History Podcasts

Ronnie Poulton-Palmer

Ronnie Poulton-Palmer

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Ronald Poulton-Palmer was born in Headington on 12th September 1889. Educated at Oxford University he played rugby union for the Barbarians and Harlequins. He eventually became captain of England and in a match against France in 1914 he scored four tries.

He became chairman of the Huntley and Palmer biscuit business in Reading but on the outbreak of the First World War he immediately volunteered for the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He arrived on the Western Front in March, 1915.

Ronald Poulton-Palmer was killed at Ploegsteert Wood on 5th May, 1915. A fellow officer reported that when he went round the company at dawn "almost every man was crying". Poulton-Palmer was one of 26 England rugby international players killed in the war. A further 30 Scottish internationals also lost their lives during the conflict.

From The Vaults

Throughout the First World War rugby players from all nations and of all levels distinguished themselves by their bravery and conduct. In 1915 the British War Office produced a poster imploring other sports to following the 'glorious example' of rugby players by 'doing their duty' and enlisting with the armed forces. But that was just the start of the story. From the Battle of Mons onwards these men were involved in every engagement on land, sea and the in the air. The distinctions came immediately with Irish-born England international

being awarded the French Legion d'Honneur after he personally facilitated the retreat at Mons. Days later Frenchman

became the first international rugby player to lose his life to the conflict, falling at the Battle of the Marne in helping to ensure that Paris and France would not be overrun. Before the year was out four further French players were lost, along with four Scottish internationals and three English. As trench warfare took hold in 1915 the snipers took their toll. England captain

, the outstanding talent of his generation, was shot and killed in May. A month earlier he had shared a rugby field with Irish international

who himself was killed before May was out. [caption id="attachment_5478" align="alignright"] Ronnie Poulton-Palmer[/caption] On the other side of Europe the Gallipoli Campaign waged for almost a year. Australian internationals

were killed on the first day of the landings at what is now known as Anzac Cove. Three months later New Zealand internationals

and Henry Dewar were killed on the outskirts of Suvla Bay. In the spring of 1916 it was the turn of the naval enlists. The

was the largest naval engagement in human history. Scores of rugby players were involved. England international Sydney Coopper's ship was sunk but he survived. Scotland's Cecil Abercrombie remained at his post, firing his gun aboard HMS Defence to the last even as his ship slipped beneath the waves. He and fellow Scot, John Wilson, among those who did not return. Then came the horrors of the Somme. Toby Moll and the South African Brigade made their stand at Delville Wood, just as the 38 th Welsh Division, which included Welsh internationals

, did at Mametz Wood. None returned. [caption id="attachment_5477" align="alignleft"] Edgar Mobbs[/caption]

, initially refused enlistment on account of his age, had returned to the recruitment office in 1914 with a self-raised battalion of 264 men. He subsequently fought at Loos, Arras and the Somme. He was twice mentioned in despatches and awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1917. He was wounded three times but made a habit of remaining at his post. He was shot through the neck and killed on the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres, more commonly known as Passchendaele. In the final year of the war, in the midst of the German Spring Offensive, England's

volunteered for a mission from which he understood he may not return. The Zeebrugge Raid was an audacious attempt to scuttle three ships in the mouth of the Bruges Canal to prevent the launch of German U-Boats that were wreaking havoc on British shipping. Harrison's role was to create a diversion. Under the cover of smoke he was to land a small platoon on the Mole pier before launching a frontal assault on an enemy emplacement that included twelve seaward guns, two anti-aircraft guns, a machine gun nest and 1000 troops. As it transpired the smoke lifted and Harrison was shot through the jaw before his ship had even made contact with the pier. Quickly regaining consciousness and in spite of the severity of his wounds he led his men on their fatal charge. He was posthumously awarded a Victoria Cross for bravery. Since 2014 the World Rugby Museum has marked the centenary of the passing of each and every one of the 131 international rugby players who lost their lives to this conflict. In the aftermath of war, memorials were created to pay tribute to all those who served and died. Former England international Bob Oakes remembered his fallen team mates and rivals by writing his book 'In Memoriam'. In it he wrote, '…the most exacting, trying and awful conditions man has ever been called upon to face and endure. We now know how splendidly the Rugby Footballer, in common with every British soldier, fought - aye, and how magnificently he died'. One hundred years on, we still know. The World Rugby Museum is extremely grateful to the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth for allowing Arthur Harrison's Victoria Cross to be displayed in our Wartime Gallery. Symbolic of rugby's contribution to the Great War it will be on display throughout the period of commemoration in which we mark 100 years since the conflict's end. About the Author -Phil McGowan is Curator at the World Rugby Museum. This article is sourced from his book 'Doing Their Duty: How England's Rugby Players Helped Win the First World War'.

