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Edgar Mobbs

Edgar Mobbs

Years: 1905-1913
Position: Wing
Appearances: 234
England caps: 7


There is one name in the history of the Saints that stands as much for gallantry, bravery, leadership and heroism as playing ability and statistics - Edgar Mobbs.

Not only was Mobbs an inspiration for club, district and country, but upon being refused a First World War officer commission on account of being too old, he formed his own battalion, and died in battle in 1917.

He came to the Saints at the start of the 1905/06 season after previously playing for Olney and the Weston Turks. Though already marked down as a player with potential Mobbs did not play against New Zealand days after joining - although he did face the All Blacks for Bedford later on the same tour.

Mobbs became Saints captain in 1907/08, a position he held until 1913. He took to the responsibility naturally, and the following season was selected to lead the Midlands against Australia. The 16-5 Midlands victory was the Wallabies' only defeat on tour, after which Mobbs earned a national call-up and scored England's only try against the same Australian XV.

His club exploits continued to mount, 1909/10 saw him finish as joint top try-scorer with 29. In October 1910 Mobbs led Saints to only their second victory at Welford Road and in February 1911 he scored a try in a memorable 18-3 win away at Swansea. During this time he also helped England to their first Home International Championship in 18 seasons and in his final international in 1910 Mobbs led the national side to victory in France.

Mobbs retired from playing in 1913. This was, however, the start of his legend. Upon the outbreak of World War One, undeterred by the denial of an officer commission, he formed what became known as the 'Sportsman's Battalion.' 264 men, led by Mobbs, largely made up the 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, of whom only 85 survived the war.

Mobbs was not among them, having been gunned down leading an assault on a machine gun post during the Third Battle of Ypres. His body was never found, but his legacy lived on.

In 1921 thousands turned out for the unveiling of the Mobbs Memorial in Northampton's Market Square. That year also saw the first Mobbs Memorial Match between the East Midlands (more recently Bedford) and the Barbarians, a fixture that has been played ever since.

Mobbs was inducted into Saints' Hall of Fame in 2005.