The 1913/14 Home Championship - an annual tournament contested by the four UK home nations - was not one to remember for England. Things got off to a bad start with a 3-0 loss at home to Ireland, before a 2-0 victory over Wales offered a semblance of hope. However, that was soon extinguished following a 3-1 defeat to Scotland in front of a 105,000-strong crowd at Hampden Park. The loss left England in third, three points adrift of champions Ireland.

Within three months of that fixture, the country was at war. Some 14 players who had represented England on the football pitch that season went on to serve their country in the First World War, with remarkably all but one surviving the conflict. Here are their stories:

Sam Hardy, Aston Villa. Goalkeeper, 21 caps – An able seaman in the Royal Navy, Hardy was conscripted in 1916 and served on HMS Opossum, a destroyer in the English Channel.

Frank Buckley, Bradford City. Half-back, 1 cap – A former soldier, Buckley volunteered to serve in the Footballers’ Battalion (17th Middlesex Regiment). He rose to the rank of major, temporarily commanded the battalion and was badly wounded at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Albert Colclough, Crystal Palace. Full-back, 1 cap – Colclough volunteered in 1915, serving with the Royal Engineers as a dispatch rider. Both his army and football career came to an end following an injury suffered in a regimental football match.

George Elliott, Middlesbrough. Forward, 3 caps – Elliott was the top scorer in the First Division in 1913/14 with 31 goals. He joined the army in 1916 and served as a corporal in the Royal Engineers, operating searchlights with anti-aircraft units in northern England.

Harold Fleming, Swindon Town. Forward, 11 caps – Regarded as one of Swindon’s greatest ever players, the prolific forward has both a road named in his honour and a statue in the Wiltshire town. He volunteered in 1915 and served as a lieutenant with the 4th Wiltshire Regiment.

Harry Hampton, Aston Villa. Forward, 4 caps – Hampton amassed an impressive 215 league goals in 341 games for Villa, the majority of which were scored before 1916, when he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and served in France.

Edwin Latheron, Blackburn Rovers. Forward, 2 caps – Having enlisted under the Derby Scheme in 1915, Latheron was called up a year later. He joined the Royal Field Artillery and was killed in action on 14 October, 1917, leaving behind a widow and baby boy.

Joe McCall, Preston North End. Half-back, 5 caps – Initially rejected by the Army in 1916, McCall was called up in 1917, joining the Royal Garrison Artillery.

Harry Martin, Sunderland. Forward, 1 cap – Martin (pictured above) joined the Leicestershire Regiment in 1916 and was part of the Humber Garrison in 1917. He later went to the Western Front where he was shot through the shoulder in 1918, but recovered to play for Sunderland after the war.

Edwin Mosscrop, Burnley. Forward, 2 caps – Mosscrop combined football with a full-time job as a schoolteacher. A pacifist, he obtained an exemption from military service on conscientious grounds. Nevertheless, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and served in Salonika, northern Greece, rising to the rank of staff-sergeant.

Joe Smith, Bolton Wanderers. Forward, 5 caps – Smith served with the Royal Field Artillery. During wartime football, he played for Bolton and also guested for Preston North End and Chelsea.

Fanny Walden, Tottenham Hotspur. Forward, 2 caps – Previously a munitions worker, Walden joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1916. He played for both Leeds City and Tottenham Hotspur during wartime football. 

Charles Wallace, Aston Villa. Forward, 3 caps – Having joined the Royal Garrison Artillery in May 1916, Wallace served with anti-aircraft units. He played for Birmingham City during wartime football.

Richard Watson, Burnley. Half-back, 3 caps – Watson joined the Army Service Corps, Motor Transport in 1916 and served in France.

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