Walter Jackson

Photo:Walter Jackson

Walter Jackson

By Malc King

Walter Jackson was born in Gloucester on 16th March 1870, and died in Halifax on 1st December 1958, and these events mirror his rugby career which took him graduation in Gloucester to honours in Halifax.   He was a talented centre, who also played on the wing. He had some substance, as indicated by a report of a match in 1891, when “the game was shortly afterwards stopped for some minutes near the 25 whilst Jackson struggled into a new jersey, the crowd getting much amusement from his contortions”. Bill Bailey, the doyen of Gloucester rugby reporting said that Jackson “has a style of his own”.

He appears on the Gloucester honours boards from 1889-90, and was one of the club’s leading scorers from then, scoring plenty of tries and doing some of the place kicking – for example in 1890-1, he score 10 tries (a quarter of Gloucester’s tries that season) and kicked 4 conversions. He played in the first match at Kingsholm in 1891, and kicked 2 conversions. He also played for the County. On 1st October 1892, Gloucester won away at Old Edwardians by 1 goal and 1 dropped goal (9) to 1 try (3), with Jackson scoring all of Gloucester’s points with a try, conversion and dropped goal – an unusual feat in those days.

Towards the end of 1893, Jackson applied to transfer to Halifax, and his request was granted by the Gloucester committee. This parting was very amicable, to the extent that the club made Jackson a life member, and he agreed to return to Gloucester to play in the Xmas 1893 fixtures against Newport and Cardiff.   No sooner had he left Gloucester than he was called up by England, and won his one and only cap on the wing against Scotland at Edinburgh on 17th March 1894.

Although many records still show him as a Gloucester player at the time that he won his international cap, he was fortunate to have had the transfer to Halifax under his belt. In March 1894, the Gloucester club had been found guilty of playing Shewell of Stroud in their team illegally, and the club was suspended for 2 weeks. If Jackson had still been registered as a Gloucester player, this would have barred him from playing for England (although his life membership of Gloucester appears to have been overlooked). However, with this cap, Jackson did become the first Gloucester-born player to win international honours.

This page was added by Gary Little on 27/07/2009.

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