Members of the Bradford City Supporters Club paid tribute on 22nd May 2018 to their former footbal player Sgt. Jimmy Speirs, KIA 20 August 1917, buried at Dochy Farm New British Cemetery. The RBL Scotland Passchendaele was present here and received a gift from the supporters club.
Op 22 mei 2018 brachten leden van de Bradford City Supporters Club een eerbetoon aan hun voormalige speler Sgt. Jimmy Speirs, gesneuveld 20 augustsus 1917, begraven op Dochy Farm New British Cemetery. Het RBL Scotland Passchendaele was hierbij aanwezig en ontving een gift van de supportersclub.
Scottish footballer Jimmy Speirs, pictured in his days at Bradford City (1911) (photo: public domain)
James Hamilton Speirs was born on the 22 March 1886 in the Govan area of Glasgow the 5th of 6 children of James Hamilton Speirs and Janet Shields Speirs, nee McLean. By 1901 the family had moved to Govan Hill where Jimmy worked as a clerk. It was in the Govanhill area that his footballing talent first came to be shown. At the age of 19 he joined Glasgow Rangers and then Clyde before moving south to sign for Bradford City in July 1909, making his debut against Manchester United on 1st September. Speirs was described as ‘a cultured and scheming inside-right’ who averaged a goal every two games during his Scottish career. In March 1908 Speirs won his only international cap for Scotland in a match against Wales. At City he played 86 League games scoring 29 times before moving to Leeds City (United) in December 1912 for a then huge fee of £1400. After a further 73 League games and 32 goals, Speirs played his last match in the final game of the 1914-15 season. Despite being married with two young children, he returned to Glasgow and volunteered to join the Cameron Highlanders and enlisted on 17 May 1915. Conscription was still over a year away and even then he would have been exempt through being married with a young family. In March 1916 Corporal Speirs was posted to France. He won the Military Medal for bravery in May 1917 during the Second Battle of Arras, though unfortunately the citation has not survived, and was then promoted to Sergeant. Later that year, shortly after returning from Scotland on leave Jimmy was killed on 20 August during the Battle Passchendaele, Speirs was reported wounded and missing, with his widow eventually being informed that he had died on or shortly after that date.
Jimmy Speirs is buried at Dochy Farm New British Cemetery Langemark, Belgium. The grave has received a new headstone and for the first time in 90 years his name is spelt correctly. It had been spelt Spiers, an error that had been made on his enrolment form when he first joined the army.
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