THE GREAT WAR WANDERERS 1914-1918
(Sunday 11th November 2018 - researched by Paul Lewis - also see credits at foot of page)
This page serves as a commemoration for those connected with Wycombe Wanderers Football Club who lost their lives in the Great War fought between 28th July 1914 and 11th November 1918 and published in November 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the ending of hostilities.


With the Loakes Park ground being used for war related activities, Wycombe Wanderers played no football during the four-year conflict. Many Wanderers players, officials and supporters were involved in the war effort, with close to 600 servicemen from High Wycombe losing their lives.

Wanderers returned to playing competitive football for the 1919/20 season, fielding teams in the Spartan League and the Great Western Surburban League. At the end of the season, on 1st May 1920, as newly crowned Champions of the Spartan League, Wanderers played a ‘Rest of the League XI’ at Loakes Park – losing 5-4 before a ‘big crowd’ that drew a gate of £65.

Immediately after the match, many of the spectators remained to witness the unveiling of a War Memorial Tablet to commemorate those connected with Wycombe Wanderers who had lost their lives in the Great War.

The Bucks Free Press describe the memorial thus: “Emblazoned in letters of gold (neatly executed by Messrs. Halson Bros. of Crown Lane), on a massive oak shield, surmounted by a cherub.”

The memorial was unveiled by the The Mayor (Councillor H Stratford), with support from relatives and friends of the departed.

The following names were included on the memorial:

Vice-Presidents
Viscount Wendover,
Dr R.A.Hobbs and F.Elliott;
Members
R.North, R.Harrall, B.R.P.Wood, G.A.Priest, H.Dunn and J.Baker
Players
C.Buchanan, G.Buchanan, E.Carter, G.Fowler, F.Langley, J.Love, J.McDermott, E.Reynolds, A.Saunders and H.Stallwood
“They fought a good fight”

In a speech during the unveiling, the Mayor said; “When ever Wycombe Wanderers assembled to witness the many football matches, [let us hope] that as they looked upon the tablet and read the names, they would be an inspiration at all times to ‘Play the Game’.“

The Mayor then pulled aside the Union Jack to reveal the tablet, which was later placed in the pavilion at Loakes Park. Two buglers then played ‘The Last Post’, with many of the watching crowd reduced to tears.


Below are details of the ten known former Wycombe Wanderers players who lost their lives in action during the Great War (1914-1918). Links at the end of each entry will take you to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for further details of each name and the location of the grave or memorial. Other links are included where available. Please get in touch in you can add further information or photographs.

Charlie Buchanan


1st/4th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry - Service No: 202285 - Private

Killed in service: 27 July 1918 – age 40

248 First Team appearances for Wycombe Wanderers - 1895 to 1908
One of four brothers who all played for Wycombe Wanderers.
Gained his County badge in 1899/90.

From the Bucks Free Press (9 August 1918): “Charlie filled almost every position on the field, but it was at full-back and half-back that he made his reputation. He was a fearless tackler, and opponents were often left wondering when he repeatedly succeeded in pulling his side through. He put his whole heart and soul into the game, and whenever Charlie was included in the Wanderers’ team, local followers of the light and dark blue combination were more than satisfied. He was a sportsman in the best sense of the word – one who by the brilliance of his work gained the respect of all who knew him. If ever the history of local football is chronicled, the names of the Brothers Buchanan must certainly occupy a prominent place in the pages.” His brother George had been killed in action in July 1916.

CWGC entry: Buried at: LES BARAQUES MILITARY CEMETERY, SANGATTE

George Buchanan


1st/1st Bucks Bn. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry – Service No: 2224 - Private

Killed in action: 22 July 1916- age 32

160 First Team appearances for Wycombe Wanderers - 1904 to 1911
One of four brothers who all played for Wycombe Wanderers.
Gained his County badge in 1907/8.

