Sgt Alfred Hobday

1st Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers

Alf Hobday played football for Tottenham Hotspurs, who have kindly sent us these details of Alf's life up to and including 16th June 1915

Alf Hobday had already served as a full time soldier prior to joining our professional ranks back in May, 1913. He made 24 appearances in our colours the following season before returning to the forces. His only taste of first team action came in a London FA Challenge Cup semi final against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. He played at full back in the 2-1 victory. His other games were for our second XI in the South Eastern League, Middlesex Professional Cup and friendly matches.

Alfred Hobday was born at Blackhill, Consett, Co. Durham on December 12, 1886. He followed the family route of working at the Consett Ironworks until enlisting in the Army as Private Alfred Hobday, No. 377 during the early months of 1905. Stationed at Fenham Barracks, Newcastle, the regimental home of The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, he served with the 1st Battalion. Soon after joining up he was on a troopship bound for India.  At the end of January, 1906 Alf moved on from Phoenix Camp, Vacoas, Mauritius to Fort William, Calcutta and on July 5, 1906 he played as goalkeeper for the

Battalion team. By August, 1907 he was playing at right full back and during November, 1907 his Battalion moved on from Calcutta to Peshawur. They relocated to Matta Moghul Khel in April, 1908 and took part in the Mohmand Expedition along the North West Frontier. By February, 1910 his ‘C’ Company had moved to Rawal Pindi, Punjab where they won the Paget Cup. Around the same time Alf scored five goals whilst playing at centre forward for the 5th Fusiliers team as they won the Royal Hussars’ Cup, a trophy they retained in 1911. He also played cricket for ‘C’ Company and came second in the hurdles event at the regimental sports day. Alf received the Indian General Service Medal.

On returning to civilian life at Consett in 1912, Alf worked for the North Eastern Railway and turned out for local clubs Consett Swifts, West Stanley and Allendale. He played as a trialist for our reserve team against Tunbridge Wells on April 26, 1913 and joined our full time staff the following month. During April, 1914 we made a five guinea (£5.25) donation to Allendale for his services.

As an Army Reservist, Alf was called up during August, 1914 and rejoined the 1st Battalion as a Sergeant. Amongst the first forces to be shipped to France, he was back on leave by the end of November when he called in to see his Spurs colleagues on his way back to the north east.

He returned to the front and was promoted to King’s Sergeant after saving the life of a wounded officer whilst under heavy fire. He was awarded the “Croix de guerre” – the highest French military award – and recommended for the Victoria Cross. Killed in action at the battle of Bellewaarde in Railway Wood, near Ypres, Belgium on June 16, 1915, he was initially reported as wounded and missing and then reported killed during December, 1915. He has no known grave whilst his name is on panels of the Menin Gate War Memorial, Ypres.

Posthumous awards were made to his family of the “1914 Star” medal, Victory Medal and British War Medal.

Kind permission of Tottenham Hotspurs FC