From Stark’s to the Somme to Hall of Fame

MacRae's Battalion with Jimmy Todd (second left, back row)  and Jimmy Scott (middle row, right) pictured in October 1915
MacRae's Battalion with Jimmy Todd (second left, back row) and Jimmy Scott (middle row, right) pictured in October 1915
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The first inductees into this year’s Raith Rovers Hall of Fame will mark a significant and poignant anniversary.

Two of the seven first team players who signed up for McCrae’s Battalion and lost their lives during WW1 will be inducted - on the centenary of their deaths.

Forwards Jimmy Todd and Jimmy Scott will be inducted into the Hall of Fame together.

McCrae’s Battalion was set up by Sir George McRae, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, who made it his mission to raise a battalion of 1000 men in a week.

It became known as the Sportsman’s Battalion as 13 Hearts players also signed up, along with six from Falkirk.

In total 17 served from Raith Rovers via conscription but the original seven were volunteers. As well as the two Jimmys, James H. Logan, club captain, defenders George McLay, Willie Porter, Willie Lavery and striker Jock Rattray joined.

Jimmy Todd died of his wounds on March 12, 1916 shortly after being hit by a large fragment of shell in the chest. He was the first of the pro footballers to be killed.

His grave is in the town of Erquinghem near to Armentieres.

Jimmy Scott was killed early on July 1, 1916 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He has no known grave, but it is believed his remains may be in Gordon’s Dump - a cemetery close to the village of Contalmaison where an annual pilgrimage is made to honour those who died

George McLay lost his life in 2017 and will be inducted next year.

Alistair Cameron, who is a member of the organising committee, along with Willie Macgregor, Allan Crow and new member John Greer, said: “They absolutely deserve their inductions,’’

“It was actually Ally Gourlay who pushed this through before he passed away and really it’s just a continuation of what the club did with the ‘Remember’ jerseys back in 2014.”

Alistair said that plans are well underway for November’s sold event at the Adam Smith Theatre.

“We’re determined to put on a good show and it’s been made so much easier with John coming on board.

“He was Ally’s choice to replace him and we’re delighted to have him join us.”