From The Vaults

Ronald William Poulton (later unofficially known as Poulton Palmer) was, by general acclaim, the most celebrated rugby player of his day. He was born in Headington, Oxford, one of five children of pro-Darwinian Professor, Sir Edward Bagnall Poulton and his wife Emily.

Poulton is often described as having had a 'swerving running style', when in his own words, he ran straight and trusted his swinging arms and hips to ensure that opponents would swerve out of his way. Either way he made waves as a young rugby player and entertained all who saw him play. He was first selected for England in 1909 at the age of 19. Later that year he scored a record five tries in the Varsity Match for Oxford University, before featuring for Harlequins in the first game to be played at Twickenham. A protege of Adrian Stoop he then helped his club captain secure England's first outright championship victory for eighteen years. By 1913 he had developed into one of the most dangerous outside centres in world rugby and was a stand out performer in a campaign that delivered England her first Grand Slam. 1914 however was to be Poulton's season. Now captain, he put in three straight man-of-the-match performances to deliver England a Triple Crown. In his final game he contributed four of England's nine tries against France to secure a second consecutive Grand Slam. An Oxford Blue and a Harlequin, Poulton was traditional in one sense but a modernist in others. He argued in favour of broken time payments for rugby players and decried the conditions of the working poor, volunteering much of his free time to lads clubs in Manchester and Reading.

Later that year Poulton enlisted with the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He did not hesitate to enlist but privately regretted that civilized nations had embraced the folly of war. In his letters home he expressed his dissatisfaction that peaceful solutions had been neither tested nor embraced, writing, in November 1914, that 'international socialism could stop the war, and that alone'. He was shot and killed by sniper-fire in a trench south of Ypres at the age of 25 on 05/05/1915. Amongst his last words were a lament that he 'would never play at Twickenham again'.

Please like the World Rugby Museum on facebook and follow us on twitter to receive further tributes to the international rugby players who fell in the Great War.

A History of Rugby Football

In 1820 the game of Rugby was played rather like soccer, but players were allowed to catch the ball and kick it out of their hands. There were no limits to the number of players on each side, for example, School House v Rest of the School. In 1839, when Queen Adelaide visited the School, School House (75) played &lsquothe rest&rsquo (225). To score a try would not gain points but would allow a team to &lsquotry&rsquo to take a &lsquodrop at goal&rsquo to score a point. With so many on each side this was hard to do and sometimes games would last up to five days. The Close itself was merely three rough fields, and it was not until the late 1850s that the ground was levelled. Sheep still grazed here until the early 1900s. No written rules at this time!

In 1823, William Webb Ellis, a local boy in Town House, first ran with the ball, but this rule was not adopted straight away. By 1830, running with the ball was an accepted play, although the first written rules did not appear until 1845. These rules were written by the boys. Ellis was born just outside Manchester, but moved down to Rugby. He went on to Brasenose College Oxford where he took Holy Orders. He died in France in 1872 where his grave is cared for by the French RFU.

An original Rugby ball was round and changed shape over a period of time to the oval it is today. They varied in sizes depending on the pig&rsquos bladder they were made from. Gilberts, a local boot maker, took up ball making to supply the School. Others, notably London, supplied the boys and it was this maker that invented the inflatable inner and the pump.

Many of the words associated with today&rsquos game originated here. For example, &lsquotry&rsquo was from the days when a touch-down did not score points, but allowed an attempt to kick at goal. &lsquoOffside&rsquo, &lsquoknock on&rsquo, &lsquotouch&rsquo and &lsquogoal line&rsquo are all from the original School football rules.

Rugby School was the only team to play in white because the committee of the RFU in 1871 was composed largely of ORs, which is why England played in white. School House was the first team to play in a uniform kit (long flannels, shirts and caps), because it was the only House to play as a single group until 1850. Before this, the boys played in their ordinary school clothes in teams made up from various Houses. In 1867 the first &lsquoforeign&rsquo match was played against ORs and the town. The teams were now down to 20 players, and then 15 by 1876. Internal teams stayed at 20 until 1888. The first inter-School match was against Cheltenham in 1896 and half the players in the first England international team were ORs. The RFU was formed (largely of ORs) in 1871 and the first national code was introduced. The boys at Rugby kept their own rules, and even modified them, until the late 1880s. There were no referees in the early days &ndash boys would wear sharpened boots with nails in them for extra hacking. Boys considered good enough to play for the main teams were given &lsquofollowing up&rsquo caps, which later developed into the international cap awarded to the country&rsquos top players.

