Family History of Leyton Orient by Mark Hayball
Links between sport and the military go back a long way in Britain, and I am proud to stand in a family tradition that straddles both football and the army. In the Great War my great-grandfather Fred "Spider" Parker was the first football player to volunteer for the 17th Battalion of The Middlesex Regiment ("The Footballers' Battalion") after which his club, Clapton Orient, became the first Football League side to join up en masse.
Three Orient players - CSM Richard McFadden MM, Pte William Jonas and Pte George Scott - were killed on the Somme in 1916 - a sacrifice marked by the establishment earlier this year of the Somme Memorial Appeal by the Leyton Orient Supporters' Club. After World War One, the Prince of Wales (due to be crowned King Edward VIII) made an official visit to Clapton Orient's Millfields Road stadium to see the O's play Notts County (the O's won 3-0). This visit was in honour and respect of Orient's patriotic lead in the Great War. My great-grandfather, who was the O's captain, was instrumental along with others at the club in ensuring all the necessary arrangements were put in place. Although the King had previously attended an FA Cup Final, this was the very first time a Member of the Royal Family had attended a Football League match.
I am pleased to say that Leyton Orient - intensely proud of its long military heritage - now offers special concessions to servicemen and servicewomen on match days.
O'S SUPPORTERS CLUB
SOMME MEMORIAL FUND
Priced as a minimum donation at £4.99
This is a splendid enamel badge which can be reserved at the SUPPORTERS CLUB on Saturday or by contacting Steve Jenkins at firstname.lastname@example.org