parapet is courting disaster; in fact if one is caught doing so one is threatened with court-martial. At night, on the other hand, we perpetually have working parties of one kind or another out, either wiring, repairing the parapet, or doing something which involves coming from under cover, and one simply takes the risk of stray bullets." His grave is in Hyde Park Corner Cemetery, near Ploegsteert, Belgium. Twenty seven England international rugby players were killed in World War I of a total international toll of one hundred and thirty. One of the most notable was Poulton who was considered by many contemporary observers as perhaps the greatest-ever attacking rugby union threequarter. Poulton was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame on 20 September 2015. Very good a little rubbed and bumped, lower cover slightly stained.