1916 was dominated by the battle of the Somme which marked the point in WW1 when British and Commonwealth troops started to shoulder a major part of the fighting on the Western Front. The Somme also saw the deaths of five men who had played for three football clubs called Everton.
The first day, 1st July 1916 was a disaster, with nearly 20,000 killed and 40,000 wounded. Among them was 2nd Lt. Malcolm Fraser of the Cameronians who was killed in the afternoon leading a patrol into no man’s land near Ovillers. His commanding officer wrote that his sacrifice meant a planned attack was called off probably saving hundreds of lives. Malcolm Fraser was born in New York State to a Scottish father and an American mother; he was a founder member of the Everton club in Valparaiso in Chile and was at university in Edinburgh when war broke out. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.
Frank Boundy, Malcolm’s fellow founder of CD Everton had returned from Chile to enlist in August 1914. He won the Military Cross just after the battle of Loos in 1915 and had taken part in the major success of the 1st July, helping the Liverpool and Manchester Pals capture the village of Montauban. On the 30th he died of wounds during the Liverpool Pals’ attack on Guillemont. He is buried in Guillemont Road Cemetery. Malcolm Fraser was 20 and Frank Boundy 21.
Leigh Roose was a Welsh international goalkeeper famous as much for his personal relationships as for his brilliantly eccentric goalkeeping; he has been described as the first celebrity footballer. Although he was an amateur his claims for ‘expenses’ led him to fall foul of the FA and some of his many clubs, as did his playboy lifestyle. In his one season at Goodison he helped Everton reach the FA Cup semi-final and come within a whisker of the title. In WW1 he was first a medical orderly, serving in France and at Gallipoli, then joined the Royal Fusiliers and won the Military Medal in his first taste of action on the Somme in August 1916.
Roose helped fight off a night time flamethrower attack by hurling grenades until his arm gave out. He was killed on 7th October 1916 at Gueudecourt on the Somme aged 38; he has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.
There was a third Everton, an amateur club in Auckland, New Zealand. Fourty one of its players joined up and the first to fall was Alfred Corlett, who was born and grew up in Everton before emigrating in 1910. He died in Egypt of wounds sustained at Gallipoli on 16th May 1915. Two of his former team mates died on the Somme in 1916; David Campbell was killed near Flers on the 15th September in the battle which saw the first use of tanks, and Arnold Cantell was killed on 4th October when a faulty shell detonated in the howitzer he was firing near High Wood.
EFC Heritage Society