Fifteen Players From Rosslyn Park Killed In The Great War

Win a signed copy of The Final Whistle by Putney author Stephen Cooper

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One lucky member will receive a signed copy of Stephen's novel.

To enter the competition you must email by noon on Wednesday 11th October with your contact telephone number and your answer. Mark your email as The Final Whistle

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Q: Where did Stephen's grandfather serve after India?

If you are not the lucky winner you can buy a copy at Waterstones, Foyles Amazon and at the local independent book shops in Barnes, Sheen & Kew.
RRP £14.99 Kindle version £9.44
(prices correct at time of publishing)

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This is the story of 15 men killed in the Great War. All played rugby for one London club; none lived to hear the final whistle. Rugby brought them together; rugby led the rush to war. They came from Britain and the Empire to fight in every theatre and service, among them a poet, playwright and perfumer. Some were decorated and died heroically; others fought and fell quietly. Together their stories paint a portrait in miniature of the entire War.

Rosslyn Park RFC 1909-1910 team

The Final Whistle plays tribute to the pivotal role rugby played in the Great War by following the poignant stories of fifteen men who played for Rosslyn Park, London. They came from diverse backgrounds, with players from Australia, Ceylon, Wales and South Africa, but they were united by their love of the game and their courage in the face of war.

From the mystery of a missing memorial, Cooper’s meticulous research has uncovered the story of these men and captured their lives, from their vanished Edwardian youth and vigour, to the war they fought and how they died. The book gives insight not only to life in the trenches but also aspects of social history - for example in the 1880's it was unusual for married men to continue playing club rugby!

Stephen Cooper has lived in Putney for over eighteen years after a three year stint in New York, and has played and coached rugby for over 40 years, including heading the youth rugby at Rosslyn Park for many years. After Cambridge, he worked in advertising and now runs a military charity.

We asked Stephen where he liked to eat and drink in Putney:
"With teenage boys tends to be burger places like GBK and Byron, but I have a liking for gastro-pubs – good food, atmosphere and the option to drink beer as well as wine. I have just returned from battlefield research in Ypres, where Belgian beers are a perfect accompaniment to food. The Half Moon, Jolly Gardeners and Idle Hour in Barnes (SW13 I know) are all excellent. La Mancha is a favourite for tapas and the Munal (just in SW15) is a superb Nepalese. Frankie’s is much missed."

His grandfather survived the Battle of the Somme and inspired in him a lifelong fascination with the First World War. Stephen told PutneySW15.con:
My grandfather ran away from home to join the Army (under-age) and timed it badly as the Great War broke out in 1914. His Bn was recalled from India and he served at Ypres and on the Somme. He was wounded and lost much of his hearing. Like so many, he would never speak of the war especially to a child or grandchild – which of course piqued my curiosity in WW1. But he did try to teach me trench Latin. The book itself grew from the mystery of a missing memorial at a rugby club."

The royalties from the book are being split between two charities close to Stephen's heart:
"The Rosslyn Park Injury Trust helps young sports people who have suffered life-changing injuries. Prostate Cancer UK works to educate men about the cancer which claimed Andy Ripley, one of the club’s greatest players, in 2010."

Local events where Stephen is talking about the book:

Wednesday, 7 November 2012, 19:00hrs
Where: Roehampton Club, Roehampton Lane, London, United Kingdom SW15
(* only open to Roehampton Club members)

Saturday, 10 November 2012, 19:00hrs
Where: Richmond Lending Library, Little Green, Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom TW9 1QL

Thursday, 28 March 2013, 12:30

Where: National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, London, United Kingdom SW3 4HT

October 5, 2012