We will remember them

On Remembrance Sunday 2023, we remember our four international players who, not too long after playing rugby league for Wales, died fighting in World Wars, two in each of them.
Phil Thomas

Phil Thomas won the first of his four Welsh rugby league caps n our second-ever international, a 35-18 win over England on April 20, 1908 in Tonypandy. He also made one Great Britain appearance. Signing up to fight in the Great War, he was killed in action on May 25, 1915, aged 31, on the fields of battle in Belgium and he is remembered in the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in that country.

Stitch Thomas

William George “Stitch” Thomas is heritage #8 for Wales, meaning he played in the first-ever full international rugby league match anywhere in the world when he turned out as prop for Wales in our 9-8 win over New Zealand on January 1, 1908 in Aberdare. His one Great Britain appearance came in their second-ever match. Signing up for war in 1915, he sadly died on the Somme on July 3, 1916, aged 34, when he was hit by a German shell. He is now remembered in the Thiepval Memorial in France. In 2011, he became a Warrington Wolves Hall of Fame inductee.

David Evans
David Morgan Evans played rugby league for Wales in 1936-37 in three wins, against England, France and a Rugby League XIII. He was also in the Huddersfield side that beat Hull 18-10 in the 1938 Yorkshire Cup Final. When World War II broke out, he joined the Royal Navy as a stoker 2nd Class. Sadly on Saturday 24 May 1941, the HMS Hood was sunk in the Battle of the Denmark Strait by the German battleship Bismarck and he died on board aged 30. David was married. He and his wife had one child, a daughter. He never saw his daughter as she was born on the very day he died.
Oliver Morris
Oliver Morris played five times for Wales and once for a Northern Command XIII. He played with Hunslet for nearly two years, turning out in their 8–2 victory over local rivals Leeds in the 1938 Championship Final. Moving to Leeds a year later, he helped them to two Challenge Cup Final wins in a row, in 1941 and 1942. During the war, he became a Lieutenant in the Welch Regiment and was killed in Italy, during the fighting around Rimini, on 21 September 1944 aged 27.