Lord's in the First World War

Captain Francis Grenfell V.C.
Sir John Smyth V.C.

1914 – 1918

1914 had seen the centenary of Lord’s and had been celebrated with a match between an MCC South African team and the Rest, in the presence of King George V .  At  the beginning of the war in August 1914  the Committee did not appreciate the difference that war would make, but soon  the ground was being used for military purposes, with accommodation provided for certain units, as well as classes given on wireless instruction, foreign languages and military cooking.  Geese were kept  on the outfield during the war to help maintain the grass. Lord’s staff and some members helped by making hay nets for horses.  A house –  No 2 Grove End Road –  behind the Ground was let as HQ to the Royal Volunteer Battalion.

In the second half of the war Lord’s was used for matches to help raise money for casualties, and in 1917 there was even a baseball match between Canada and the United States to help the widows and orphans of Canadians who had died in the war which 10,000 people attended.  In 1918 two cricket matches were  played between an England XI and a Dominions X!, the second of which was attended by the King.

On 7 March 1918 bombs  from the giant four engined R.27 Zeppelin landed on Maida Vale and St John’s Wood.  New Street (now Newcourt Street) was hit by a bomb which demolished two houses, killing two families, and another bomb exploded outside Lord’s cricket ground, killing a soldier of the Royal Horse Artillery and a Lt Colonel on leave from Palestine, as well as causing considerable damage to adjacent buildings.

The Roll of Honour

The Roll of Honour which was commissioned in 1920 remains in the Pavilion today. It originally included 330 names but was revised in 2004  when it was discovered 20 names had been missed out and 33 included incorrectly. There were two recipients of the Victoria Cross – Captain Francis Grenfell (who was killed) and John Smyth   (who survived).  Smyth had won the medal serving with the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs on the Western Front  and Grenfell was killed at Hooge in Belgium, where he was serving  as a Captain in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.  Three Test cricketers   are listed – Kenneth  Hutchings, who had toured Australia in 1907-8,  Leonard Moon,  who played in 4 Test matches against South Africa in 1906, and Reggie Schwarz , who played for South Africa after emigrating there – plus another 69 members who had played first class cricket.



This page was added on 20/10/2019.

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