Wednesday saw fifteen British soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, reburied a century after their deaths.

The ceremony at the Y Farm Commonwealth cemetery in France saw the soldiers, who were discovered in a nearby field five years ago, given the ceremonial burial they deserved.

Eleven of the fifteen soldiers have been identified, yet one member of the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment that has yet to be found or identified is former Town full-back Larrett Roebuck.

Roebuck played 19 games for Town all during the 1913/14 season after signing for the club at the start of 1913. Town's final game of his second season, a 1-0 victory against Leicester Fosse (now City) would sadly be his last, as he amongst many British men would go to war and never return.

He was to go 'missing' following his battalion capturing Radinghem and officially 'presumed dead' on the 18th October 1914. Huddersfield Town's Larrett Roebuck was to become the first footballer form the Football League to be killed in The Great War.


Barnsley-born Roebuck had an interesting life before becoming a professional footballer in 1913. His father died when he was 13 meaning that Roebuck had to go down the pits to becoming his households breadwinner.

A spell in prison followed for Roebuck after stealing a watch aged 15. However, not long after that he would enlist to the York and Lancaster regiment claiming to be 18 whereas he was not even 16.

Roebuck's army career lasted seven years where he toured India with the 1st battalion York and Lancaster regiment. In his army year he had become married and had four children and in 1912 took the decision to become a reservist.

Another spell down the pit followed for Roebuck until he was spotted by Town playing for SIlverwood Colliery and signed in March 1913.

It wasn't until 1914 where Roebuck made his debut against Fulham in a 3-1 victory. 19 consecutive appearances and an improved contract with Town followed until he was called up as a reservist  to serve in the war.

On the 8th of September 1914 Roebuck's battalion was mobilised and disembarked on the west coast of France. Yet less than six weeks on French soil, Roebuck would be killed in action.

 

Saturday's 4-2 victory against Blackpool marked 100 years to the day since Larrett Roebuck died in World War I. A planned applause in the 18th minute of the game was largely muted and forgotten due to Town rushing into a 3-0 lead within 16 minutes. Perhaps it would be nice to dedicate that win to Roebuck.

Whilst the celebration of his life was forgotten due to the moment, we as fans can pay tribute to Roebuck and fellow Town players who died at war when Nottingham Forest come to the John Smith's next month.

It would also be nice to think that Roebuck was one of the four unidentified soldiers buried in Wednesdays ceremony, so he can finally be laid to rest.

For more on Larrett Roebuck; visit the Western Front Association website HERE

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