From the cricket field to the battlefield: Stories of bravery from the 140 first-class players who died in WWII are recalled after almost 80 years

Mail Online | 2/11/1942 | Alexander Robertson For Mailonline
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The tragic stories of the 140 first-class cricketers who lost their lives in the Second World War have been told in a poignant new book.

The outbreak of the war prompted cricketers to swap their whites for soldier's uniform and pitch up at the various battlegrounds across the world.

Book - Coming - Storm - Nigel - McCrery

In the new book The Coming Storm, historian Nigel McCrery reveals each man's career details, including cricketing statistics and how they died.

Included in their ranks is 10 Test match players including 'the boy who bowled Bradman', and the great uncle of musician James Blunt.

Cricketer - War - Left-arm - Bowler - Hedley

Arguably the most celebrated cricketer to die in the war was the English slow left-arm bowler Hedley Verity, who once took the remarkable figures of 10-10.

Verity snaffled 1,956 wickets in first-class cricket at an average of just 14.90 and 144 wickets in 40 Tests at an average of 24.37.

Wisden - Cricketers - Year - Records - Bowler

Named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1932, he had one of the best records of any bowler against Donald Bradman - the sport's greatest ever batsman.

Verity continued to play for Yorkshire and England until 1939, when the outbreak of the war ended his career.

Howards - India - Persia - Egypt - Rank

He joined the Green Howards in 1939 and was posted overseas to India, Persia and Egypt - achieving the rank of captain.

During the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, Verity was severely wounded and captured by the Germans.

Mainland - Caserta - Injuries

Taken to the Italian mainland, he died in Caserta from his injuries and was buried there.

The other British test players killed in the line of duty were Ken Farnes, Geoffrey Legge, George Macaulay and Maurice Turnbull - a multi-talented sportsman who also played rugby for Wales.

South - Africans - Dooley - Briscoe - Arthur

South Africans Dooley Briscoe, Arthur Langton and Cyril Francois, Australian Ross Gregory and New Zealander Sonny Moloney were also killed in service.

On February 11, 1942, Australian cricketer Pilot Officer Frank Thorn...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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