Sport has always been an important part of service life, for both men and officers, and in the final winter of peace before the Great War Britannia Naval College had a busy fixture list of Football and Hockey games lined up. A small card was produced outlining the fixtures so that the officer cadets and staff were aware of the upcoming games.
The naval college in Dartmouth sits on a hill overlooking the town and was founded in 1863, although the buildings we see today were built in 1905. During the Edwardian era boys first went to the Royal Naval College, Osborne on the Isle of Wight at age 13 for two years before transferring to the naval college at Dartmouth. Like any public school of the time, sports were a hugely important part of daily life and this card shows the packed schedule to be expected. The games are scheduled against a variety of institutions including local sports teams, the local public schools and the army:
The back of the card lists those who had won colours for the sports:
Anything this close to the Great War always has a touch of poignancy to it as there is always a high chance that a proportion of the players would not have made it through the war.
I always find it fascinating the way words in what we call ‘English’ are taken to mean different things in different times and places.
To me, the first thing that popped into my head when I was the word ‘fixtures’ was toilets and sinks and I just about laughed out loud 😉
There’s a fascinating book by Bill Bryson called ‘English: The Mother Tongue and how it got that way’ that deals with the various changes to the language over the past millenia or so in a well thought out and very well explained manner.
It’s been over 30 years since I first read it and I still recall some passages from it, maybe I need to go reread it yet again.
A little addle-pated this morning, that title should be ‘The Mother Tongue-English and how it got that way’