Wakefield Express of 5th September 1903 revealed the signing of AT
Turnbull “[the] Scotch (sic) international [forward] of the past three years.
He is engaged in engineering work in
trouble is I can find no record of an AT Turnbull playing for
. A number of players with the surname Turnbull have played for
over the years but none with those initials. The closest match in terms of
dates was a Phipps Turnbull who Scrum.com showed played six times for
in 1901 and 1902.
was fortunate to find a website run by the great nephew of Phipps, Brian
Turnbull who confirmed that Phipps wasn’t my man, but provided an interesting
insight into his character and the story of a life cut tragically short as he
died of the effects of Consumption [Tuberculosis] at the age of 29.
Phipps Turnbull sitting
second on the right for the
team in 1901
was a good and “often brilliant” scholar as the obituary in the Edinburgh
Academy Chronicle revealed; at “mathematics he had few equals”, (he was
later to become a Fellow of the Faculties of Actuaries - F.F.A) but it was in
sport that he really excelled. At school athletics, he won a record five first
prizes in 1896 but he never ran again after leaving school.
He also played Cricket and was an excellent golfer but it was at rugby
that he made his mark, his athletic speed marking him out as a three-quarter of
the highest order.
helped Scotland win the 1901 “Triple Crown” and played in all three
internationals in the 1902 season including a victory over the ‘auld enemy’
before he was compelled to give up the game when the first signs of his fatal
illness started to show. He died on
the 24th August 1907, a long stay in
having no beneficial effect. His family including his half brother Gerald Crole
and brother in law Jack Crabbie, both Scottish Internationals mourned the man
whose “great gentleness never faltered”.
are two connections with
. Phipps no doubt would have been familiar with JW Sagar,
’s first captain who played twice for
during 1901 – but not against
’s first confirmed Scottish International Dr JB McDougall, who played for
just before the Great War and again in the 1920’s after moving to
. He was later to be the Chief Tuberculosis officer at the World Health
mystery of AT Turnbull remains. From the records compiled by David Ingle whilst
he was researching the history of the club for the Centenary, we know that he
during the 1903/04 season and scored two tries and also played for
, so must have been a good player but I would be interested to know more about
him. Can you help?