As a club we are proud of our history, it is surprisingly well documented with photos from as far back as the late 1800s adorning the wall, match day programmes and fixture cards from decades ago stand testament to a time when Streatham-Croydon was one of the top clubs in the country. Just past the photos, the memorabilia, the gold lettered honours boards and trophies, there is something some members are most proud of, it’s a simple plaque bearing the names of members who gave their lives in the two world wars, the majority during 1914-1918, names that speak of a different time.
..…..his story took us away from double checked war office records and towards a place where myth, stories and faded memories mingled with the truth
A while back we decided to see what we could find out about the people behind the names and we came across some remarkable tales. First we discovered is that it’s almost impossible to be certain of anything, the very nature of war creates a fog which persists, despite the huge effort made to establish facts. .. also, we claim them as ours purely because they are listed on the board but during our research it turned out other clubs also listed them as members, as did local schools and old boy teams.
A prime example of conflicting information involves perhaps one of the most amazing stories we discovered, that of Arthur James Fisher. Listed on our memorial as being in the Royal Airforce but the RAF was still two years away. Fisher’s war was spent in the 21st Sqdn of the Royal Flying Corps.
It’s exciting when you begin to bring these names to life, as you discover he was from Clapham, he was just 21, who his parents were, and where he is buried. This is info that is reasonably easy to find if you have a name and a date of birth but looking for his story took us away from double checked war office records and towards a place where myth, stories and faded memories mingled with the truth
They say if you want to hide something, put in on the 2nd page of google….we knew that sometimes page 48 of google had the gold
As with around half the names on the memorial, we were not getting much further than his general war record and while this let us glimpse the man behind the name, we had found some amazing tales of others and it was a little disappointing when we hit a dead end.
They say if you want to hide something, put in on the 2nd page of google, and I’m sure that’s true but having researched our club history in the past, we knew that sometimes page 48 of google had the gold. So not wishing to give up, we lazily clicked page after page until something caught our eye, it was a almost impossible to read preview page of a book on amazon. It was detailing the career and victories of the Red Baron and to our amazment our man seemed to feature. What we read was an account claiming to describe the shooting down of one Arthur Fisher by the Baron himself. Wow, astonishing, amazing…. almost unbelievable.
Having held this golden discovery for a fleeting moment, we then had to find more evidence to support it, it wasn’t clear cut while Wikipeada doesn’t list Fisher as a victim of the Baron, ITV has ran a piece on Fisher that claimed he was and the RAF museum lists him as such. So while a lazy wiki search might say different, there is much more that supports this remarkable tale.
Our brush with history might pre-date the RAF by a couple of years but we had a little part in it’s story and along the way those disembodied names on the wall showed themselves once more and told their stories.