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13 Dec

Fairfax Gill- The Cricketing Soldier

Gill pictured on the left

Fairfax Gill was born in Wakefield on the 3 September 1883, the son of Thomas and Susannah. His
father, known as “Tommy”, was wicketkeeper for Wakefield Cricket Club for many years. Fairfax joined Wakefield in 1900 along with his cousin, Fred Gill.

In 1903, Fairfax (or “Fairy” as he was affectionately known because he was of small stature) scored his first hundred, against Bowling Old Lane. In June that year, he was playing for the Yorkshire Council representative side in a three-day match against a Yorkshire side boasting the bowling of Wilfred Rhodes and Schofield Haigh. Fairfax went on to top-score in the first innings with 30.

Three years later, he made a fifty against the Lancashire Second XI; following this, he made his debut for the Yorkshire first team at Chesterfield. However, Fairfax was run out for only one in the first innings, managing just three in the second.

He played his second (and last match) for the county at Trent Bridge for the First XI but suffered further disappointment, only scoring eleven and three.

Fairfax was also the respected and popular professional at Ossett Cricket Club prior to the Great War, and was employed at the West Riding Registry of Deeds in Wakefield until 1916 when he was called up for his country, where he became Gunner Gill of the 21st Trench Mortar Battery of the Royal Field Artillery.

Fairfax fought at Passchendaele where he was, sadly, wounded in the head. He subsequently died at the military hospital in Boulogne on 1 November 1917 and is buried in the Wimereux Cemetery near Boulogne.

His cousin, Fred, was also reported killed in action on 10 November 1917 – however, the war memorial at St. Andrew’s church in Wakefield records the name of `F. Gill’ but it is not known whether this refers to Fairfax or Fred.

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