From the Bucks Free Press (11 August 1916): “George Buchanan, with Harry Gates and B.C.Hooper, formed one of the best half-back lines Wycombe Wanderers ever had. The late Private Buchanan was a most gentlemanly player; he was clever and reliable on the field, clean in his tactics and a sportsman through and through.” His brother Charlie was killed in action two years later in July 1918.

CWGC entry: Buried at: WARLOY-BAILLON COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION

Edward 'Pat' Carter


2nd Bn. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry – Service No: 18523 - Lance Corporal

Killed in action: 30 July 1916 – age 36

18 First Team appearances for Wycombe Wanderers - 1888 to 1902
Later played for the Wycombe Wanderers Reserve team that won honours in the 1903/04 season.

From the Bucks Free Press (11 August 2016): “[He] was prominently associated with Wycombe football for a number of years, playing for Wycombe Wanderers’ First and Second teams, Wycombe Trinity and Wycombe Alexandra. Although his play could not be termed classical, he was a hard worker, and one who possessed excellent judgement. He could be fairly described as an all-round sportsman, and his early death will create vacancies not easily filled.”

CWGC entry: Commemorated at: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

George 'Bunny' Fowler


2nd/4th Bn. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry -Service Number 11860 - Serjeant

Killed in action: 12 September 1918 – age 25

15 First Team appearances for Wycombe Wanderers - 1913
Also played for the Wycombe Wanderers Reserve team.

From the Bucks Free Press (11 October 1918): “In pre-war days he was prominent member of the Wycombe Wanderers Football Club. In 1913/14, ‘Bunny’, who had previously assisted the 1st XI on more than one occasion, was actively identified with the Reserves, and there is no doubt that it had not been for the European conflict, he would have found a permanent place in the senior ranks. He was a good all round sportsman and his passing away has left another vacancy in local circles.”

CWGC entry: Buried at: RUE-DU-BOIS MILITARY CEMETERY, FLEURBAIX
Buckinghamshire Remembers: http://buckinghamshireremembers.org.uk/casualties/m4250.html

Frank Langley


Gloucestershire Regiment 13th Battalion – 35710 – Private

Killed in action: 24 March 1918 – age 32

194 First Team appearances for Wycombe Wanderers - 1904 to 1910
Gained his County Cap in 1898/99. Brother in law of Edwin George Reynolds.

From the Bucks Free Press (29 March 1918): “Played for some years with the Wycombe Wanderers as outside right and in the hey-day of his fame there was no more popular player in the Wycombe team.”

CWGC entry: Buried at: ETAPLES MILITARY CEMETERY

Alexendar James 'Jock' Love


17th Bn. Highland Light Infantry - Service Number 15666 – Private

Killed in action: 1 July 1916 (Battle of the Somme) – Age 33

48 First Team appearances for Wycombe Wanderers - 1911 to 1914

Affectionately known as ‘Jock’ during hisa time with the Wanderers to his Scottish heritage. A member of the Wycombe Wanderers Reserve side between 1911 and 1913 but left High Wycombe to return to his native Scotland during the local strikes leading up to the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914.

CWGC entry: Commemerated at: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
High School of Glasgow: Book of Remembrance

James ‘Jim‘ McDermott


1st/1st Bucks Bn. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry - Service Number 265419 – Lance Corporal

Killed in action: 16 April 1917 – age 25

6 First Team appearances for Wycombe Wanderers - 1909 to 1914
A member of the Wycombe Wanderers Reserve side at the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914.

From the Bucks Free Press (4 May 1917): “For some years [he] was connected with Wycombe Wanderers F.C. and in addition to playing for the first eleven, he was the Captain of the Reserves. Both as a soldier and sportsman. he ‘played the game’ ” The news of his death was passed to his family (from Lindsay Avenue, High Wycombe) on the day he was expected home from two years at front.

