For club and country

Support this appeal to help remember the Leyton Orient, who were then known as Clapton Orient, players who fought during the First World War.

Did you know?

The club was the first complete team to join up with 41 players and staff from Clapton Orient (now known as Leyton Orient), joined the 17th Btn Middlesex Regiment, which became known as the Football Battalion with 122 professional footballers signed up.

In July 1916 the battalion took part in the Battle of the Somme. Thirteen Orient players were wounded. Some never played football again and three – Centre Forward William Jonas, Inside Forward Richard McFadden and Wing Half George Scott - lost their lives serving club and country.

Their sacrifice did not go unnoticed and King George V paid tribute at the first match post the war saying “Good luck to Clapton Orient FC, no football club had paid a greater price to patriotism."

Featured footballer

Richard McFadden

Richard McFadden was a prolific goal scorer for Clapton Orient between 1913 and 1915. In December 1914 he and nine other teammates joined the Footballers’ Battalion (17th Middlesex Regiment). McFadden rose to the rank of Sergeant Major and was awarded the Military Medal. He witnessed the death of teammate and friend William Jonas in July 1916. McFadden was later wounded, dying on 23 October 1916.

Players who served and died

  • Alan Haig-Brown
  • James Greechan
  • Norman Holmes
  • William Jonas
  • Richard McFadden
  • George Scott
  • Norman Riddell

Find out more about this club at Football and the First World War.

Club champion

Peter Kitchen

“I am immensely proud to be Leyton Orient's Club Champion for For Club and Country. The bravery and camaraderie of the 41 players and staff of Leyton (then Clapton) Orient was demonstrated in December 1914, when they were the first English league professional footballers to enlist. They went on to become part of what became known as the 'Footballers Battalion’. Three players, Company Sergeant Major Richard McFadden, William Jonas and George Scott made the ultimate sacrifice in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The Orient's story is a unique and special one and we need to remember their immense contribution and sacrifice by donating to create this national woodland memorial.”

Not your club? Check out our list of football clubs involved in the First World War or donate to the National Football Museum's appeal.

For club and country