The Calcutta (Rugby) Football Club was established by former students of Rugby School in January 1873. However, with the departure of a local British army regiment (and perhaps more crucially the cancellation of the free bar at the club!), interest in rugby diminished in the area and sports such as tennis and polo began to thrive as they were better suited to the Indian climate.

Whilst the Calcutta (Rugby) Football Club was disbanded in 1878, members decided to keep the memory of the club alive by having the remaining 270 silver rupees in their bank account melted down to be made into a trophy. The trophy was then presented to the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to use as &ldquothe best means of doing some lasting good for the cause of Rugby Football.&rdquo

The Calcutta Cup continues today as the trophy that is presented to the winner of the England versus Scotland rugby union match which takes place during the annual Six Nations Championship.


1845 First codified &lsquorules&rsquo of the game drawn up by the levee [School Prefects]: No. 5 &lsquoTry at goal&rsquo - a touchdown doesn&rsquot count unless it is converted so it&rsquos a try or attempt at goal. No. 18 &lsquoA player having touched the ball straight for a tree, and touched the tree with it, may drop from either side if he can, but the opposite side may oblige him to go to his own side of the tree.&rsquo No. 20 &lsquoAll matches are drawn after five days, but after three if no goal has been kicked.&rsquo No. 25 &lsquoNo stranger, in any match, may have a place kick at goal.&rsquo No. 33 &lsquoThe Island is all in goal.

The first five Rugby Football Union Presidents were Old Rugbeians, as well as the first England captain. An OR introduced the game to Cambridge University. When first played some passers-by ran onto the pitch thinking they were breaking up a brawl!

The origin of half time originated at the School. After some 40 minutes the School captain stopped the game and announced it was hardly fair as his team was playing with a strong following wind. He offered the opposition the chance of playing the rest of the match with the breeze. They changed ends and half time was born. Forty minutes each way was first mentioned in the 1926 rules.

The International cap originates from Rugby, as well as the distinctive posts that go up well above the cross bar. It became near impossible to kick the ball between the posts due to the number of young men who were too young to follow-up and who packed the goal mouth. Hence the kickers began to kick over the crossbar.

England&rsquos original white shirt and shorts with black socks is from Rugby and Oxbridge&rsquos &lsquoblue&rsquo is directly from the School&rsquos XV.

The terminology in the original rules can still be found in the laws today: knock-on, onside/offside, fair catch, try, goal, place kick, 25 yard [22 m.] line, touch judge, charge, scrummage and in-goal.

More Fascinating Facts&hellip

In early days there were three elm trees in the pitch.

The first inter-School match was against Cheltenham College in 1896.

Ten of the England XX who played Scotland in the world&rsquos first international were ORs.

In the 1872 Oxford v. Cambridge match there were 24 ORs on the pitch (20-a-side then).

By 1884 the School had produced English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish Internationals.

The first South African captain (1891) was an old boy.

In 1923 England/Wales played Scotland/ Ireland in an International to celebrate the centenary of William Webb Ellis&rsquos exploit on the Close.

Rugby School has supplied two Lions, 63 Internationals (four England captains, two Scottish and the lone Springbok).

Three Rugby International O.R.s were killed in the Great War including the incomparable Ronnie Poulton Palmer.

The School had won the Rosslyn Park 7s tournament in 1943 beating Bedford 11-3 in the final, and in 1945 beating Oundle 13-0 in the final.

In 1947 the School defeated Stoneyhurst 3-0.

The Rules included: &lsquoIn the case of accidents, no player may be replaced during the course of the game.&rsquo &lsquoNo prizes or medals will be given.&rsquo

In 1968 the School was due to play Campbell College, Belfast. The pitch had been affected by a sharp frost and there was some concern. The situation was alleviated by the arrival of referee Gwyn Walters, who dug his heel in and pronounced it perfectly playable, but was then heard to mutter: &ldquothey&rsquore young enough to bounce.&rdquo

In 1973 the School played the Australian Schools in their first tour match.

