Thursday, 29 March 2018

Ernie Astill Remembered 100 Years On

Ernie Astill 
Remembered 100 Years On

Two men associated with Dulwich Hamlet in its early years were the brothers Reginald and Ernest Astill. Neither played for the first team but each one represented the Dulwich Hamlet Cricket Club, which contained a good number of the club’s senior footballers. Reg and Ernie were regarded as excellent cricketers and a mainstay of the side.

Like most of their sporting colleagues at Dulwich, when it was time to serve the nation in the First World War, they did not shirk their responsibilities. Tragically, they were both wounded on the First Day of the Somme, 1 July 1916. Reg, aged 21, was mortally wounded going over Gommecourt, and became the fifth Hamlet man to be killed in the war.

His elder brother Ernie, a 2nd Lieutenant of the Queen Victoria Rifles, who had enlisted at the very start of the war, was sent home to recuperate from his wounds and from shellshock, and returned the following year. Seven months later Ernie also became a casualty of the war.

Today, 30 March 2018, marks the centenary of his death.

Born in Brixton in 1891, Ernie later moved with his parents and family to Carshalton. It must have been extremely difficult for Mr and Mrs Astill to lose their two sons as they did. They had but two boys – and they gave their all. Neither of them has a known grave but Reg is remembered at the Thiepval Memorial and Ernie at Pozieres.

An apt tribute to Ernest William Dearne Astill would have been a few moments of quiet contemplation spent at the War Memorial in the Dulwich Hamlet boardroom at Champion Hill. Perhaps a bunch of flowers could have been placed beneath the bronze plaque where his name is inscribed with the two dozen others who made the ultimate sacrifice.

However, Meadow Residential have put paid to this by locking Dulwich Hamlet and its supporters out of their ground. Hopefully by 11 November this year, when we commemorate a century since the armistice, Meadow will be gone and we can hold a proper memorial service.

It is rather fitting that the anniversary of Ernie Astill’s passing should fall on Good Friday. For it is the day we remember the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Many thanks to Dulwich Hamlet supporter Ian Colley for placing an announcement in the “In memoriam their name liveth for evermore” column in today’s Daily Telegraph.

Jack McInroy

Saturday, 24 March 2018

George Shipway

George Shipway, right winger for Dulwich Hamlet either side of the First World War, partnered two of the greatest inside forwards in the history of the amateur game, the Egyptian Hussein Hegazi and the legendary Edgar Kail.

In 1913 he won two England caps, against Germany and Holland, making him the club’s second amateur international after Charlie Tyson.

England Amateurs 1913. Shipway first left seated.

During his time at Champion Hill, Shipway gained many representative honours for the London FA and Surrey County FA.

A few years ago some football memorabilia relating to Shipway was auctioned off. Along with the county caps and badges was his large collection of enamel pin badges. Included among them were some early Dulwich Hamlet ones from the 1920s and 30s.

Recently some of his embroidered shirt badges have turned up on EbayThe London badge he can be seen wearing in the top picture from December 1911. The photograph was taken before the match against Middlesex at Stamford Bridge. 

 London badge

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Pa Wilson Memorial

On Remembrance Day 2006, we had the great pleasure of unveiling the Pa Wilson Memorial outside the Champion Hill Stadium. This large handsome plaque depicts the founder of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club, and is a constant token of one who gave so much of his life and health to Dulwich Hamlet. The relief portrait is by sculptor Charles Westgarth and is cast in bronze by James Virgo, a lifelong Hamlet supporter.

Clay relief by Charles Westgarth

This was not the first time Pa Wilson had been honoured with a memorial to his name. Following his death in 1924, devotees at Dulwich Hamlet decided to perpetuate his memory by setting up the Lorraine Wilson Memorial Scholarship at Dulwich College. This is still available to young students today.

However, the truth is that Lorraine ‘Pa’ Wilson has a far greater memorial. It is this very Club. The whole edifice that is the Dulwich Hamlet Football Club is a monument to him. It was his creation over a century ago. He laid the foundations. Indeed, he is the very keystone. He found the money – often his own benevolence. He had the credence. His was the pulling power. He sought the bigger grounds, and the comfort of the supporters. It was his ideals that were ingrained into the staff. His influence was immense and incalculable. His name is deep-rooted in the history of the club and local football.

Pa Wilson was the Club Treasurer for thirty years, and eventually (albeit for one short year) was honoured as the President of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club.

In 1924, Pa Wilson died following a prolonged severe illness. He was buried just a few hours before the final match of the season.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Centurion Clunis

Centurion Clunis

Hearty congratulations to Nyren Clunis who scored his hundredth first team goal for Dulwich Hamlet this week away to Lowestoft Town. It is almost eight years to the day since his first senior goal against Fleet Town.

We have to go back to the 1979/80 season to find the last Dulwich player to reach a landmark century of goals for the club. That was the legendary Ossie Bayram, who went on to score a further thirty odd before moving on.

Photo: Duncan Palmer

Clunis joins a small group of players who have performed the feat, becoming only the seventh post-war player to do so. That list includes three of the Hamlet’s greatest players of modern times – Tommy Jover (192), Ossie Bayram (137) and Pat Connett (110).

We look forward to the next hundred.