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Burnley FC And The Great War

11 November 2014

One hundred years after the outbreak of the Great War, Burnley Football Club and Burnley FC Former Players’ Association have paid tribute to the men of Turf Moor who made the ultimate sacrifice in, or as a result of, the deadliest conflict in history.
On Armistice Day, we remember them.
Alfred Lorimer
Born in Longridge, Lancs in 1892, Alf Lorimer was working as a tailor in Burnley and playing in the Burnley Tuesday League when he was given a trial in the Clarets’ reserve team in February 1914. He had previously played for Preston’s reserves but appeared in his first Central League game for Burnley on the right wing in Burnley’s 2-1 win against Southport Central. He made such a favourable impression that he was immediately offered a professional contract.
He was fast, with excellent ball control and showed every sign of becoming a top professional player.
Sadly he never got the chance to fulfil his potential and died in Egypt whilst serving his country as an RAMC reservist.

Private Alfred Lorimer
240 Royal Army Medical Corps
Died in Egypt 1 February 1915, aged 23
Buried in Ismailia War Cemetery in Northern Egypt.

John Thomas Heaton
John Heaton was born in Padiham in March 1894 and first appeared at Turf Moor in a pre-season trial match as a left winger in August 1914.

Private John Thomas Heaton
13628 1st Coldstream Guards
Killed in action in France 16 August 1915, aged 21
Buried in Vermelles British Cemetery, near Lens in Northern France.

William Pickering
Centre forward William Pickering was born in Glasgow in 1894 and joined Burnley from a Glasgow junior club in August 1912. He was a prolific scorer in Burnley’s reserve team in his first two seasons at Turf Moor and made his First Division debut against Liverpool at Turf Moor in March 1914. Deputising for the great Bert Freeman at centre forward he made an excellent impression, scoring in a 5-2 victory. It was just six weeks before the teams would meet again in the FA Cup final at the Crystal Palace, with the Clarets again victorious after a 1-0 win, although William Pickering did not play in the final.
In December 1914 Burnley reached the final of the Lancashire Senior Cup after victories over Manchester United (5-0), Liverpool (5-1 at Anfield) and Blackburn Rovers (2-1). Pickering played in all these ties, scoring one goal, against United. Prior to the final, against Rochdale at Hyde Road, Manchester, it was announced by Burnley that Bert Freeman would play at centre forward in a strong Clarets’ team. However Freeman insisted that William Pickering should lead Burnley’s attack and the young man stepped in and seized his chance, scoring twice in a 4-1 victory for the Clarets.
Altogether he appeared in 14 League and FA Cup games for Burnley, scoring six times. His final goal for the Clarets came in the very last League match to be played at Turf Moor before the suspension of the Football League, a 2-1 victory against Sunderland in April 1915.

Private William Pickering
S/12434 1st Seaforth Highlanders
Died of wounds in Iraq 9 November 1917, aged 23
Buried in Baghdad North Gate Cemetery, Iraq.

William Johnson
Half back William Johnson was born in Aldershot in 1890 into a military family, his father had been in the Army for more than 20 years and had served in the Boer War. His brother was also a serving soldier.
After the family had lived in India for a time, they returned to England and settled in Burnley.
William Johnson was an all-round sportsman, excelling at football and cricket, and joined Burnley FC, initially as a trialist, in November 1911. He signed professional terms in April 1912.
He played regularly in the Central League over the next few years and was a member of Burnley’s reserve side that finished third in the league and won the famous Burnley Hospital Cup in 1913.

Lance-Corporal William Johnson
41704 4th Kings Own Liverpool Regiment
Killed in action in Belgium 20 November 1917, aged 27
Buried in Dochy Farm New British Cemetery,
Langemark-Poelkapelle, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Jonathan Brown
John Brown was born in Clayton le Moors in 1889 and joined Burnley from Great Harwood in December 1913.
He was a half back, essentially a reserve, and played just one senior game for Burnley, replacing the injured Billy Watson at left half in a 2-1 win against Aston Villa at Turf Moor in February 1915.
He was a regular in the Burnley reserve side that finished fourth in the Central League in 1914-15 and was also in the Clarets’ reserve side that overcame Blackburn Rovers reserves 2-0 in the final of the East Lancashire Charity Cup in April 1915 at Turf Moor.

Private Jonathan Brown
34944 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment
Killed in action in France 6 November 1918.
Buried in Maubeuge-Centre Cemetery, Nord, France

Edward (Teddy) Hodgson
Born in Chorley in 1886 Teddy Hodgson was one of Burnley’s most influential players of the pre-war era, as well as one of the most popular.
He was a late arrival into League football, moving to Turf Moor from Lancashire Combination club Chorley in 1911 at the age of 25.
He became a first team regular almost immediately and his intelligent inside forward play was a key factor in Burnley’s promotion back to the First Division in 1913. He scored 17 goals during the Clarets’ memorable 1913-14 campaign, including five in the FA Cup run that ended in glorious triumph. Teddy Hodgson it was who laid on Bert Freeman’s match winner against Liverpool in the final at the Crystal Palace.
Hodgson’s consistency had led to his selection for the Football League, although his only representative honour ended in a 3-2 defeat by the Scottish League, with the match played at Turf Moor.
As the clouds of war darkened over Europe Teddy Hodgson joined the Army, although he turned out for Burnley in the wartime leagues whenever possible. In 1919 he returned to Germany to serve with the Allied Army of occupation but tragically he developed a kidney infection and he was transferred to hospital in England where his condition rapidly deteriorated and he passed away.
Teddy Hodgson played 137 senior games for Burnley and scored 62 goals.

Sergeant Edward Hodgson
79012 52nd Manchester Regiment
Died in Whalley Military Hospital, 4 August 1919, aged 33.
Buried in Burnley Cemetery.

His war is over, his sun is set,
But those who loved him, will never forget.

Acknowledgements and thanks for additional research are due to the following:
Peter Briggs,
Mike Smith,

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