Tag Archives: Royal Fusiliers

Remembering the Arsenal Players that died during WW2

The Second World War was to prove a tragic time for a heavily bombed Highbury. No less than 9 of the 42 professionals on Arsenal’s books in 1939 failed to survive it, the highest loss by any Club. The nine players to lose their lives were, Sidney Pugh, Harry Cook, William Parr, Leslie Lack, Bobby Daniel, Hugh Glass, Cyril Tooze, Herbie Roberts and Bill Dean.
Here we Remember them.

Lack, a Spitfire pilot, was killed in a ‘friendly fire’ incident while Parr was shot down during a mission to hunt down a German U boat. Cook died while training to land a plane on an aircraft carrier. Daniel went missing on December 23rd, 1943, while serving as a Flight Sergeant Gunner. His Lancaster bomber was lost without trace during a mission to Berlin.
Three other players known to have died were members of the Royal Fusiliers. Hugh Glass drowned at sea in 1943 when his ship, the Ocean Crusader, was sunk by a U boat, while Cyril Tooze was the victim of a sniper’s bullet in Italy on February 10th, 1944. Perhaps the most popular player to die was Herbie Roberts, a member of the team that won the League Championship three times between 1932 and 1935, who became a lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers. He died of a skin disease, erysipelas on June 19th, 1944.
Finally, Bill Dean, a goalkeeper, died when his Royal Navy ship HMS Naiad, was hit by a torpedo in March 1942. His death was particularly poignant. When Dean had made his debut for Arsenal in 1940 he had said, prophetically: “Well I have fulfilled my life’s ambition, I have played for Arsenal.”

Sidney James “Sid” Pugh Rank: Flying Officer Date of Death:15/04/1944 Age: 24
Henry Bennett Cook Rank: Sub-Lieutenant (A) Date of Death: 26/02/1943 Age: 22
William Wilfred Parr Rank: Sergeant Date of Death: 08/03/1942 Age: 26
Leslie Martin Lack Rank: Sergeant Date of Death:18/03/1943 Age: 22
Robert Norman Victor Daniel Rank: Flight Sergeant Date of Death: 24/12/1943 Age: 21
Hugh Glass Rank: Greaser Date of Death: 26/11/1942 Age: 23
Cyril Ernest Tooze Rank: Fusilier Date of Death: 22/01/1944 Age: 25
Herbert Roberts Rank: Lieutenant Date of Death:17/06/1944 Age: 39
William Benjamin Dean Rank: Stoker 2nd Class Date of Death:11/03/1942
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.



Sources –


The Arsenal and Me – Steve’s Story

I would not be an Arsenal fan if it was not for the great Herbert Chapman from before the 2nd world war.

Herbert Roberts was a cousin to my mother (who has now passed sadly), he played for Oswestry Town (where I still live and play for) and was picked up by Herbert Chapman in 1926,

Herbie Roberts

Herbie Roberts

He went on to play nearly 300 games for Arsenal and had a cap for England , Arsenal then played a 4.2.4 formation (which people said the Brazilians invented in 58) and he played the stopper centre half! At that time Arsenal were the biggest club in the world, and all other teams copied their formation of a stopper, and withdrawn winger ect…

Sadly on Herbie’s part on the 5th time of winning the title he only managed a dozen games because of injury we think, he then worked as a trainer in the reserves after that…..

Herbie then served in the war as a Lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers where he sadly died on duty a year or so before the war ended.

Arsenal have been in us since!

Not bad for £200, a lot of money in them days I suppose…. Probably built the town I still live in.


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