The players of Celtic football club also enlisted in the war effort.
The club contained some players who possibly were employed in restricted occupations, most probably mining, and others who may have been married or older than the run of the mill volunteer. The dispute concerning Irish home rule also hindered some from joining the British army.
While the idea of fighting on the British side caused problems for some, many others interpreted the German threat as more dangerous and wished to be involved from the start. These men were no less loyal to Ireland than those who refused to fight in this conflict. It is only recently that such men have begun to receive the respect they deserve.
There is a story concerning Kitchener and Carson which show how personal relationships can have a lasting effect on the life of a nation. When war was declared in 1914 Lord Kitchener approached Lord Carson and persuaded him to enrol his small army of volunteers as part of the 'new army.' Carsons men went on to be the backbone of the 36th Division, and won several Victoria Crosses during the conflict.
However it is little realised that Connely also attempted to put his men at the disposal of the British, with the hope that this would influence a future British government after the war when it once again considered the cause of Irish Home Rule. Kitchener, a fellow aristocrat and friend of Carson declined the offer. Had there been a more distant relationship between these two today's Irish situation may have been very different.
Many in Ireland, on both sides, felt that Home Rule or not the greater danger was from an aggressive Germany and enlisted in the British armed forces. Celtic, who possessed a very successful team at the time, contributed several players to the cause.
Not all survived.
Before the war William Angus played for Celtics reserves. He moved back to the juniors before the war began. Read about him on the Victoria Cross Winners page. Victoria Cross Winners
Other players who served connected to Celtic
/9377 Pte John McLaughlin. 10/4th Battalion Highland Light infantry. Enlisted in 1914. Killed in action 10th May 1917. Buried at Etaples Military Cemetery. XVIII. L.
18.20242 Serjeant P. Slavin 2nd. Royal Scots. Also played 9 games Motherwell. Killed in action at the Somme on 13th November 1916.
Buried in Serre Road Cemetery. No 2.1. K. 5.
30450 Pte. Robert Craig. South Wales Borderers. Born Beith, Ayrshire 2nd Feb 1888. Parents William & Elizabeth Craig. 20, Reform Street, Beith, Ayrshire. Played for many clubs. Died of wounds in Boulogne 19th April 1918.
Lies in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery. IX. A. 3.
285250 Pte. Peter Johnstone. 6th Seaforth Highlanders. Played in the 1914 Cup Final. Celtic beating Hibernian 4-1 after a 0-0 draw. Johnstone joined the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders in 1916, transferred to the Seaforths in 1917. Killed in action at Arras 16th May 1916. Aged only 26. Commemorated on Arras memorial, Bay 8.
201979 Gunner Donald McLeod. Royal Field Artillery. Played for Celtic between 1902-1908. Also played for his local side, Stenhousemuir and Middlesborough. Killed in action 6th October 1917. Left a wife and three children.
Buried in Dozingham Military Cemetery. V. 97. (Passchendaele) Poperinge. Belgium.
PS/10898 Lance Cpl. Leigh Roose. 9th Royal Fusiliers. Welsh international goalkeeper. Played only one game for Celtic. Killed at the Somme 7th October 1916. Theipval Memorial Pier & Face 8C, 9A and 16A.
Joe O'Kane Royal Engineers. No details.
Archie McMullen or McMillan. 14th Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders.?
Killed in action. No details
Joe Cassidy : Fife & Forfar Yeomanry & 2nd Black Watch.
On loan at Ayr Utd 1914-16. Later with Bolton, Cardiff, Dundee Clyde, Ballymena, Morton, Dundalk.
Michael Gilhooly : Highland Light Infantry. Also played for Clydebank, Sunderland, Bradford City, Q.P.R.
John McMaster : Service Corps. Though a slight deafness made him exempt he enlisted in 1916 as a driver for the Motor Transport Section.
Joe Dodds. : Royal Field Artillery 1917.
Andy McAtee : Royal Field Artillery 1917.
Thanks to James P. Craig & Margaret McCuaig Celtic F.C. for information.