A Cuckfield Life

Published: 2019
Pages: 48
Author: Heavens, Roger
Publisher: Heavens, Roger
Rating: 3 stars

Just in case you thought Roger Heavens had no interest in cricket outside the life, times and work of Arthur Haygarth he has produced a timely reminder that his attention does occasionally focus elsewhere. He has taken a break from his efforts in putting together volume 22 of Scores and Biographies and produced a monograph on the subject of Ernest Attwater.

Attwater never played First Class cricket, but was a man from Cuckfield in Sussex a village with which Heavens, although he now lives in Lincolnshire, has strong ties. Born in 1888 Attwater, who earned his living as a carpenter, played football and cricket for Cuckfield and other teams. He was also a fine athlete and, perhaps curiously in light of his many sporting interests, an accomplished campanologist as well.

A Cuckfield Life follows, through diligent research in contemporary sources, the course of Attwater’s life. It focuses mainly on his sporting endeavours, with a nod to the bell ringing and also, from 1910, to an incident involving an out of control tarring machine where Attwater’s timely intervention might well have prevented a tragedy. He seems for the most part to have been a decent club cricketer and no more, but then in 1913 was able to sign professional terms with Surrey. He was by then 25 and in the two seasons  before the Great War did not progress beyond the county’s junior sides.

Like so many others Attwater volunteered for military service on the outbreak of war and saw action on the Western Front. He later came back and gained a commission before returning to France and it was as Lieutenant Attwater that he was killed in action in March of 1918. He left a widow who he had married the previous year and a baby son. Heavens rounds off his story with a brief look at the lives of Attwater’s parents, his eight siblings (one a half brother) as well as those of his wife and son.

The monograph, as well as making Attwater’s story available to a twenty first century audience, is intended as a tribute to the many others who died in the Great War and the story of a man who seems to have had great personality integrity to go with his sporting prowess does that very well indeed. A Cuckfield Life is recommended reading and available from the author (www.booksoncricket.net).

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