6th Jul, 2022

Coventry rugby legend who was oldest surviving England player dies aged 103

Felix Nobes 6th Jun, 2018 Updated: 6th Jun, 2018

A COVENTRY rugby legend who was England’s oldest surviving international has passed away at the age of 103.

Harry Walker died peacefully in hospital last night according to an announcement from his former club this morning.

A Coventry Rugby spokesperson said: “It is with deep sadness that Coventry Rugby reports the passing of club legend Harry Walker.

“His name was synonymous with Coventry and Warwickshire rugby for his outstanding contribution to the game, both on and off the pitch, over many decades.”

He was a Coventry schoolboy who decided to create his own rugby team – the John Gulson Old Boys – when he left school at 14.

He made his first appearance for Coventry at the age of 17, as a flanker in the second squad.

After two games he was converted to prop and he broke into the first team at the age of 18 and was a mainstay for around 20 years.

He was a machine tool fitter by trade and had his England career cut short by World War II.

It is thought he would have gained many more than his nine England caps if the war had not taken place.

He competed for England in both the 1947 and 1948 Five Nations tournaments, with his other cap coming against Australia in 1948.

He played for the Midlands against New Zealand at Coundon Road, Australia at Villa Park and South Africa at Highfield Road.

He made 30 county championship appearances for Warwickshire and also played for the Barbarians.

After retiring as a player at the age of 37 in 1952, Harry went on to fill major roles at Coventry Rugby up to president.

He was most recently appointed club patron.

And as match secretary for the County, he saw Warwickshire win four County Championship titles.

The club statement added: “He continued to give the current crop of players the benefit of his strong and forthright views about the game in the bar afterwards.

“The game is all the poorer for his loss, and the club extends its deepest sympathy to Harry’s family and friends.”

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