Tom Lawton : Rugby Player

Discussion in 'Sportsmen & women' started by Dolphin, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin New Member

    This is one of a series of posts to mark the international Rugby players who served in, and survived, The Great War. If anyone has further information on the men concerned, I’d be most grateful if it could be added to the thread.


    Lawton, Thomas S played for New South Wales/Australia*

    Internationals: 13 : 1925 NZ- ; 1927 I+ (1c) S- W+ E- ; 1928 F+ (1c) ; 1929 NZ+ (2p) NZ+ (1c 2p) NZ+ (2p) ; 1930 BI+ ; 1932 NZ+ (2c 2p) NZ-

    Tom Lawton was born in Waterford, Queensland, on 16 January 1899.

    Played as Fly Half for University (Queensland), Past Grammar, Queensland, Western Suburbs (Sydney), New South Wales, Oxford University (Blue 1921, 1922 and 1923), Blackheath, Barbarians, Waratahs, Valleys

    Profession: Medical student/Business/farming

    War service: 53232, Gunner, 12th (Army) Field Artillery Battery. He enlisted on 12 January 1918, departed Australia on RMS Osterley on 8 May 1918, and returned to Australia on 12 February 1919.

    Remarks: Captain of Brisbane Grammar First XV in 1916 and 1917. Played for Queensland v the AIF team in 1919. He played Rugby League at University as Rugby was then dormant in Queensland. Rhodes scholar. On the 1927-1928 Waratah tour of Europe he scored 124 points while playing in 33 of the 35 matches. He played 38 times for NSW from 1920 to 1928. Played for Barbarians: v Leicester (10-28) in 1921, v Penarth (8-6), Swansea (0-0), Newport (6-15) and Leicester (3-3) in 1922, v Penarth (19-5), Swansea (23-0) in 1923 and v East Midlands (15-3) in 1924. Grandfather of T A Lawton (14 caps 1983-1985).

    He died on 1 July 1978

    * = Players shown as representing New South Wales/Australia are those who played in the period 1919-1929, when the New South Wales Rugby Union was the only operating Union in Australia. These players were retrospectively awarded caps by the Australian Rugby Football Union in 1994.
  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    LAWTON, THOMAS (1899-1978), footballer, was born on 16 January 1899 at Cungumbogan, near Waterford, Queensland, seventh child of James Thomas Lawton, sawmill manager, and his wife Ruth Herbert, nee Hall. Lawton was educated at Brisbane Grammar School, which he represented in Rugby, cricket, swimming and rowing. He enlisted on 12 January 1918 in the Australian Imperial Force, serving briefly in France as a gunner. In 1919 he entered the faculty of science at the University of Queensland, and represented the State at Rugby against New South Wales in an unsuccessful effort to revive the amateur code in the north after a wartime hiatus.

    While at the University of Sydney studying medicine in 1920, Lawton was elected Queensland Rhodes Scholar. He entered New College, Oxford (B.A., rural economy, 1924), and represented the university at Rugby, swimming and athletics.

    The Rugby Union suspended Lawton as a suspected professional in 1923 on a charge of having played Rugby League in Queensland, but he was exonerated when it was shown that there was no Rugby Union available at the time. In 1924 he was a reserve for England against Ireland. He was widely popular at Oxford but according to London sports commentators was not always treated on his merits when university Rugby teams and club officers were selected. While in England he seems to have enjoyed an excellent living standard, kept souvenirs of fine clubs and hotels in England and Europe and compiled a remarkable collection of labels of exotic beverages.

    In 1925 Tommy Lawton played in New Zealand as vice-captain of a New South Wales team. In 1927, as a member of the Sydney Western Suburbs club, he was selected in A. C. Wallace's renowned 'Waratahs' for an eight-month tour of Britain, France and Canada and was outstanding in the five-eight position. Lawton settled in Brisbane, probably in 1929, and greatly assisted the revival of the Queensland Rugby Union organization. He was captain of the Australian team which defeated the New Zealand 'All Blacks' in all three Test matches that year—a feat still unsurpassed. In 1930 he led Australia to victory in the first Test against the British Isles. His last appearance was in a drawn series against New Zealand in 1932. A writer in the Sydney crowd of 28,000 pronounced him 'still the master at 33'. Photographs of Lawton in his playing days portray a handsome, somewhat patrician figure, full-lipped, with high cheekbones.

    Lawton had worked for a time with Gibbs, Bright & Co. in Melbourne. On 24 March 1933 at Mosman, Sydney, he married a divorcee, Maud Howe Leeze Archibald, nee Rich. They soon retired to a small farm at Mount Nebo near Brisbane where Lawton lived frugally until a few years before his death on 28 June 1978 at Greenslopes Repatriation Hospital. His wife predeceased him and he was survived by two sons and a daughter.

    Lawton was one of the finest inside-backs produced by Australian Rugby Union. For a five-eight he was exceptionally tall, being six feet (183 cm) and over twelve stone (76 kg) in a period when international players were markedly slighter than their modern counterparts. His great ability to lead and to 'steady' a team lay in his straight running, his very sure handling and fine tactical kicking. He was also a noted goalkicker. A grandson, also named Thomas Lawton, represented Australia at Rugby from 1983.
  3. Dolphin

    Dolphin New Member


    Thanks for fleshing out the bare bones of his story.


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