Hearts at War 1914-1919
- Tom Purdie
15th August 2014
In November 1914, Hearts led the Scottish First Division. In the middle of a debate about the morality of continuing professional football during the First World War and a campaign to shame footballers into joining up, eleven Hearts players enlisted in Sir George McCrae’s battalion on 25 November. Hearts supporters and players and supporters from myriad other clubs flocked to join as well. Officially known as 16th Royal Scots, this unit was the first to be described as a footballers’ battalion.
On 1 July 1916, 15th and 16th Royal Scots attacked near the village of Contalmaison in the Somme Valley. Three Hearts players would die that day; seven would be killed in total during the war, and many more would be wounded.
In this book, Tom Purdie tells the story of the Hearts players and supporters who served their country during the Great War and those who were left behind in Edinburgh who, with unstinting effort and sacrifice, helped to bring the club through that extremely trying time in its proud history.