Friday 8th November 12.45 at the Museum of Rugby, Twickenham.
The Museum of Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have joined forces this remembrance time to launch Gone But Not Forgotten - Rugby's War Dead - an exhibition celebrating
the sport of rugby and remembering the sacrifices many players made during the two world wars.
The two world wars cut short the lives of millions of young men and women, many of them first class athletes. Some had the talent to reach the very top of their chosen sport, others had already established name and reputation - with so many shared ideals and aspirations, the lost promise they represent has the power to touch youngsters today.
Rugby Union lost 185 capped international players from within the eight major rugby-playing nations during the two world wars. Gone But Not Forgotten, staged by the Museum of Rugby with supporting material from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, celebrates the lives of eight of these players, one from each of the major rugby nations.
The exhibition, which will be open to the public from 5 November 2002 to 27 April 2003, will be launched to coincide with the three home internationals this winter between England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Stear, the current Royal Air Force Commissioner on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and a member of the RFU committee from 1987-1998 said "This joint exhibition is especially relevant as we approach Remembrance Day. The focus on sportsmen and women, in this case, international rugby players, is yet another dimension of the Commission's initiative to increase community awareness, especially amongst the younger generations of the sacrifice made by so many young men and women."
"This exhibition can inevitably only put the spotlight on a few individuals out of the hundreds of international rugby players who lost their lives in the two world wars. The visits in successive weeks of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa around Remembrance time provides added poignancy and meaning as we remember the fallen."
Clive Woodward England Head Coach said "I'm supporting the exhibition on behalf of the England squad. Remembering the young people who lost their lives in the two World Wars is essential and their memory must be respected by successive generations. We must not forget the huge sacrifices they made."
Attending the launch alongside Clive Woodward, RFU President Derek Morgan and Sir Michael Stear will be Tom Kemp and Hal Sever, both of whom represented England in the 1930's. They played twice in the same team featuring in the England sides that faced Wales and Ireland in the 1937 Five Nations Championship.
Tom is England's oldest surviving captain. Born in 1915, Tom represented England 5 times at fly-half winning pre-war caps against Wales, Ireland and Scotland. After the war Tom appeared for the national side twice captaining the side in his final game against Wales at Twickenham. He also represented Cambridge University, St. Mary's Hospital, Richmond, Manchester, The Army, Barbarians as well as London Counties, Lancashire & Middlesex.
Hal Sever was born on 3rd October 1910. He played on the wing for Sale, Cheshire and the Barbarians and represented England 10 times between 1936 and 1938. His greatest rugby claim to fame was probably his part in England's 1936 victory over New Zealand. Hal scored a try in the game with Prince Alexander Obolensky scoring the other two.
During the exhibition donations are being accepted for the Poppy Fund.
Stuart Gendall, Director of Corporate Communications at The Royal British Legion said: "We are delighted that the RFU has asked us to be involved in this major exhibition. By focusing the minds of visitors on the bravery and
sacrifice of famous rugby personalities it highlights the importance of Remembrance and the huge and terrible impact of war on people from all walks of life. The funds donated by visitors during the course of the exhibition
will go towards the �48 million we spend each year on the care and support of ex-Servicemen, their families and other dependants."
Further details are available from Paul Rudge on 020 8831 6617 or firstname.lastname@example.org