This film is part of Free

Army VS Empire Rugger Match

The Army rugby squad take on the Empire team in this fast-paced World War 2 match at Richmond Athletic Ground

Amateur film 1940 2 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for London's Screen Archives


Strapping lads struggle to regain composure as they pose for team photos before a tense game of rugby on a chilly day in Richmond. Aside from scenes of mud-splattered battle, the filmmaker captures the cheering spectators, many of whom are military personnel. The charity match took place on 10 February 1940 in aid of the Army recreational equipment fund.

Made-up of notable international players including Wales scrum-half Haydn Tanner and England wing Alexander Obolensky, the Empire team lost 9-27. A mere fortnight later, thirteen of the Army team went on to beat France at the Parc des Princes with an impressive score of 36-3. This film is from the collection of Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre