In August of 1914 Great Britain declared war on Germany and as a result many young men volunteered or were drafted to serve with the armed forces.
Immediately prior to the outbreak of World War One, during the period of the war and the immediate period after the cessation of the conflict in 1919 a large number of players, coaches, staff and supporters of Bradford Northern Rugby League Football Club (now the Bradford Bulls RLFC) in various ways supported the war effort.
Club records suggested that only one player had died whilst serving with the armed forces.
The Bradford Bulls Foundation (Bradford Bulls official charity) created the Birch Lane Heroes project to mark the centenary of World War One and research this contribution.
Bradford Northern played at a ground situated in Birch Lane, West Bowling, Bradford at the time of the First World War (this site is now partly covered by Bowling Park First School)
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and undertaken by staff and volunteers of the Bulls Foundation the three year project commenced in June 2014.
A list of over 270 men was compiled who had played for the club during the period 1913 to 1919. The addition of club staff and supporters brought the total numbers to be researched to around 300.
Information in respect of some of these individuals was sparse and the destruction of World War 1 military records by bombing in World War 2 reduced the list of people who could be effectively be researched to around 135.
Of these forty nine were able to be documented sufficiently to illustrate their contribution to the war effort and research revealed that a further seven players signed on by the club had died whilst serving bringing the total of deaths to eight. All these individuals are listed alphabetically to the left.
The Braford Bulls Foundation would like to thank all who have supported this project and allowed us to bring this valuable piece of the Club’s history to fruition.