Mid Wales

Aberystwyth goalkeeper Leigh Roose WW1 plaque honour

The Aberystwyth University football team 1894-1895 Image copyright Aberystwyth University
Image caption Aberystwyth University's football team 1894-1895, with Leigh Roose third from right, in the back

A footballer who died on the Somme has been commemorated on an Aberystwyth University plaque.

Leigh Richmond Roose's name has been added to a plaque at the Old College, with the names of other students and staff killed in World War One.

He became known as one of the greatest goalkeepers of his day but was killed during fighting in 1916 aged 38.

But his name has been missing from the plaque for a century.

Louise Perkins from Aberystwyth University said: "For a century, the name of Leigh Richmond Roose has been missing from the war memorial erected by the Old Students' Association to honour those from the University who had fallen in the Great War.

"We're not sure why his name was left off but we are now making good this omission and celebrating the life of one of Aber's most colourful alumni."

Image copyright Eileen Jackson

Born in Holt, Wrexham, in 1877, the footballer came to study the arts and sciences at Aberystwyth University in 1895 and started playing in goal for Aberystwyth Town.

During his first year as a student, he was also selected for the Welsh team and according to rumour, would insist on wearing his old Aberystwyth Town shirt under his international jersey.

He played for clubs including Arsenal, Aston Villa and Sunderland.

In 1905, Mr Roose was described by the Daily Mail as one of Britain's most eligible bachelors.

After completing his studies at Aberystwyth, he studied medicine in London.

When World War One broke out in 1914, Mr Roose joined the Royal Army Medical Corps despite never completing his medical studies because of his football career.

He later transferred to the Royal Fusiliers and served in the trenches, winning the prestigious Military Medal for his bravery in fending off a flame-throwing attack by hurling grenades at the enemy, despite being wounded.

He was killed in action on 7 October 1916.

Image caption Leigh Roose in action for Stoke in about 1904

At the end of the war, the University's Old Students' Association acquired 10 Laura Place and presented it to the university in memory of staff, students and former students who had lost their lives during the conflict.

It also provided the original roll of honour which did not include Mr Roose's name - possibly because his name was misspelt on his recruitment papers and consequently on the war memorial to the missing of the Somme at Thiepval.

Tony Bates, chairman of Aberystwyth Town FC, said Mr Roose "still retains iconic status".

"He is perhaps the biggest character we have ever had the privilege to call one of our own.

"This is a fitting tribute to an exceptional goalkeeper, a friend to Aberystwyth and a war hero."

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