Swans honour fallen heroes

11th November 2018
First team

Swansea City have planted three commemorative trees and placed a plaque at Fairwood training ground in support of the national ‘Football Remembers’ campaign.

The trees, donated by the Woodland Trust in partnership with the National Football Museum's 'For Club and Country' project, Premier League, EFL, PFA and FA, will become a living memorial to the three Swans players who served and died during World War One.

Swans skipper Leroy Fer, vice-captain Mike van der Hoorn and club ambassador Lee Trundle took part in the special planting ceremony to remember those fallen heroes.

The Swans trio included Joseph Bullock, who captained the Swans to their famous FA Cup win over English champions Blackburn Rovers when they were still in the second division of the Southern League.

However, less than a year after that historic win, in December 1915, Bullock was joining up with the Welch Regiment. The defender died on April 20, 1918, of head injuries sustained at the Fourth Battle of Ypres, Flanders. He was 38 years old.

Swans left-back Edward Mitchell had been shipped home to the UK in the summer of 1915 after suffering a bullet wound.

Back in Wales, he married in Llandeilo, on July 22, 1915, before returning to the front where he was killed in action on January 6, 1916.

The third Swans player to lose his life during the ‘war to end all wars’ was Spencer Bassett, who had played for Arsenal and Exeter City before joining the Swans for the 1913-14 season.

On April 11, 1917, the acting bombardier with the 140th Siege Battery died from wounds suffered in the Battle of Arras. He was 32.

Even though none of the players was local, their loss was deeply felt throughout the Swansea community.

Other Swans players who saw war-time service included Fred Burch, Joe Coleman, Arthur Cleverley, Stan Cubberley, Ernie Fisher, Jock Hamilton, Fred Harris, Alex Houston, Percy Jones, Jimmy Collins and Fred Mortimer.

The Swans also marked their respect along with Bolton during Saturday's Championship clash as they held a minute's silence before kick-off.

“It was an honour for us all to be part of this special commemoration,’’ said Fer. “Those who lost their lives for us during the First World War made the ultimate sacrifice.

“Planting these trees will allow everyone at the club to remember that sacrifice, and to remember the three Swans players who lost their lives. It will act as a permanent symbol of remembrance.’’