A reminder of sport and sacrifice coming together is now permanently on show following the unveiling of the Rose and Poppy Gates at Twickenham stadium.
The Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Nisar Malik was at the home of English rugby at a special ceremony to see the special commemorative gates on display for the first time, honouring the past sacrifices of former England rugby captain Ronald Poulton Palmer.
Poulton Palmer was killed at Ypres in the First World War in 1915 and the gates will also honour fellow rugby and army colleagues who sacrificed their lives in conflicts around the world.
Ahead of the annual Army v Navy match at the weekend, which saw both sides share the spoils in a 29-29 draw, Hounslow’s mayor joined other dignitaries and guests to see the gates officially opened by Rugby Football Union [RFU] president and former England international, Jason Leonard OBE, together with First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones, president of the Royal Navy Rugby Union.
At the foot of the gates which were designed by artist and sculptor Harry Gray, are 15 replicas of the roses that were on the shirts of the 1914 England rugby team when Poulton Palmer played.
Each of the roses – the national flower of the sport in England – are cast in bronze with poppies forming the top part of the gates to represent the armed forces. The gates stand under the West Stand’s gold lion and will be part of the route the teams walk through to matches.
Seven of the 1914 England Grand Slam-winning team and thousands of other rugby players at different levels of the game, left their sporting fields for the battles fields, with some like Poulton Palmer, never to return.
Cllr Malik said: “This is a marvellous commemoration of the sacrifice for their country these rugby players made and to all those in the rugby family, who have lost their lives in wars over the centuries.
“We will never forget them and these gates will serve as a lasting reminder of the sacrifices made and ensure their memories live on in a place where they also shone brightly.”
Hounslow Council was a proud host of the Rugby World Cup 2015 and used the tournament to help people of all ages across the borough get more active and into sport.