As we are all too poignantly aware, war memorials decorate schools, universities, villages and clubhouses throughout the land, but rugby fanatic and freelance journalist Stephen Cooper was intrigued that although 72 of the 350 who served from Rosslyn Park in London died in action, there was no memorial to them in their old rugby club.
In The Final Whistle Cooper traces the lives of 15 of these hitherto nameless ones, among their number a poet, a playwright and a perfumer, whose war experiences took them to the Western Front, to Mesopotamia, to Turkey, Italy and Dublin. From diverse backgrounds and with diverse war experiences, they are united by their love of rugby, and their gallantry in the face of war; together they paint a portrait in miniature of the human face of the Great War.
‘I cannot recommend [this book] enough.’ (Fergal Keane)
Winner of the Rugby Book of the Year Award 2013.
Cooper, having worked in advertising and as a freelance travel journalist, now runs The Parachute Regiment Charity established to support soldiers of The Parachute Regiment and their families, as well as Airborne Forces members who need help. The festival will give the profits from this talk to his charity.
Sunday, October 26. 11:30am. The Beacon, Wantage. Tickets: £7