Centennial Memorial Match


We open the three-day memorial program with a substantive evening on Thursday 3 November 2016 in the Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden (HCL).

A number of experts highlight the First World War from within sports history with special attention to ‘Het Engelse Kamp’ (Timbertown) and the unique role played by rugby players in this aspect.

Speakers are (details below):

  • Menno Wielinga, author of Het Engelse Kamp, Groningen 1914-1918
  • The English award-winning author Stephen Cooper
  • The Dutch sports historian Jurryt van de Vooren.


19:30 Doors open van het Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden (HCL).

20:00 Opening Leeuwarder Three-days

20:15 – 22.45 Speakers (details below)
– Menno Wielinga
– Stephen Cooper
– Jurryt van de Vooren

23:00 HCL closing for public


Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden
Groeneweg 1
8911 EH Leeuwarden

Tel. 058-2332350


From the Leeuwarden railway station, you can reach HCL on foot in about 10 minutes.


The Parkeergarage Oldehove underneath the Oldehoofsterkerkhof is one minute away from the HCL

Menno Wielinga

Menno Wielinga has long been interested in the First World War and author of the ‘Engelse Kamp’, a unique book about a special period in the history of Groningen and the 1,500 men of the First Royal Naval Brigade English (1914 – 1918).

To halt the German advance in Belgium, at the beginning of October 1914 English troops were deployed in the battle of Antwerp. When this fortress city turned out to be indefensible, a chaotic retreat followed where 1500 English men of the First Royal Naval Brigade saw their way back cut off.

They deflected to the neutral Netherlands where they, for the duration of the war, were interned in a guarded camp in Groningen that soon was called the English Camp.

Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper has played rugby and was rugby coach for over forty years. His book The Final Whistle won Rugby book of the year 2013 and was nominated for the Times British sports book of the year 2013.

His second book After the Final Whistle was nominated for Rugby book of the year 2016.

His lifelong fascination with the First World War began with his grandfather who survived the battle of the Somme.

When the British Empire in August 1914 became involved in the war, were rugby players the first volunteers. They were in the front line and paid a disproportionately high price. As a matter of Thank You in 1919 a rugby tournament ‘The Kings Cup’ was organized in the presence of King George V in the Twickenham stadium. Never before was such a great rugby tournament was organized, where several countries were present. For this reason, it is considered to be the first World Championship. Football only played a similar tournament in 1930.

Jurryt van de Vooren

Dutch sports historian. He is owner of the website Sportgeschiedenis.nl. This summer his book Athletiek en Amsterdam was released, which was handed out by the city of Amsterdam as official gift during the European Athletics Championship.

He is now working on a book about hockey and Amsterdam, he also writes the anniversary book of the Lifeguards. He is the only man from Amsterdam who graduated on Feyenoord.

4 November

Welcome Teams

The program of Friday 4 November consists of a number of elements which embrace the core values, traditions and spirt of rugby.

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5 November

Memorial Rugby

Saturday 5 November is Match Day. At 14:00 the Centennial Memorial Match between Royal Navy Rugby Union teams from England and Scotland will kick off at the grounds of Rugby Club Greate Pier in Leeuwarden.

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Memorial Rugby: England vs Scotland 1916 – 2016
Get your tickets here