Dingle, more latterly known as ‘mud’ by his teammates, was born on November
5th 1991 in Hetton le Hole,
. The son of the Reverend Arthur Trehane Dingle, Rector of Eaglescliff, and his
wife Beatrice. The young Dingle was educated near to home, attending both
as well as
itself. He was soon initiated into the game of rugby union at his junior
schools, both of which he turned out for as a three quarter playing either at
centre or on the wing.
soon became a passion that he would carry for the rest of his life.
time at school Dingle went up to
. He was selected to play for his university at the annual varsity match,
gaining his blue in 1911. Held at the Queen’s Club on December 12th
the emphatic nineteen points to nil victory over Cambridge was a result of the
relative experience of the Oxford side over a young Cambridge, whose attempts to
nullify Oxford rather than play their own game failed disastrously. Their
defense had no answer to the strong
backs and, as the Times put it “…. AJ
Dingle settled matters by scoring between the posts.”
Such was the
strength of the
squad at the time this was to be the only blue that Dingle received. Although
he flirted with
his heart remained nearer to home. He also played for Durham County as well as
settling at Hartlepool Rovers as his home club, playing for them during their
1911-12 season which saw the club score a total of one hundred and twenty two
tries and amass eight hundred and sixty points. After graduating from Oxford
Dingle returned to
as a Master in 1913. On the pitch he scored fifty five tries during the course
of the 1913-14 season and also Captained Hartlepool Rovers in 1914.
His club form
made him an obvious choice for international honors, and his debut cap came on
February 8th 1913 in the match against
. At this time Dingle was still up at
, and gained his first cap despite being held out of the varsity side that year.
The match started as a close affair before
asserted themselves and pulled away to a fifteen points to four victory with
the English pack playing well and giving their backs every chance to capitalize
against a relatively ineffective Irish back line.
Dingle himself did not have the best of matches in this victory,
described by the Times’ correspondent as “….
Strong in defence, but was not altogether a success.” As the competition
selection was no less strong, and probably more volatile than that at Oxford
Dingle was dropped for the remainder of the international season, but had still
played his part in what was to become
’s first grand slam season.
international set back, and no doubt on the back of his continuing good club
form, Dingle was recalled to the England side half way through the following
season to play Scotland at Inverleith on March 21st 1914. Poor
weather that had prevailed for the previous week cleared on the morning of the
match, although high winds made kicking difficult. To counter this
played a wide game, although this was not without it’s problems. As the Times
recorded “At the opening of the game
Dingle missed a pass with the goal line undefended 10 yards away.” Despite
steadily drew away until with twenty minutes to play they were ten points in
the lead. At this point they became so engrossed in attack that they almost
forgot to defend and in a nail biting finish Scotland fought back just failing
to overcome the English whom won by sixteen points to fifteen, claiming the
triple crown as well as the Calcutta Cup.
efforts were appreciated, despite the missed pass, and he was picked for
’s final match of the international season on April 13th against
at the Stade de Colombes. In an easy victory
’s backs outclassed their French opponents by thirteen points to thirty nine.
The match was marred by rough play from some of the French team as well as the
poor behavior of the home crowd who heckled the player’s throughout.
started slowly before their strength began to show. This was particularly true
of Dingle who again failed to show his best and replicate his club form on the
international stage. Discussing the English back line the Times’ correspondent
said of him “AJ Dingle was the weakest
of the four. He failed to take the passes and was very slow getting into his
stride.” This easy victory, however unsatisfactory it may have been, also
a second consecutive grand slam, and the player’s must have drawn some
comfort from this far from easy achievement.
With the outbreak
of war Dingle, along with thousands of others, immediately joined up, serving
with the East Yorkshire Regiment from September 1914 and eventually being posted
to its sixth Battalion. Despite being in training for far more serious
matter’s there was still time for rugby and on April 10th 1915
Dingle made his only appearance for the Barbarians in a match against the Royal
Army Medical Corps in aid of the Red Cross Fund that was held at Old Deer Park
. Played in front of a good crowd of three thousand the Barbarians, although
their usual scratch team, played with the class that their line up deserved and
won by ten points to three, with Dingle scoring a try in the second half. Soon
after Dingle embarked for active service with his Battalion. By now a Captain he
was bound for the Mediterranean and the
By late 1914 the
war on the Western Front had had largely become one of static trench warfare.
Also the Ottoman Empire’s entry into the war on the German side had closed the
only supply route to Russia from the Mediterranean, a route that was the most
viable given the climactic and tactical difficulties presented by both overland
routes and by sea through the Baltic.
was at this time fighting the Germans on the Eastern front, splitting the
Imperial forces, an effort that had to continue. The
campaign was originally drawn up as a purely naval affair by Winston Churchill
in November 1914 whilst he was first Lord of the Admiralty. This soon expanded
into a land war that had also ground to a halt in the face of fierce Turkish
opposition to the allied forces that were largely drawn from
on the Gallipoli peninsula. In an effort to break the deadlock forces were to
be landed at Suvla bay, in a campaign starting on August 6th 1915
that was planned to force a breakout that would join up with the besieged ANZAC
forces some five miles to the south. The 6th Battalion of the East
Yorkshire Regiment, including Dingle, were to form part of this task force. From
the start the campaign was badly mismanaged. Their commander’s, Lieutenant
General Sir Francis Stopford and Major General Frederick Hammersley, were
imprecise in their orders, requiring only that the high ground should be taken
if possible. Made at night the landings resulted in chaos for the allied forces.
’s did manage to drive the Turks off the small hillock of Lala Baba, but at
great cost and generally the allied forces achieved little more than actually
getting ashore. Despite light initial opposition this hiatus allowed the Turks
to realign and claim the tactically vital high ground. By August 9th
the expeditions overall commander, General Sir Ian Hamilton, pressed for an
attack to kick start the failing campaign and the sixth East Yorkshire Regiment
were ordered to attack Scimitar Hill as a prelude to a larger attack the
following day o the Teke Tepe ridge. Met by strong Turkish resistance they took
severe casualties before they took the hill, subsequently being forced to
relinquish their gains as Brigade staff ordered a change of attack to the
Sulajik Wells. After this the fighting at
largely descended in to the trench warfare that it had been designed to
replace. One final push was planned to break the stalemate on August 21st
1915. Dingle, with his battalion, was to again attack Scimitar Hill, control of
which would unite the allied forces as had been originally planned. The largest
battle of the Gallipoli campaign the attack failed, essentially ending any hope
of an allied victory. Exactly what fate befell Arthur Dingle remains a mystery.
In the aftermath of the battle he was posted as missing presumed killed. His
body was never found.
Complete Who's Who of England Rugby Union Internationals", R Maule,
Times Online Digital Archive