Scotland team remember fallen internationalists
On the eve of Scotland’s third match of the Rugby World Cup 2023 in Lille, members of the team management visited a war memorial where two Scotland players are among 72,000 UK and South African troops honoured, after losing their lives in the First World War.
In that war, Scotland lost a total of 30 capped players – more than any other Union.
The loss was underlined when you look at the last international match which took place before hostilities erupted. It pitted Scotland against England at Inverleith in Edinburgh on Saturday 21 March, 1914, with England edging a narrow win.
Scotland were captained by Eric Milroy, the Watsonians scrum-half, who had toured South Africa with the British & Irish Lions in 1910.
Sadly, Milroy was among six of the Scotland team that day, who died in the First World War and five of the England team perished in the same conflict. Milroy is among those remembered in Thiepval on the outskirts of Lille along with Rowland Fraser who played as a forward for Scotland and Cambridge University RFC. He was selected to play for Scotland in the 1911 Six Nations.
In 2018 Eric Milroy’s descendants worked with Scottish Rugby and the French Rugby Federation to create the Auld Alliance Trophy in 2018 which France and Scotland compete for annually in the GUINNESS Six Nations Championship.
Scotland’s starting full-back on Saturday, Ollie Smith, is related to Milroy as are the Kinloch Anderson family who are renowned kilt manufactures and supplied the pocket squares which complemented the team’s suit at their welcome ceremony for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
On Friday, the day before the Romania game, Ollie Smith’s dad Gavin also attended the memorial.
The former Scotland players who died in the First World War were: