Leeds Rhinos have unveiled a new look limited edition shirt that will be worn against Wigan on 15th July, in an effort to commemorate those players who served and died during the First World War.
The shirt has been launched to mark 100 years since the Battle of the Somme, and will help to raise funds for The Royal British Legion.
On 1st July 1916, the Battle of the Somme began with the Leeds Pals, the 15th (Service) Battalion (1st Leeds) The Prince of Wales‘ Own (West Yorkshire Regiment), heavily involved. This group of friends and colleagues left their home city for the front line to do their service for King and Country but were devastated on the opening day of the battle.
The first day’s slaughter claimed around 20,000 English and French lives, and almost 40,000 overall and this included Leeds Rugby League player Sergeant David Harkness Blakey. Pte A V Pearson talking about his own Leeds Pals, said of the day, “We were two years in the making and ten minutes in the destroying.”
The Leeds Rhinos Foundation Heritage Committee have researched and collated a full list of Leeds players, both first and second team, who mae the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War as part of the project. All the name are included on the inside of the shirt on the neckline.
The shirt will be worn on Friday 15th July when Leeds Rhinos take on Wigan Warriors at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, with the Super League champions to be considered the underdogs in the betting market, on betting sites that offer Double Bubble slots.
and for each limited edition shirt that is sold, The Royal British Legion will receive a donation.
The replica shirt will go on sale at 9am and Friday 10th June in the club shop but is online now at www.therhinos.co.uk/store.
In total, 51 Leeds Rugby League players enlisted in the First World War, 16 died of whom nine were first teamers with heritage numbers. They were:
Samuel William Jarman (225)
Jimmy Sanders (231)
Leonard Leckenby (267)
Sidney Clifford Abbott (269)
Joseph Henry Hopkins (286)
Arthur Llewellyn (287)
Belfred Ward (289)
David Harkness Blakey (290)
John Robert Pickles (295)