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Research by David Ball, 2020
Cyril Wallace Pliny Hornsby Wright

1891 Census. Age 4 lives with Pliny Wright father and Susan Wright mother at Chiselhurst.

1901 Census. Age 14 lives with his mother and father at Rushden.

1911 Census. Age 24 lives with is wife Sarah and two sons Leslie age 5 and Horace age 4 at 19 East Grove Rushden. He is a bootmaker.

Army Service. In 1914 he would have been 27. Despite his magnificent name I cannot identify him on any medal roll or Medal Index Card.

Birth registered 3Q 1886 at Newport Pagnell Vol 3a page 716.

Marriage registered 1Q 1905 at Wellingborough Vol 3b page 213 to Sarah Charles.

Died 4 February 1924, age 37, buried at Bulford Church Cemetery.

Probate was granted:

Excerpt from SAINTS AT WAR for Rushden Project

Buckinghamshire- born Cyril Wallace Pliny Hornsby Wright moved to Rushden as a child and was living there with his wife and family before leaving Northants for Bulford Camp. He would continue to live at the camp in Rushden House, until he died of pulmonary tuberculosis, in 1934, aged only 37. His death certificate recorded his occupation as “professional cricketer” but that hardly explains what he was doing on the camp.

The 1911 Census had listed his occupation as bootmaker, as befitted a resident of the cobblers’ county. But, no matter how many thousands of boots might have required attention at Bulford, we have no evidence of his cobbling there. His family believes him to have been one of the groundsmen; and there was certainly a lot of ground to be tended.

He was for the Saints literally a man for all seasons: the only man to play, both in war leagues and friendlies, across the four war-seasons and in the Victory Cup. It’s a record that merits display in the table, below.

Table: the guest record of Cyril Wallace Pliny Hornsby Wright, 1914-19

1915-16  In April 1916, Cyril made three guest appearances, two of them in friendlies. One of these was the 7-0 defeat at Portsmouth on the afternoon when the two clubs played two simultaneous matches at their two grounds.

1916-17  Cyril made four London Combination appearances in the Spring.  In the last of them, a 4-0 away defeat by Spurs, goalkeeper Cooper was injured and left the field for 15 minutes. No prizes for guessing who assumed the goalkeeper’s jersey.

1917-18  Although he made only three league appearances, Cyril played in 15 friendly matches, including successive 10-goal hauls in March. In the second of those goalfests – 10-3 v Remount Depot – he played in the unaccustomed position of centre-forward and helped himself to four goals.

For good measure, he rounded up a side from Salisbury Plain, variously billed as a Salisbury Plain XI or the C.W Wright XI, which won 4-1 at The Dell in October.

1918-19  Cyril featured in seven league matches and 10 friendlies, including a 1-1 draw at Reading, in which he kept goal, and the Victory Cup. In a run of four friendly appearances in November/December, he played in three different positions – left-back, right-half and centre-forward – and scored from each of them.

His total of appearances, over the four-war seasons, was 15 league matches and 27 friendlies.


This account of how Cyril Wright, a sporting all-rounder from Rushden, became a record-achieving guest of Southampton FC in the First World War is reproduced with permission from SAINTS AT WAR (due to be published in 2021). 

The Rushden Project has helped the book’s authors with information on two other players:
Tom Jaques of Rushden Windmills and Eric Tomkins of Northampton Town.

For details of the book, visit <>

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