CWGC entry: Commemorated at: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Edwin ‘Eddie‘ Reynolds


1st/1st Bucks Bn. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry -Service Number 265158 – Private

Killed in action: 16 August 1917 – age 35

127 First Team appearances for Wycombe Wanderers - 1900 to 1904
Also played for the Berks and Bucks County team.
Later played for the Wycombe Wanderers Reserve team - including 1911/12 trophy winning side.
Previously employed by Messrs. Wm. Birch Ltd of Denmark Street.

From the Bucks Free Press (31 August 1917): “‘Eddie’ will perhaps be best known by his acting as goal-keeper for Wycombe Wanderers F.C. for several seasons. He was a clever custodian and on many occasions he pulled the Loakes Park brigade through some of their sternest battles.”

CWGC entry: Commemorated at: TYNE COT MEMORIAL

Arthur Saunders


"C" Bty. 256th Bde. Royal Field Artillery - Service Number 911100 – Gunner

Killed in action: 23 July 1917 – age 34

2 First Team appearances for Wycombe Wanderers - 1904 to 1905
Also played for the Wycombe Wanderers Reserve side.
Previously employed by Messrs. Wm. Bartlett and Son of Sheraton Chairworks.

From the Bucks Free Press (4 May 1917): “A prominent footballer and associated himself particularly with Wycombe Wanderers’ Reserves in which team he figured in 1903/4 and 1905/06.”

CWGC entry: Buried at: POPERINGHE NEW MILITARY CEMETERY
Buckinghamshire Remembers: http://buckinghamshireremembers.org.uk/casualties/m4490.html

Harry Stallwood


"B" Coy. 2nd/1st Bn. Bucks Bn. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry - Service Number 266169 - Serjeant

Killed in action: 22 August 1917 – age 24

5 First Team appearances for Wycombe Wanderers - 1913
Played in the final First Team game before war was declared - a 1-0 defeat to Chesham General in the Bucks Charity Cup Final at Marlow.
Previously employed by Mr E.Gomme of Leigh Street and Mr John Gibson, chair manufacturer of Temple End.

From the Bucks Free Press (21 September 1917): “Known to the local sporting community as ‘Apples’ - He was a very capable cricketer and footballer….as a ‘footer’ – one of the best – he played for Wycombe All Saints and also Wycombe Wanderers 1st and 2nd XI’s. Whenever he donned the Club’s colours he threw his heart and soul into the game and was looked upon as one who never knew he was defeated.”

CWGC entry: Commemorated at: TYNE COT MEMORIAL

Footnote: The whereabouts of the tablet unvieled at Loakes in May 1920 still remained unknown at the time this article was published. A replacment plaque was donated by Wycombe Wanderers Trust following the highlighting of its lost by COTN in 2014 and this is available for viewing at the entrance of the 'Caladonian Suite' at Adams Park.

A plaque commemerating the vast majority of all those lost in the 2014-2018 war from the High Wycombe District is located at the entrance to High Wycombe General hospital.



Further reading and viewing

In October 2014, Wycombe Wanderers visited the Somme region of France to pay their respects and learn about the sacrifices made by footballers just like themselves who made the ultimate sacrifice when war broke out 100 years ago. The film below was produced by students at the Buckinghamshire New University.


Credits and thanks

Thanks to the following who have provided information, encouragement and inspiration for producing this commemerative page:

European War Graves Commission - An incredible resource
http://buckinghamshireremembers.org.uk - Wonderful local resource researched by volunteers
Phil and Martin Ball - relatives of the Buchanan family who tragically lost three brothers during the Great War.
Dave Finch - Co-author of the Official Wycombe Wanderers History - Dave kindly provided clarification of first names of players.
Steve Peart - Co-author of the Official Wycombe Wanderers History.
Mike Dewey - Bucks Free Press volunteer nostalgia author.
Jonny King - Editor of The Wanderer magazine (Wycombe Wanderers Independent Supporters Club) - Jonny wrote an article for the November 2018 issue that included more details of the some of the players featured in this article.
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