John George Will

9 mars 2018

John George Will (died on 25 March 1917, aged 24) was a Scottish rugby union player. He played for Cambridge University RFC and was capped for Scotland in 1912-14.

Will had played in the last match before the war, the Calcutta Cup match at Inverleith (Edinburgh), alongside James Huggan who died in 1914, and Frederick Harding Turner.

Lieutenant John George Will, Leinster Regiment, attached Royal Flying Corps, was killed during an air fight on the Arras front on March 25, 1917, aged 24. He was educated at a private Preparatory School and at Merchant Taylors’ School from 1906-11, and Downing College, Cambridge, from 1911-14.
At school he was for one year in the XI and for three in the XV as stand-off half ; he won the School Quarter Mile in 532/5 (the school record), and also the Hundred, the Half, the Long Jump, and the Hurdles. At the Public School Sports he won the Quarter and the Hundred, and there is no doubt that in his best days he had ideal football pace, which is so often the case with quarter-mile runners. On going to Cambridge he played in the trial games at left wing three-quarter ; but in his first year, 1911, as stand-off half against Oxford. In 1912 and 1913 he played at left wing three-quarter in the Inter-’Varsity, and it was in that position he played for Scotland in 1912 in all matches, and in 1914 in all matches except against France. He was Captain-elect of Cambridge for 1914, and would have led them against Oxford in December of that year but for the war. Will joined the Honourable Artillery Company in August 1914, and went to the Front with them in September 1914. He took a commission in the Worcesters in March 1915, and was transferred to the Leinsters in April 1915.

Wounded near Hooge in August 1915, he joined the Royal Flying Corps in November 1915, going out to Egypt as Observer in November 1915. Returning to Britain in June 1916 to take his Pilot’s certificate, Will was an Instructor at Dover during the winter of 1916-17, returning to France in February 1917. He was promoted Lieutenant in August 1916. On March 25, 1917, Will was attacked by twelve German Albatrosses while escorting an observing machine. On his return journey he went to the assistance of a comrade who was in trouble, and drawing the enemy’s fire, enabled his friend to escape, while his life was sacrificed in the noblest possible way.

He was killed in World War I an air battle over Arras, serving as a Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps. He is listed on the Arras Flying Services Memorial.

He played against France to Inverleith (scotland) in 1912, scotland win 31-3.