10 Town players now known to have lost their lives in active service
- Two names added to HTAFC's 'Roll of Honour'
- Ernest George Kenworthy & Ralph Shields lost their lives in World Wars
- Now 10 Town players who died in active service
The names Ernest George Kenworthy and Ralph Shields have today been added to Huddersfield Town’s Roll of Honour’, which pays tribute to the Club’s players who lost their lives in active service defending their country.
Huddersfield Town’s historical statistician Alan Hodgson has this week discovered that Kenworthy and Shields lost their lives in the two World Wars having played for Town, taking the total number of names on the Roll of Honour to 10.
Ernest, who is circled in the picture above, made 20 appearances and scored six goals in the Midland League and FA Cup during 1909/10 and was killed in action in November 1917.
Ralph (below) made 65 appearances in the Second Division, FA Cup and wartime competitions between 1914 and 1920. He emigrated to Australia in 1927 and during WW2 joined the Australian Army Service Corps engaged in supplying front line troops. Tragically he was captured and was to die as a PoW in November 1944.
Town’s full ‘Roll of Honour’ is now as follows:
Lance Corporal, 2nd Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment
Died 18 October 1914
Charles Edward RANDALL
Private, 4th Battalion, Coldstream Guards
Died 27 September 1916
Dr Leigh Richmond ROOSE, M.M.
Lance Corporal, 9th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
Died 7 October 1916
Lance Corporal, 9th Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Died 9 April 1917
Ernest George KENWORTHY
Gunner, 135th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Died 10 November 1917
Robert Henry GORDON
Leading Aircraftman, IX Squadron, RAF Volunteer Reserve
Died 18 September 1940
Francis Cornelius CHIVERS
War Service, Barnburgh Main Colliery (South Yorkshire)
Died 2 April 1942
Able Seaman, H.M.S. Albrighton, Royal Navy
Died 28 April 1943
Private, A.I.F. 2 Coy, Australian Army Service Corps
Died 21 November 1944
Alexander Skinner JACKSON
Major, Army Welfare Service
Died 15 November 1946
Profiles of Ernest and Ralph are below:
ERNEST GEORGE KENWORTHY
Ernest was born in Matlock, Derbyshire, in the autumn of 1887 and as a youngster was to initially play with his local club Matlock Town.
Whilst studying to be a teacher at Peterborough Training College, he next joined Manningham Recreational prior to signing for Bradford City on 26 April 1907. Outside-right Ernest scored on his debut in a 2-0 win at Grimsby Town the next day, which was City’s last fixture of a season in which they finished fifth in the Second Division. Also making his City debut that day was fellow Matlock man William Eley (q.v.).
Nominally a Bradford reserve, Ernest seems to have been loaned out to Guiseley Celtic on occasion and on 12 April had turned out for them in a game against Heckmondwike at Bowling Old Lane to decide the championship of the West Yorkshire League, both clubs having finished on 28 points. This game was though abandoned “due to adverse conditions” with Celtic leading 3-2. Unfortunately for Guiseley the replay at Valley Parade was scheduled for the same day of Kenworthy’s Bradford City debut, and so he missed turning out in their 1-0 defeat by Heckmondwike!
Ernest, possibly encouraged by the play of the new West Yorkshire League champions, was to next appear for the Beck Laners during the 1907/08 season, although still on Bradford’s books. His second and final appearance for City came in a 2-1 Second Division defeat at Nottingham Forest on 17 October 1908, after which he returned to the reserves (with the odd Heckmondwike game along the way), later playing briefly for Sutton Junction.
On 8 September 1909 he then joined Huddersfield Town making his debut three days later in a 0-0 Midland League draw at Rotherham Town. The following Saturday he returned to his old stomping ground at Beck Lane where Town had been drawn against Heckmondwike in the FA Cup preliminary round. Ernest was to score twice as Huddersfield thrashed ‘the Wikers’ 11-0 in what remains their record score in the competition to this date.
