LOOKING BACK: Top Eastbourne cricketer killed in Great War

Captain George Lumley Whatford
Captain George Lumley Whatford

A top class cricketer who hailed from Eastbourne and died in the First World War is featured in a new book on cricketing legends.

Captain George Lumley Whatford was born in Eastbourne in 1878 and made two first class appearances for Sussex in 1904.

Second Lieutenant Arthur Horace Lang

Second Lieutenant Arthur Horace Lang

He went to Mesopotamia in the winter of 1914 and was killed in action in November 1915 at the Battle of Ctesiphon.

A brother officer wrote to his family, “Your son died a soldier’s death in its truest sense, leading his company under a heavy fire. The regiment will not be the same without him. We shall miss him sadly.”

Captain Whatford features in a new book Final Wicket by author Nigel McCrery.

He said, “While cricket remains hugely popular with all age groups today, at the beginning of the 20th Century, it was the national game.

“I have researched the lives, sporting careers and deaths of 275 top class cricketers who made the ultimate sacrifice between August 1914 and the end of 1918. This includes men who all played first class matches for Sussex, among which are Captain George Lumley Whatford and Second Lieutenant Arthur Horace Lang.

“Second Lieutenant Lang made more than 20 first class appearances for both Sussex and Cambridge University before the war broke out. While serving with the 1st Bn Scots Guards he was killed at Cuinchy in 1915. Cuinchy was described as being littered with corpses and infested with rats and was a place where many men lost their lives.

“Lang’s former school friend described his feelings for Lang, ‘None could know him well without a deep affection for the loyalty of his nature, the quiet sense of humour, and above all for his simple unquestioning obedience to duty whenever duty called’.”

The book’s publishers say, “Recalling the incredible sacrifice of 100 years ago, this evocative book, which follows on from the best-selling Into Touch - Rugby Internationals Killed in The Great War, is a must-read for any sporting or military history enthusiast.”

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