Sunday, 21 July 2013

Cricketers in Wartime - Hedley Verity

Image: IWM/BBC
If you're English, it's probably not escaped your notice that we're currently 2-0 up in the Ashes series against what, to be honest, is one of the more dismal Aussie sides since Kim Hughes' tour of the West Indies in 1984. Being a lifelong cricket fan, and sometime technical architect for and CricketArchive, I'm rather enjoying this.

If you're an Aussie... sorry :D

If you're American, you're probably still bemused about cricket. This'll help...

Heh. Ok. Actually it won't. This will, though.

Come what may, you're probably wondering what this has to do with wargaming. Well: my eye was caught by an article in the BBC site today marking the passing of Yorkshire and England spinner Hedley Verity almost exactly 70 years ago.

He was a Captain in the Green Howards, alongside several others from the Yorkshire side, and was wounded and captured during the Allied invasion of Sicily. He died a few days later, on July 31 1943, from complications after a surgery to remove part of a rib pressing on his lung (under just a local!). The Guardian also has an excellent article on him.

As a cricketer, he was reckoned to be the best spinner in England in the immediate pre-war era:  he took all ten wickets in an innings in a county match twice, including the stunning figures of 19.4-16-10-10 against Notts in 1932, and 15 Australian wickets during the Lords' Ashes Test of 1934.

If you want to read about him in much more detail, the book to chase down is Hedley Verity: Portrait of a Cricketer, which I may well treat myself to sometime.


  1. Mike, read this on the BBC website yesterday. Fascinating stuff and well worth re-posting.

  2. From an era when cricket was played by gentlemen.

    I'm Australian and I must say I find I'm guiltily pleased to see these cocky pr!cks taken down a peg or two as the tour unravels in front of them.

  3. Great stuff there and did you know that Sloppy Jalopy are having Bill Thornhill sculpt some cricketers for VBCW

  4. I used to spend a full summer month in the UK when I was a kid to learn English and I still remember the loooong and booooring cricket BBC broadcats (if I'm not wrong at that time there were only BBC 1 and 2 on the TV set; no ITV, Channel 4 and of fo course cable...)

    Never understood how this sport worked, despite the franctic attempts to explain me by the families where I was hosted


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