Sidney Hatch (USA)- Successful Marathon-runner. He competed in over 45 competitive Marathons in the USA between 1904 and 1922 and never failed to finish. He won the annual Missouri All-Western Marathon in St Louis six times and in the 1916 96-mile Milwaukee to Chicago Run, he completed the event in a record time of less than 15 hours. Hatch competed in two summer Olympics, in 1904 in St Louis and in 1908 in London. In the former, he won a Silver medal in the 4-mile team event.
When the USA entered WW1 in 1917, Hatch enlisted in the US Army and, not surprisingly, was employed as an Army Messenger, putting his fitness and running skills to good use on the Western Front. He was decorated for ‘extraordinary heroism’ after carrying messages through heavy fire during fighting near Brieulles on October 11th 1918. He was awarded the DSC and a Purple Heart and the French Croix de Guerre.
Charlie Paddock (USA)- Champion Athlete and two-time Olympic Gold-medallist. He won two Gold medals at the 1920 summer Olympics in Antwerp in the mens 4 X 100m Relay and the mens 100m Sprint plus a Silver in the 200m. At the 1924 summer Olympics in Paris, Paddock gained a Silver in the 200m and then competed again in the 100m but came fifth. The winner of the latter race was Jewish/English athlete Harold Abrahams, an event immortalized in the popular 1981 film ‘Chariots of Fire’. Paddock also competed in the 1928 summer games in Amsterdam but did not reach the finals. He died in an accidental air-crash in 1943.
In WW1, Paddock served on the Western Front in 1918 as a Lieutenant in the US Army Field Artillery. He began to display his athletic prowess at the 1919 Inter-Allied Games where ex-soldiers from the Allied Nations competed in track & field events.
(UK)- Welsh Boxer who became World Flyweight Champion in 1914.
During the Great War, Jones served in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and earned the rank of Sergeant. He fought on the Western Front and was gassed and then later wounded in his leg which had to be amputated. Having contracted Trench Fever during the war, he never recovered and he died on Christmas Day 1922, the day before his 30th birthday.
Christy Mathewson (USA)- Major League Baseball player 1900-1916 who threw over 2,500 Strikeouts and was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 as one of it’s ‘First Five’ inaugural members.
Mathewson served in the US Army during WW1 in the newly-formed Chemical Service along with Ty Cobb, another well-known Ball player and member of the ‘First Five’. During a training exercise in 1918, he was accidentally gassed and consequently developed Tuberculosis which he died of in 1925.
Herbert Jones (UK)- Football Player who played in the Blackburn Rovers when they won the FA-Cup in 1928 and played in England’s International Team 1927-28.
Jones enlisted under-age in 1914 when he was only 15 years-old. He was sent to the Western Front in 1915 and he participated in the Christmas Truce later that year. Jones played a game of football with some German soldiers in No Man’s Land. He later wrote, “It was really sad to play football with them, then a few hours later have to start shooting and killing them…Those Germans were actually fine fellows…” He was wounded by shrapnel in 1916 and the injuries were severe enough to have him discharged from military service. His experiences prompted him to remain a staunch Pacifist for the rest of his life.
Hobey Baker (USA)- Champion Hockey and Football Player of the pre-WW1 period. He played for Princeton University Ivy-Club in both the Hockey and Football Teams. He captained Princeton’s Football Team to a National Championship win in 1911 and did likewise for the Hockey Team in 1912 and 1914. It was for the latter sport that he is most-admired and he was generally regarded as the first great US Hockey-player. Baker was elected into the World Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945 and the US equivalent in 1973. Today, the Hobey-Baker Award is still presented to the top male US College Hockey Player each year.
During WW1, Baker trained as a pilot and joined the 103rd US Aero-Squadron on the Western Front in 1918. Flying an orange and black-painted SPAD XIII, Baker destroyed three German aircraft before the end of the war. In December 1918, only a few weeks after the Armistice, Baker was performing a routine test-flight of a newly-repaired SPAD over his aerodrome at Toul when the plane suffered a mechanical failure. Baker was killed in the subsequent crash. Written orders to return home were found tucked in the pocket of his jacket.