The School owns the earliest pen-and-ink drawing, water colour and oil painting of a game of Rugby Football.

Great Britain [ edit | edit source ]

British Isles team [ edit | edit source ]

Pre-World War I, it was not uncommon for members of the British Isles team (later known as the British and Irish Lions) to be uncapped for their nation of origin. This never happens now.

    (English), died on 17 September 1918, Aged 43. (English), died on 18 October 1914, Aged 39 MC (Welsh), died 27 March 1918, Aged 27

Most British Isles players had been capped for their country, and can be found listed more fully under their respective countries. Capped players include the following.

Olympians [ edit | edit source ]

At least one competitor for the Great Britain Olympic team which competed at rugby union at the 1908 Summer Olympics, and gained silver died –

Scotland and Ireland did not put teams up for either the 1900 or 1908 Olympic rugby events, and most of the players were from England, and in particular Cornwall.

1919 &ndash 1939: Between the Wars

1st Battalion- Machine Gun Section marching over Shinki Bridge, India, on the 7th March 1924

After the First World War the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion was disembodied in 1919, with personnel transferred to the 2nd Battalion. The two regular battalions reverted to "peacetime soldiering" with postings in familiar locations such as India, Ireland and Egypt. However, this was a far from peaceful time. The 2nd battalion went to Dublin were it was in action against the IRA, at the same time sending a reinforced company to Russia. Between 1920 and 1921 the 1st Battalion was again on active service in Mesopotamia and Persia followed by a short rest in India. A further redeployment to Waziristan on the frontier came in 1924 after a local uprising.

In 1920 the Regiment's name changed to The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales&rsquos).


Is he by any chance the Pongo or Podge (if I remember those correctly) mentioned in Betjeman's Summoned By Bells as the nickname of a favourite ex-pupil killed in the War? --Oxonian2006 19:53, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Oxonian2006 Better late than never! 'Pongo' or 'Podge' were imaginary. The poem refers to boys - Old Dragonians (as was Betjeman) - who'd been killed in the War, but not a specific boy. That it doesn't refer to Poulton is clear from the line: He might have played for England. . The whole poem is quoted here FunkyCanute (talk) 21:19, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

Reviewer: MPJ-DK (talk · contribs) 19:33, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

  • @FunkyCanute: - I am about to start the review. Scanning the article there is a "Citation Needed" tag in there, perhaps that can be addressed while I work on the review over the next couple of days? MPJ-DK 19:33, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

GA Toolbox Edit

I like to first cover these, get them out of the way and I have seen them hit on issues.

Van Zant knew he wouldn't live to see 30

Long before the disastrous final flight, Van Zant was telling anyone who would listen that he wouldn’t live beyond the age of 30. Pyle said that during one tour of Japan that Van Zant said that he had a feeling he’d die while he was still in the band:

Van Zant’s band members weren’t the only people who were privy to the singer’s premonitions. His father noted that the frontman had a “second sight” and that he often shared his gloomy future with anyone who would listen. Van Zant’s father said:

We Will Remember Him. Centenary of Ronnie Poulton Palmer's Death . May 5th 1915

1) Remembering Ronnie at Holywell Cemetery Oxford. May 5th 201
including Peter's introductory words and Oxford Times report.

2) Remembering Ronnie at his Grave Ploegsteert Flanders. May 5th 2015
including Robin Edward's report from 'Plugstreet'

3) Remembering Pandora Crawley's Great Great Uncle Ronnie at Hyde Park Cemetery. May 15th 2015

4) Remembering Ronnie at St Helen's Church Isle of Wight .May 3rd 2015

5) Remembering Ronnie at Horestone Point. April 19th 2015
including William's Video from the Sundial, Horestone Point Garden.

1) Remembering Ronnie at Holywell Cemetery Oxford. May 5th 2015

Peter Jay (Ronnie's Great Nephew) introduces Ronnie's Remembrance 'We will Remember Him' at Holywell Cemetery(The Poulton Family Grave yard), where the Cross, that originally stood on Ronnie's grave in Flanders, now stands.

Watch the video: Ronnie Dee Dawson - Action Packed (July 2022).


  1. Idomeneus


  2. Tahu

    Excellent message congratulate)))))

  3. Yosef

    What a nice idea

  4. Maelisa

    the magnificent idea

  5. Mikara


  6. Fetilar

    Completely I share your opinion. In it something is also I think, what is it excellent idea.

Write a message