The Cup – a trophy of success

Right from the start the Leeds Pals had a well deserved reputation for sporting prowess. This was partly because they attracted into their ranks a large number of actual sportsmen, professional and otherwise, but also because the type of man they attracted was more likely to be of an athletic nature than the general run of recruits. The result was that they had the habit of sweeping the board whenever they entered Divisional or Brigade events.

To commemorate this achievement several silver cups, now in the possession of the Leeds City Museum, were presented by Stuart C Taylor, originally Lieutenant Colonel commanding the battalion, but ultimately Brigadier General commanding 93rd Brigade. Each cup has inscribed on it the details of the event or events for which it was presented. There is one for the Tug of War Team, one for the Cross Country Team, and the largest for No.4 Platoon, A Company, who won the Inter Platoon Competition successively at Brigade, Divisional and Corps level over the course of two weeks, competing among roughly 500 platoons.

Also inscribed are the details of the presentations and the names of all the members of the various teams, amongst whom were several who had joined up in the early days of the war. In No.4 Platoon were James Cummings and Fred Bridgement, original members of the 2nd Leeds (Bantams), now amalgamated with the 1st Leeds (Pals), and William Butler, one of the Battalion’s few VCs. The Cross Country Team included Norman Firth, Harold Hartley and Percy Nettleton, all volunteers from 1914, while the Tug of War Team included David Hirst, also from those days.

All these events took place between the middle of January and the middle of April 1918. It is sobering to remember that by the end of April 1918 the Battalion had once again been reduced to just a fraction of its size by the last German attack, the Kaiserschlacht, with the majority of its members now either killed, wounded or taken prisoner.  Although James Cummings was killed in action, on 13th April 1918, it is re-assuring to report that all the others named above were discharged at the end of the war. (Milner p.199-207)

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
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