First World War Mertonian Cecil Baker to be honoured at Varsity Match

Mertonian Cecil Douglas Baker (1890) is to be honoured at the Varsity Match at Twickenham next month as Oxford and Cambridge commemorate the sacrifice made in the First World War by two former rugby captains.

Cecil Baker and John Argentine Campbell were both killed in France in 1917 while on active service, and their lives are to be celebrated at Twickenham Stadium on Thursday 7 December when Oxford meet Cambridge in the 136th Varsity Match.

Baker was one of the '55 Fallen Blues' commemorated at the 2014 Varsity Match at Twickenham; he and former Fettes College and Cambridge captain John Argentine Campbell will now be made 'Varsity Match Icons' for next month's game.

Varsity Match Company spokesman Jeremy Macklin, a Cambridge Blue himself, said:

"We had a wonderful reaction to our 2014 commemoration of the 55 Fallen Blues and once again paid tribute to those brave and wonderful men in 2015 and 2016. This year we have decided to pick out two former captains and spotlight their contributions.

"Both Cecil Baker and John Campbell captained their universities, and their schools were represented at Twickenham in 2014 when we held a memorial service for the 55 Blues ahead of the Varsity Match."

The tributes to Baker, who held the rank of Acting Captain in the Grenadier Guards when he was killed in action at Le Bois des Crapouillots, near Ypres on 29 July 1917, aged 46, and Campbell, who lost his life on 2 December 1917 while serving in the Inniskilling Dragoons, were launched on the playing fields of their former schools on Saturday (4 November) when the respective matches on those grounds were preceded with a minute’s silence and played with an Oxford and Cambridge Varsity Match ball.