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Hartlepool Rovers' Diamond Jubilee Rugby Match with Bob Oakes

Rare footage of Rugby Union legend Bob Oakes and his International XV team in action against Hartlepool Rovers.

Amateur film 1939 17 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


“There is nothing quite so informal, boisterous or merry as a Hartlepool Rovers’ reunion.” So said the Northern Daily Mail of the annual tribute in Hartlepool for legendary Rugby Union player Bob Oakes and his veteran International XV team. The boozy Sunday reception pictured takes place at the mansion of the Horsleys, an elite shipping family, after the Diamond Jubilee memorial match against Hartlepool Rovers at Old Friarage Field on the Headland.

This footage was probably filmed by Neville Horsley, brother of George, who ran the important dockside cargo and timber merchants, known locally as Todd’s Yard. The family were guests at important civic events, and hosted many, such as this reunion reception for Robert “Bob” Oakes, former player with Hartlepool Rovers from 1873. He captained the team for six seasons, played for Durham and gained eight England caps. Oakes was one of the most influential figures in the history of Yorkshire Rugby Union, and Rugby Football Union President between 1933 and 34. His International XV team were known affectionately as “Bob’s Bodyguards”.