BLUES MAKE REMEMBRANCE JOURNEY

Bedford Blues players and coaches will be making a very special trip this week as they head to northern France and Belgium to pay their respects to those who sacrificed their lives to secure and protect our freedom and remember former Bedford players who died during World War One.
 
The team will cross the channel to visit Dunkirk where over 300,000 allied soldiers were evacuated from the beaches and harbour during World War Two.

The operation - codenamed Dynamo - was the largest military evacuation of its kind and took place between 26th May and 4th June 1940. The Blues squad will spend time learning more about the events surrounding the evacuation as well as visiting the beaches.
 
Following the visit to Dunkirk, the Blues will head off to Ypres in Belgium to visit the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing which is dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown.
 
The Blues squad will be involved in a presentation at the memorial where they will lay a wreath in memory of all who fell, as well remembering Lieutenant Colonel Edgar Mobbs and Captain Basil Maclear.

On Wednesday the team will then travel to the town of Ieper where they will visit Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the world and the resting place of more than 11,900 servicemen of the British Empire from the First World War. 
 
Speaking about the trip, Bedford Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer said: "We are extremely honoured to be making the trip to Dunkirk and Ypres and delighted to be involved with the Remembrance Ceremony at the Menin Gate. While the names Edgar Mobbs and Basil Maclear will be familiar ones, there were many rugby players who lost their lives during the conflicts and this is a chance for us, as a squad and a club, to reflect and remember the ultimate sacrifice that these individuals made."
 
Former Bedford Modern School boy Edgar Mobbs led the East Midlands, the Midlands, the South of England and the Barbarians, as well as his club - Northampton Saints - for five seasons, something which was not matched until the mid-1990s. His illustrious career included seven England caps, but he is as much remembered for what he did on the field of battle as for his rugby exploits.
 
Having been refused a commission upon the outbreak of World War I on grounds of age, Mobbs formed his own special corps known as the Sportsman’s Battalion which made up a large part of the 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment.
 
Mobbs went down in folklore with the story that as he lay dying while trying to storm a German machine gun nest at the Battle of Passchendale, Mobbs passed the map reference of the enemy to his runner to give to the Battalion Brigadier.
 
Maclear was a multi-talented sportsman who represented Sandhurst at rugby, cricket, athletics and shooting, winning the Sword of Honour in 1900. He played a record four times against the 1905 All Blacks – for Blackheath, Bedford, Munster, whom he captained, and for Ireland, the fourth test of his brief 11-cap career. In 1906 he scored an 80-metre try against South Africa, regarded as one of the greatest efforts in the history of Irish rugby in a match Ireland lost 15-12.
 
He was acknowledged by many as one of the early greats of the game with one newspaper describing him as a 'lion of the game' while another suggested he was 'one of the greatest three-quarter backs who ever played rugby for Ireland or for any other national XV'.
 
Maclear was a professional soldier with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who died on a battlefield in the second battle of Ypres in 1915 at the height of World War One. He was posthumously inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2015.

Next Home Match

Friday 24th November
1st XV Championship
Goldington Road
Kick-Off
7.45pm

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