Staff football team, 1912-3
All 13 men in this squad, from Union of London & Smiths Bank, served in the army in the First World War.
Like most big banks, Union of London & Smiths Bank had a vibrant staff sports club, which fielded teams in a whole array of sports. Its members were mostly drawn from the bank’s London offices and branches, because the club facilities were located in Beckenham, south east London.
The 13 men on the bank’s football squad in 1913 were aged between 17 and 25. Theirs was the generation that suffered most heavily in the First World War. All 13 of them served in the army, and 6 were killed.
Back row, from left:
- William Allen was born in January 1892. He worked in the bank’s head office in Princes Street, London. He volunteered within months of the outbreak of the First World War, joining the Royal Sussex Regiment. He was killed in action on 20 September 1916.
- Lloyd Richer was born in 1888 in West Bengal, where his father was an army officer. He was educated in England before joining the bank’s head office staff in March 1906. He joined the army on 1 September 1914, and served throughout the war, rising to the rank of Acting Captain and earning the Military Cross. He was demobilised in February 1919 and returned to the bank, where he remained for the rest of his career. He retired in 1946 as manager of Marylebone High Street branch, and died in 1968.
- Arthur Latreille, born in July 1895, was the youngest member of the team. He was an only child, and was educated at Brentwood Grammar School, where he excelled in all sports, particularly cricket. He was a clerk at the bank’s head office. In the First World War he joined the Queen’s Westminster Rifles, and went abroad early in 1915. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916, he was shot in both legs. He was brought back to hospital in England, where he died of his wounds just over a week later, on 9 July 1916, the day after his 21st birthday.
- William Osborne was born in 1889. He was a clerk in the bank’s head office, and a dedicated member of the staff sports club. He was a particularly good all-round cricketer. He enlisted as a Private at the outbreak of war, and was commissioned in January 1916, becoming a Second Lieutenant. He was killed in action on 10 September 1916.
- Francis Collett was born in 1890, the son of a builder and his wife. He joined the bank in 1910, after his uncle – a retired employee – recommended him. He started at head office, but later moved to Paddington branch, and then to Notting Hill Gate branch. He joined the army in 1916, becoming a Private in the Honourable Artillery Company. In February 1918, while still in the army, he married his wife Eveline. They were married for 45 years, until her death in 1963. Francis returned to the bank after the war. He eventually retired as manager of Wimborne branch in 1950. He lived to be over 100 years old, and died in the early 1990s. It was Francis who donated this photograph to the NatWest archives.
- Ernest Tardif was born in 1887, the son of a civil servant and his wife. While Ernest worked for Union of London & Smiths Bank, his youngest brother Valentine worked for another of our constituent banks, The National Bank. Both brothers served in the First World War. Ernest survived, but Valentine was killed in France in 1916, at the age of 19. Soon after the war Ernest left the bank, and went to work in a tax office. His name does not appear again in the bank’s records.
Middle row, from left:
- Herbert Twizell was born in Ashford in 1892. He worked at the bank’s head office. During the First World War he served in the City of London Yeomanry (Roughriders). He was killed in action in the Middle East on 10 August 1916.
- Thomas Watkins was born in 1887. He was a clerk at head office, and the oldest member of the football team; 25 years old when this photograph was taken. Like his team-mate Henry Twizell, he served in the City of London Yeomanry (Roughriders) during the First World War. He was killed in action in Greece on 4 March 1917. His younger brother Norman, who also worked for the bank, was killed in France in July 1916.
- Alexander Mills was born in 1890, the son of a monumental sculptor. He was educated at Wells Blue School for Boys before going to work in the bank’s head office in 1907. He was away from the bank on active service from January 1917 until the end of the war. After demobilisation he returned to the bank, and by the end of the 1920s was a branch manager. Alexander and his wife Ella had a son named Peter, born in about 1919. He followed his father into the bank, and worked there until he joined the army during the Second World War. He was killed in Egypt in 1942, at the age of 23.
- John Hobbs was born in 1886, and worked at the bank’s head office. He joined the London Regiment in September 1914. He served throughout the war, but does not seem to have returned to the bank after he was demobilised.
- Leslie Matthews was born in 1894. He worked at the bank’s head office. During the First World War he served as a Rifleman in the London Regiment. He was killed on the Western Front on 30 April 1916, at the age of 21.
Front row, from left:
- John Walton was born in 1888. As well as playing for the bank’s football team, he also represented the bank as a lightweight boxer. Early in 1914 John left the bank. He emigrated to America, where he found work as accountant to a tyre repair firm in Providence, Rhode Island. He joined the British army in 1917, serving in the Seaforth Highlanders and the Tank Corps, before being discharged after the end of the war.
- Leonard Pollard was born in 1893. He started at the bank in 1911, originally at head office and later at London Victoria Street branch. He joined the army in August 1914, and served throughout the war. After being demobilised in March 1919 he returned to the bank, and eventually retired as manager of Warwick Gardens branch in 1953.