Belfast Telegraph

School rugby team's moving tribute to their WWI forebears

The Campbell College 1st XV rugby team pays tribute to former pupils from the 1913-14 team
The Campbell College 1st XV rugby team pays tribute to former pupils from the 1913-14 team

By Staff Reporter

Campbell College pupils have paid a poignant tribute to their rugby-playing counterparts from 100 years ago, half of whom were killed in action in the First World War.

An archive photo of the 1913-14 First XV shows that half of the teenage team and one of their coaches were also in portraits of the war dead which have graced the walls of the College's Central Hall for almost 100 years.

Ahead of their Danske Bank Schools Cup semi-final next week, the fifth and sixth form boys from this year's First XV have recreated the century-old team picture in the same spot at the school's front doors.

Campbell headmaster Robert Robinson said: "We thought this was a poignant way to bring these photos to life and show their modern-day relevance.

"Today our boys are focussing on one of the biggest sporting challenges of their lives, with the highly coveted place in the Schools Cup Final at stake.

"To realise that within months of the 1914 photo being taken, the boys from that team would go on to witness the horrors of WWI and half of them would lose their lives is a very sobering thought.

"We felt this was a fitting tribute to these teenage war heroes and their teacher."

The activity is part of a historical project called The Men Behind the Glass.

It will culminate in the unveiling of a collaborative archive exhibition on Remembrance Weekend in November 2018 - an exhibition which will then tour various venues throughout east Belfast and beyond.

The Men Behind the Glass will include schools outreach and curriculum activity, creative exchange events with Germany, community engagement and arts events.

Belfast Telegraph


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