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Alexander Obolensky

Facts
Nation England
Born St Petersburg, February 17, 1916
Internationals 4 caps in 1936
Inducted England v New Zealand Barbarians (December 20, 2003)

Born in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) in 1917, Prince Alexander Obolensky was the son of an officer of the Tsar’s Imperial Horse Guards and his wife Princess Luba.

Revolutionary upheaval in Russia at the time of the young Prince’s birth forced the family to flee their homeland and they were offered safe passage to England, where they made a home in Muswell Hill, North London.

Alexander played his first rugby at Trent College in Nottinghamshire and went on to represent Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Leicester Tigers and Midland Counties. However it was as a sporting Blue for Oxford University that he first came to the England selectors’ attention in 1935.

A degree of controversy surrounded the granting of British citizenship to the Obolensky family in 1936, but this coincided with the winger representing England against the All Blacks on January 4, at Twickenham.

The game saw England record their first victory over New Zealand with Obolensky scoring two sensational tries in a 13-0 victory.
Obolensky went on to play four times for England and twice for the Barbarians. He also represented the British Forces on their 1936 tour of Argentina and the United States.

Two years later he answered the call of his adopted country and joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Tragically he was killed in a training exercise at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk and buried with full service honours in Ipswich War cemetery at the age of just 24.

 

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