Lance Corporal Leigh Richmond Roose MM

Lance-Corporal Leigh Richmond Roose MM
PS/10898, 9th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers

Leigh Roose was the most charismatic footballer of his era. A natural entertainer, the Wales star was responsible for rewriting the goalkeeping rulebook with his adventurous and unorthodox approach. Born in Holt near Wrexham, where his father was a Presbyterian minister, he was educated by the author H.G. Wells in the village academy. While at Aberystwyth University he played for the town team, then on to Stoke, before signing for Everton in 1904. He played in the 1904-05 campaign, just failing narrowly to capture the League and FA Cup double. A sensation as a goalkeeper, he is described in the Dictionary of National Biography as, ‘a man who had been thoroughly grounded in the fundamentals of his art, and gave interpretation to them in the style and manner of a man of genius.’

On the outbreak of war, he enlisted with the R.A.M.C. in 1914, before returning to the Western Front in 1916 with the Royal Fusiliers. For his brave action in the early hours of 6 August he was later awarded the Military Medal and promoted to lance-corporal, the citation recording:

“Private Leigh Roose, who had never visited the trenches before, was in the sap when the flammenwerfer attack began. He managed to get back along the trench and, though nearly choked with fumes with his clothes burnt, refused to go to the dressing station. He continued to throw bombs until his arm gave out, and then, joining the covering party, used his rifle with great effect.”

London Gazette

After a period in action near Arras, Roose returned south to fight during the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme, and was killed in action aged thirty-eight, thought to be on 7 October 1916. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, France.

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