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Edgar Mobbs (Hardback)

Rugby International, Sportsman, Soldier, Legend

WWI Frontline Books Somme Ypres Loos Passchendaele Frontline: WWI 1914 1915 1916 1917 Biographies

By Jon Cooksey, Graham McKechnie
Frontline Books
Pages: 296
Illustrations: 16 black and white
ISBN: 9781526733610
Published: 30th September 2022

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When Edgar Mobbs ran on a rugby field, people watched. Eyes were drawn to him. A towering, upright presence – long of stride with knees raised high; elegant and powerful.

When opponents came too close, out would shoot the famous Mobbs’ hand-off – a carefully aimed piston smacking into the hapless tackler’s jaw. If the founders of Rugby Union could have designed their perfect rugger man – a captain of England, the Barbarians and Northampton Saints, a sporting colossus and a true ‘Boys Own’ sporting icon – it would have been Edgar Mobbs.

Mobbs was the epitome of the Edwardian sporting hero: a fearsome competitor on the field and a ‘bloody good chap’ everywhere else. He played the game and his fans loved him, cheering wildly as he graced the turf from Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton to Twickenham and Toulouse.

Men would follow him wherever he went and in 1914 they followed him to war; first to Loos, then to the Somme and finally to Ypres. But on 31 July 1917, Edgar Mobbs ran alone.

In a Belgian wood, not far from the place they called Passchendaele, his men watched with admiration and horror as their leader ducked, dodged and weaved, not around adversaries on a rugby field but through shell-holes and round tree stumps, the air cracking with bullets and fizzing with shrapnel. Mobbs ran. It was to be his final charge.

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About Jon Cooksey

The late Jon Cooksey was a leading military historian who took a special interest in the history of the world wars. He was the editor of Stand To!, the journal of the Western Front Association, and an experienced battlefield guide. His many books included The Barnsley Pals, Calais, Harry’s War and, as editor, Blood and Iron. 


About Graham McKechnie

GRAHAM McKECHNIE is sports editor for BBC Radio Northampton. He has produced and presented several critically acclaimed radio documentaries for the BBC, including the stories of England Rugby Union internationals and First World War soldiers Edgar Mobbs, Ronald Poulton Palmer and Blair Swannell. Before embarking on a career in journalism, he studied history at The Queen’s College, Oxford.

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