A moment of silence was held before Boxing Day’s epic Heavy Woollen rugby derby in memory of the district’s players who died during WWI.
Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams players, the 2,000-strong crowd and representatives of First World War commemoration group Project Bugle took part in the tribute before the kick-off at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
The remembrance marked the start of Project Bugle’s work to compile each fallen player’s story into a book – being put together by life-long Bulldogs fan Kevin McQuinn – which will be presented to both clubs next year.
Project leader Tony Dunlop, who provided a voiceover to the ceremony, said: “It was magic, it really was. Both clubs embraced the occasion.
“Simply seeing two sets of players lining up, it really was nice and it was absolutely followed with dignity.
“The whole ground was in silence.”
Mr McQuinn and Royal British Legion member Alan Roberts laid a wreath before the minute’s silence. They were accompanied by Bulldogs chairman Kevin Nicholas and his Rams counterpart, Andrew Farrow.
The Bugle members later chatted with Mr Farrow, who showed his enthusiasm for the project.
“I am very, very confident now that we are going to do something rather special for both clubs,” said Mr Dunlop.
Some of the players who died in the conflict were not even from Batley or Dewsbury, because teams were allowed to sign men up from areas like Wakefieldto fill the spaces left by lads who had enlisted.
The first to die was Batley player Rifleman John Charles Tindall, of the 1st/8th Battalion of West Yorkshire (Prince of Wales Own) Regiment. He was killed on May 9, 1915.
Project Bugle is now asking anyone descended from the players or with any information at all to share it. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.