Sulgrave boy on England duty to honour famous relative killed in WWI

Max Garnett and Jack Davis, mascots at Twickenham for Armistice centenery NNL-181113-151440001
Max Garnett and Jack Davis, mascots at Twickenham for Armistice centenery NNL-181113-151440001

Armistice Day will never be quite the same for rugby loving ten-year-old Max Garnett from Sulgrave.

The Culworth schoolboy was one of two special mascots at Saturday’s Rugby International between England and the All Blacks at Twickenham, meeting Prince Harry and standing with the players for an emotional two-minute silence.

Max Garnett with father James at the Twickenham war memorial plaques NNL-181113-151211001

Max Garnett with father James at the Twickenham war memorial plaques NNL-181113-151211001

He and fellow-mascot Jack Davis were invited to the roles to mark the centenary of the First World War’s end because of their famous relatives – past England rugby captains Ronnie Poulton and Noel Slocock.

Both died in the battlefields of Belgium and are mainstays of English rugby’s rich history.

Max is Ronnie Poulton’s great, great nephew and Jack is the great, great grandson of Lancelot Slocock, who was known as Noel.

Max’s dad, James Garnett, said: “The boys were each given a full England kit and went into the foyer to wait for the Duke of Sussex who spoke with them for a few minutes.

Sarah, Max, Florence and James Garnett NNL-181113-150904001

Sarah, Max, Florence and James Garnett NNL-181113-150904001

“They then lined up in the tunnel with the two captains and led the teams out onto the pitch. The rain was torrential during the two-minute silence and then the national anthem.

“It was very emotional as they all ran out over a section of turf at the half way line, beneath which a small casket of soil from my great uncle Ronnie’s grave in Belgium is placed. He died soon after going abroad to fight and before his death after being shot, lamented that he would never return to the ground at Twickenham again.”

Ronnie Poulton is said to be one of the finest players of all time. He played for England between 1909 and 1914 and captained the team in 1913 to 1914.

An Oxford Blue, he remains the only rugby player to score five tries in the Varsity match. In the Grand Slam in Paris in 1914 he scored four tries.

The turf marking the place where soil from Ronnie Poulton's grace is buried NNL-181113-152805001

The turf marking the place where soil from Ronnie Poulton's grace is buried NNL-181113-152805001

He fought in the trenches in 1915 aged 25 and was shot by a sniper while leading a night time repair party. The nation mourned his loss.

Max’s mum Sarah and sister Florence also witnessed the historic family occasion.

Max plays rugby for Towcestrians.

Sarah, Florence and James Garnett before portrait of 1914 England team with Ronnie Poulton, captain, centre. NNL-181113-152744001

Sarah, Florence and James Garnett before portrait of 1914 England team with Ronnie Poulton, captain, centre. NNL-181113-152744001