Leeds Rhinos have unveiled a new look limited edition shirt that will commemorate the players who served and died during the First World War, marking 100 years since the Battle of the Somme and also helping raise funds for The Royal British Legion.
On 1st July 1916, the Battle of the Somme began and the first day’s slaughter claimed around 20,000 English and French lives, including Leeds Rugby League player Sergeant David Harkness Blakey. Pte A V Pearson, talking about his own Leeds Pals, said of the day: “We were two years in the making and ten minutes in the destroying.”
The Leeds Rhinos Foundation Heritage Committee have researched and collated a full list of Leeds players, both first team and second team, who made the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War as part of the project. All the names are included on the inside of the shirt on the neckline.
On Friday 15th July the shirt will be worn when Leeds take on Wigan at Headingley, with the Rhinos donating a percentage of each sale to the Royal British Legion.
In total, 16 Leeds Rugby League players died during service in the First World War – nine of whom were first teamers with heritage numbers. They were:
Samuel William Jarman (225)
Jimmy Sanders (231)
Leonard Leckenby (267)
Sidney Clifford Abbott (269)
Joseph Henry Hopkins (286)
Arthur Llewellyn (287)
Belfred Ward (289)
David Harkness Blakey (290)
John Robert Pickles (295)