Edgar Mobbs recovering from shrapnel wounds sustained at the Battle of the Somme. Image courtesy of Olney & District Historical Society.
Edgar Mobbs was a celebrated English rugby international who captained Northampton Rugby Football Club 1907-1913.
Mobbs enjoyed a spectacular career. He attempted to enlist in the First World War, but at 33 he was refused a commission on age grounds. Undeterred and using his huge popularity and charisma, he raised his own ‘Sportsman’s Battalion’ of 264 sportsmen (‘Mobbs’ Own) for the Northamptonshire Regiment, joining as a private soldier.
He rose to command the Battalion in April 1916 with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and fought at the Battles of Loos, Somme, Arras and Messines, where he was again wounded. He was killed in action on 31 July, the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele while leading an assault on a German machine-gun post that had trapped a detachment of his Battalion. His body could not be recovered.