World Rugby Memorial Unveiled At A Weekend of Rugby in Laon, France

WW1 Rugby Memorial

On Saturday 16th September, 2017 the small village of Craonnelle, in the Aisne Department of France unveiled a permanent memorial to rugby players who had lost their lives in WWI.  The project had been the idea of John Dennison and Franck Viltart and the sculpture was made by former legendary France rugby captain and flanker, Jean-Pierre Rives. The location for the memorial is very appropriate as Craonnelle is in the heart of the former Chemin des Dames Battlefields that witnessed such bloody fighting and tragic loss of life.

Alongside the memorial has been produced a Book of Remembrance.  This on going project is designed to capture the names of as many rugby players as possible who lost their lives in World War One.  It is further hoped that each year an annual Youth Festival of Rugby will be held at the site to celebrate rugby today but also to reflect on events of the past.

Col Adam Griffiths OBE, the Director of Rugby for the British Army Rugby Union Senior XV, led a large contingent from the Army Rugby Union to the events at Laon.  12th Regiment Royal Artillery played a match against the French Police whilst the Army Senior XV played against the French Pacific Combined Forces.

The images on this page were captured by Lee Crabb, of Scrumpix Images, who attended the event on behalf of Alligin Photography and recorded the ceremony where Rives' statue was unveiled.  Lee's action images from the event can all be found on the Army Rugby Union's Media Portal along with a number of video highlight packages from the matches produced by JPF Sports Media.

WW1 Rugby Memorial Sculture by Jean-Pierre Rives

2 Responses

  1. John Dennison
    | Reply

    Thank you for this article of support, keep spreading the word !

    We are still researching names for the WW1 Rugby Players “Book of Remembrance”

    In 2018 we are hosting the “Armistice Rugby Festival” in Compiegne. November 8th to 11th

    Please come and join us.

    Event open to Schools U16 & U18 Rugby Teams playing 7’s in a special festival.

    On November 11th 2018 a special Service of Remembrance in Compiegne dedicated to the game of rugby

  2. Chris Almond (Firwood Waterloo RFC) Coach
    | Reply

    We had a great trip & were very proud to represent Lancashire.It was very poignant at times & I really hope the boys realised just how lucky they are! Personally for myself it was a time for reflection….my grandfather served, fought & (survived!!) as a machine gunner for The British Army all through the ‘Great War’ & He was German!!!

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