United for war effort for Newtongrange footballers

Newtongrange United 1915''Back row:'G. Quinto (Hon. President), J. Anderson (President), C. Jenkin (Vice-President)'3rd row:'W. Taylor, J. Purvis (Hon. Vice-President), W. Cornwall, W. McIntosh, A. Melrose, T. Bishop, C. Reid (Representative)'2nd row:'A. Wilson (Asst. Trainer), J. R. Morris (Treasurer), W. Samuel, J. Bennett, J. McLeod, R. Purvis, F. Brown, D. Simpson, D. Taylor (Secretary), W. Anderson (Trainer)'Front row:'D. Duncan, H. McGregor, J. Gilchrist, D. Anderson (Captain), W. JENKINS, R. Gilchrist, R. Barton
Newtongrange United 1915''Back row:'G. Quinto (Hon. President), J. Anderson (President), C. Jenkin (Vice-President)'3rd row:'W. Taylor, J. Purvis (Hon. Vice-President), W. Cornwall, W. McIntosh, A. Melrose, T. Bishop, C. Reid (Representative)'2nd row:'A. Wilson (Asst. Trainer), J. R. Morris (Treasurer), W. Samuel, J. Bennett, J. McLeod, R. Purvis, F. Brown, D. Simpson, D. Taylor (Secretary), W. Anderson (Trainer)'Front row:'D. Duncan, H. McGregor, J. Gilchrist, D. Anderson (Captain), W. JENKINS, R. Gilchrist, R. Barton

Pictured above are the all-conquering Newtongrange United football team of 1915, who were about to swap the football fields for the battlefields of World War One.

While most football fans will know the story of the successful Heart of Midlothian team who signed up for war in the famous MacRae regiment, little is known of the stories of local junior players who signed up to fight for their country.

In this week’s Advertiser, local historian John Duncan explains why United – and the line-ups of other local teams – changed dramatically after the 1915 photo was taken.

“Most teams at that time were still able to field strong teams.

“But that all changed when conscription came in 1916.

“So everybody that hadn’t joined at that point was called up.

“And, unlike the Second World War, coal miners were not exempt from being called-up.

“Over 50 committee members and players from Newtongrange United signed up.

“Eight of them didn’t come back.

For more on this feature read the January 31 edition of the Midlothian Advertiser.