Overall that season he made 14 Midland League appearances for Town and six more in the FA Cup, scoring five goals in the process. His last Town game however came on 8 January 1910 in a 4-1 home win over Gainsborough Trinity Reserves during which he went off injured. It seems to have signalled the end of his playing career, for as the Leeds Mercury had it the following week: “Kenworthy, the ‘Blues’ right outside, was damaged, and will not be able to turn out.” He was released by Huddersfield Town that April.
Having returned to take up a position as Assistant Headmaster at the Matlock Town Schools, he became Headmaster when his predecessor a Mr Williams was called up.
When Mr Williams returned to the school, probably discharged due to wounds, Ernest himself joined up, enlisting with the Royal Garrison Artillery as a Gunner. The RGA was posted to France in August 1916 and on 10 November 1917 Ernest Kenworthy, serving with the 135th Siege Battery, was sadly killed in action by a bursting shell. He was buried the next day at Coxyde Military Cemetery on the Belgian coast. Aged 29, he left a widow and a child.
A popular Matlock man, “He was known to most residents, and was universally admired for his straightforward and genial disposition. He was a fine athlete, but was most prominent in football circles.”
Ralph was born in Easington, County Durham, towards the end of 1892. As a teenager he quickly matured into a prolific centre-forward with Newbiggin Athletic and during 1912/13 was said to have scored over 100 goals in the local Wansbeck League! He then joined another local club, Choppington Alliance, in the summer of 1913 where his goal-scoring feats continued.
Needless to say scouts from several leading clubs were alerted by his prowess with Aston Villa, Norwich City and Everton keenly watching his progress. However, after hitting a final hat-trick for Choppington in a game against New Hartley on 25 October that year, he was signed by top-flight side Newcastle United, choosing them as the nearest club to his home. During 1913/14 he remained in Newcastle’s reserve team, despite scoring 14 times in a dozen North-Eastern League appearances, whilst the Magpies sought to hone his raw talent.
He attracted more scouts with Norwich City again, St Mirren, Crystal Palace and Clapton Orient all watching closely, but on 19 May 1914 he was signed from under their noses by Second Division club Huddersfield Town who reportedly “paid a substantial fee” for his services. At the time many were surprised that Newcastle had agreed to part with him. Standing 5ft 9ins and weighing just over 12 stones, Ralph made his Town debut on 12 September 1914 in a 4-0 home win over Nottingham Forest, replacing Frank Mann at centre-forward. Although not on the score-sheet himself, he had an ‘assist’ in the second goal, heading on to Billy Smith who netted easily. He then opened his own account nine days later scoring twice in a 3-1 home win over Leicester Fosse. By the end of the season he had top-scored with 16 goals to his credit in 29 overall appearances, but his career was to be put on hold when normal football was suspended for the duration of the Great War at the end of 1914/15.
Either side of service as a bombardier with the Royal Field Artillery, Ralph still managed 18 games and 10 goals in wartime competitions for Town, (he also ‘guested’ briefly for Fulham) before returning to a Huddersfield side chasing promotion from the Second Division in 1919/20. With Jack Cock and then Sammy Taylor leading the line, he made only 14 appearances (four goals) as Town finished runners-up to Spurs. The following season he then netted twice in four games before joining Exeter City of the Southern League in December 1920, in a part-exchange deal (plus £2000) that brought Bill Wright to Leeds Road.
Unfortunately he never quite hit it off with the Grecians, scoring just four times in 19 outings, and moved on to their Southern League rivals Brentford in July 1921. He was to score only once in eight games before leaving a year later to play for Sittingbourne. Ralph remained with the Kent club until June 1924 when he headed back north to join Blyth Spartans, but after one season with the North-Eastern Leaguers he then returned south to end his playing days back with Sittingbourne in the Kent League.
In 1927 he emigrated to Australia where he lived in Concord, NSW, and worked as a miner prior to enlisting with the Australian Army Service Corps in July 1940. Two years later he was taken prisoner at Singapore by Japanese forces, and was to die (aged 52) at the infamous Sandakan PoW Camp in northern Borneo on 21 November 1944. He is buried at Labuan War Cemetery, Malaysia.