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The Outbreak Of The Great War 

Despite Britain entering the Great War on 4th August 1914 the local rugby community, like many others, seemed to believe that ‘it would all be over by Christmas.’ Over three weeks after the outbreak of hostilities, on 29th August, the Midland Daily Telegraph, was looking forward to the prospects for the coming season. The newspaper did, however, add a rider that if the situation continued ‘for anything like a spell’ there would be ‘a most serious effect upon football as a whole.’

 

The seriousness of the situation soon became apparent and on 4th September the Rugby Football Union (R.F.U.) issued the following statement: -

 

‘Having regard to Lord Kitchener’s last urgent appeal for recruits, the Rugby Football Union desire to cancel all International fixtures and to cancel the county championship matches for the current season.’

 

The union also urged its member clubs to cancel fixtures for the current season and because the majority of players were physically fit and between the ages of 19 and 35 they were encouraged to enlist in the armed forces. The statement went on to mention that every member of the previous season’s England XV was already attached to a military or naval unit of some kind. The R.F.U. also stated that it was going to approach the War Office to investigate the feasibility of forming a corps of footballers to serve together.

 

At the time at which the above statement was issued both the Durham county side and the Swansea club had already cancelled all fixtures for the duration of the war.

 

Moseley were not slow to follow suit and on 7th September the press reported that the club had decided to play no fixtures during the 1914/15 season and that The Reddings was to be offered for use by the military. By this stage 20 Moseley players had volunteered for active service. This offer was accepted and Moseley Football Club effectively closed down for the duration of the war and re-opened in September 1919.