David Jones (UK)- Welsh Rugby Player who played internationally in both League and Union 1902-1906. In 1905, Jones (six-foot-tall and weighing 16-stone) played for the Welsh-team that defeated the New-Zealand All Blacks 3-0 in the latter’s Rugby Union Tour of the Northern Hemisphere. Many Rugby enthusiasts still regard this match as being one of the greatest ever played in the history of the game. He was banned from Rugby Union in 1907 after illegally receiving payment at a time when the code was still strictly amateur.
When WW1 began, the 33-year-old Jones enlisted and served as an Infantryman in the Welsh Guards. He was badly wounded on the Somme in 1916 and he never fully recovered from his injuries, suffering serious health-problems until he died in 1933 at the age of 52.
William Tyrrell (Ireland)- Doctor & Rugby Union Player who played in the 1910 British Tour of South Africa and played in nine Tests for his native Ireland, the last in 1914. In 1950-51, he was President of the Irish Rugby Football Union. During the 1920s and 30s, he was a senior Medical Officer in the RAF, serving in the Middle-East and in 1939-43, he was Honorary Surgeon to King George VI.
In WW1, he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) on the Western Front and was mentioned in Dispatches six times. He received the DSO and Bar, the MC and the Belgian Croix de Guerre. Whilst serving as Medical Officer in the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers in 1915, he was buried by an exploding shell and he experienced temporary shell-shock. He drew on this experience when he participated in a War Office Committee of Enquiry into the causes and effects of shell-shock in 1922 and he stated that it was his belief that shell-shock was primarily caused by a ‘repression of fear’.
Tony Wilding (New Zealand) - Champion Tennis-Player of the pre-WW1 era who was officially ranked World No 1 in 1913. Won the Mens Singles at Wimbledon four years running in 1910-1913 and also won in the Mens Doubles four times between 1907 and 1914. He played in the winning team in the Davis Cup four times between 1907 and 1914 plus won a Bronze Medal in the Indoor Singles at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. He was elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Wilding-Park Tennis venue in New Zealand is named after him. His Record of multiple Wimbledon wins stood until 2000 when it was finally surpassed by Pete Sampras.
Wilding was living in the UK when WW1 began and he enlisted in the Royal Marines and served as a Captain in the Armoured Car Division in France. On May 9th, 1915, he was killed in action during the Battle for Aubers Ridge at Neuve-Chapelle. At the time of his death, he was engaged to Hollywood actress Maxine Elliot.
Tommy Armour (Scotland/USA)- Professional Golfer who emigrated to the USA in the early 1920s and won the 1927 US Open, the 1930 PGA Championship and the 1931 British Open. He was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1976. He co-wrote the 1953 Book How to Play your Best Golf all the Time which was one of the highest-selling books on Golf ever published.
During WW1, Armour served in the British Army Tank Corps, reaching the rank of Staff Major. His conduct in the field was much-praised and earned him a private audience with King George V. Later in the war, he was badly injured in a Mustard gas explosion. He permanently lost his sight in his left eye (and was temporarily blinded in his right) and he also had to have metal plates surgically implanted into his head and left arm. Despite his injuries, Wilding was able to win the 1920 French Amateur Golf Tournament less than two years after the end of the war.
Arnaud Massy (France)- Professional Golfer who won the French Open four times between 1906 and 1925, the Belgian Open once and the Spanish Open three times. He also won the 1908 UK Blackpool Tournament. In terms of major wins, he remains the most successful French Golfer of all time and, until 1979, he was the only player from Continental Europe to win a major tournament.
During the Great War, Massy served on the Western Front as a French Army Infantryman and he was wounded at Verdun in 1916. Despite his injuries, he was already playing Pro-Golf again by the end of the war.