Regular 'Hamlet Historian' contributor Mishi D. Morath gives his verdict...
It’s always hard to review something when you have a keen interest, indeed, love of the subject yourself. It’s even harder to be objective when the author is a long-standing personal friend. But nevertheless that is what I shall attempt to do with this much welcomed latest addition to the very lightweight Dulwich Hamlet bookshelf.
As stated, I’ve known Roger for many years, in fact I first met him at the annual conference of the Football Supporters Association, which was a forerunner of the current Football Supporters’ Federation, way back in the late Eighties. At the time Roger was a young university student at Liverpool University, supporting one of the local Scouse non-league teams Prescot Cables, and so he gravitated toward me to chat , being a fellow non-league fan. This began a friendship that continues to this day, which initially strengthened when he moved to London after completing his degree, and as a result of our chance meeting started following The Hamlet in our promotion season under Jim Cannon, which was 1991/92.
One thing I am acutely aware of, is that Roger is far more academic than me, to say the least, so I do feel a bit overawed whenever I read one of his pieces in the ‘Hamlet Historian’, but I am pleased to say that this booklet was immensely enjoyable…and a pleasant surprise. Surprising in the sense in that I expected it to be a simple re-hash of his original, similar piece published in the magazine a decade earlier. But it is so much more than that. Mysteries about the identities of a couple of players on the official Dulwich Hamlet War Memorial have been solved…with erroneous accidents on it having been rectified thanks to his tireless and diligent research. This booklet is so much more that, though. A wealth of information about the war records, with potted details about their relevance to The Hamlet, included. From a purely selfish, desperate for more information point of view, the only slight disappointment I have is that there was not more space, if the information is out there, on the players’ service & careers in either the Pink & Blue for the football, or the cricketing whites of our great Club.
To be honest I’m just delighted that we now have full names for all of our fallen on the Memorial, thanks to the sterling work of Roger, to have potted biographies on all of them is truly an achievement, and something for Deason to be proud of. We owe a great debt to all of our players who made the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War, and now, a century later, we owe an immeasurably smaller, but equally important in its own way, debt to the author for enabling the almost forgotten sacrifices of our old players & members to be recorded for posterity, and recalled, for the current & future generations of Dulwich Hamlet supporters.
And whilst all credit goes to him for his conscientious and meticulous research, a pat on the back too in the direction of Jack McInroy, the editor of the ‘Hamlet Historian’ magazine, for publishing it.
Together they have insisted that all profits from “When Shall The Glory Fade?” be donated to the ongoing “Inter City 125” fundraising campaign, which has the sole aim of bringing in the £8,000 needed to take the current Dulwich Hamlet team over to Germany, for a special 125th anniversary match to celebrate the founding of not just our Club, but that of our close friends from Hamburg, namely Altona 93.
There are, I personally think totally misguidedly, one or two Hamlet fans who are uneasy with this publication being used to fundraise a modern football tour for our Club to Germany. It has been mentioned to me that it might not be appropriate to use a booklet about the First World War, as it might ‘offend’ those from Altona in some way. It’s also been suggested to me that it’s not an appropriate way to raise funds, as they had relatives die on both World Wars.
To which I would counter, please move on. We cannot change history, but we can acknowledge the part our players paid with their lives for in it, making the ultimate sacrifice. Our founder ‘Pa’ Wilson is on the cover, unveiling the Memorial, in the early 1920’s. And I am sure, if there is such a place as heaven above, that he will be looking down approvingly and appreciatively on Roger’s tome of remembrance.
This will be the first time that The Hamlet First team will have taken on Altona over in Hamburg, since Edgar Kail starred there against them in the Easter tour of 1925. If reconciliation on a football pitch was acceptable a mere seven years after the Great War finished, then I am sure as hell certain that having a booklet that pays its respects to our people who died in the Great War, to help fund another game nigh on a hundred years after that terrible conflict ended, shouldn’t really be a problem.
“When Shall Their Glory Fade” by Roger Deason.
Published by the ‘Hamlet Historian’
On sale today, at Dulwich Hamlet versus Hendon, at Champion Hill Stadium.
Updated 12:13 - 7 Nov 2015 by Mishi Morath
Minimum £3 donation, with all profit donated to the ‘Inter City 125’ fund.