This week’s Macclesfield Express includes on page 27 a report of a former England rugby star who died serving his country in the First World War. Leonard Haigh, from Bollington, played for Manchester Rugby Club, captaining the team in 1910. He also played seven times for England in 1910 and 1911, including the inaugural international at Twickenham against Wales.
When war broke out Leonard, a motor enthusiast, signed up to the Army Service Corps as an officer cadet. While still in officer training at Woolwich, he developed double pneumonia and died on 6 August, 1916. He was buried in Pott Shrigley (St. Christopher) Churchyard and is remembered on Bollington War Memorial and in St Oswald’s Church, Bollington.
Leonard is one of 27 fallen England players remembered in a document on the England Rugby website as part of a four-year programme of events and activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War. He is also remembered every year when Manchester Rugby Club awards the Haigh Cup to the player making the most 1st XV appearances.
Leonard’s son John, a Pilot Officer in the RAF, died in October 1939, during the Second World War and was buried in the same grave as his father, leading to the unusual Commonwealth War Graves Commission grave marker bearing two names.