Lancashire Fusiliers of Interest

(or infamous)

Lancashire Fusiliers

Arthur Edward Robert Gilligan
11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers' and England cricket captain,

was born at Witherhurst, Grove Park, Camberwell, London, on 23 December 1894, the second of three sons (there was also a daughter) of Willie Austin Gilligan (b. 1864), a manager for Liebig's Extract of Meat Co., and his wife, Alice Eliza Kimpton. He attended Fairfield School before entering Dulwich College (1906-14), where he excelled in cricket and athletics. In 1913 all three of the Gilligan brothers played for the Dulwich College cricket eleven; in their subsequent contribution to first-class cricket they were a public-school sporting phenomenon to rival the Lytteltons of Eton, the Fosters of Malvern, and the Ashtons of Winchester. Their father was a member of the committee of the Surrey county club, for whose second eleven Arthur played during his school holidays in 1913 and 1914.

Gilligan's undergraduate career at Pembroke College, Cambridge (1914, 1919-20), was interrupted by war service in France as a captain with the 11th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. In 1919 he won his cricket blue for Cambridge, ensuring a Cambridge victory by taking six for 52 in Oxford's second innings. It was an outstanding display of fast bowling. A few days earlier, representing Cambridge against Sussex, he had put on 177 in 65 minutes with J. N. Naumann for the last wicket, scoring 101 batting at number eleven. In 1920 he went down from Cambridge to join the firm in which his father had become a senior partner, Gilbert Kimpton & Co., general produce merchants, of Monument Street in the City of London. On 6 April 1921 he married Cecilia Mary, only daughter of Henry Noble Mathews.

Gilligan played three games for Surrey in 1920, but in the following year was registered for Sussex, and represented the county as an amateur for the next ten years. He captained Sussex from 1922 to 1929, producing a strong all-round side known for their attractive play and fine fielding, inspired by his own acrobatic ability in the field at mid-off. Although not noted as a tactician, he was an inspiring captain, who laid emphasis on blooding young talent. During his first year as captain he made great strides as a bowler and took 135 wickets (at 18.75). He was picked for the Gentlemen and toured South Africa with MCC in the winter of 1922-3. In 1923 he performed the 'double' (1000 runs and 100 wickets). He was chosen to captain England in 1924 in the first test at Edgbaston, where he and M. W. Tate combined to bowl out South Africa for 30, with Gilligan taking six for 7. When South Africa followed on he took a further five for 83 to secure an England victory by an innings. Tate and Gilligan became the most feared opening attack of the time, bowling out many of the best sides in the county championship cheaply. At Lord's, Sussex dismissed Middlesex for 41, with Gilligan taking eight for 25.

In Gilligan's period of greatest success disaster struck. When batting for the Gentlemen against the Players at the Oval in July 1924, he was struck by a ball over the heart. Shrugging off his injury, he went on to make 112, but he was seriously hurt and had done himself irreparable damage. He was never able to bowl fast again and became almost a passenger in the MCC team he captained in the following winter in Australia, though his captaincy and fielding remained an inspiration. Although the series was lost, he led England to victory at Melbourne in February 1925, their first victory against Australia since 1912. That effectively was the end of his career as a test cricketer, though he became a selector in 1926 and captained MCC in India the following winter. He retired from the first-class game in 1932 with career figures of 9140 runs (at 20.08) and 868 wickets (at 23.20).

Gilligan became popular as one of the earlier radio commentators on test matches and was a stickler for sporting behaviour. He wrote on cricket regularly for the News Chronicle and was the author of several books on cricket, including an account of the 1954-5 MCC tour of Australia, The Urn Returns. He was president of MCC in 1967-8 and was much sought after as a lecturer and after-dinner speaker. An outstanding golfer, he became president of the English golf union in 1959. He was also a talented skier and met his second wife, Katharine Margaret Fox (1902-1998), whom he married in 1934, in Wengen, his first marriage having ended in divorce. A new stand opened at the Sussex county cricket ground at Hove in 1971 was named in his honour. Gilligan died at his home, Cherry Trees, Tudor Close, Mare Hill, Pulborough, Sussex, on 5 September 1976 and was buried at Stopham, Sussex.

The youngest of the Gilligan brothers, (Alfred Herbert) Harold Gilligan (1896-1978), cricketer, was born at Denmark Hill, London, on 29 June 1896, and educated at Fairfield School and Dulwich College. He was in the Dulwich eleven for three years and captain in 1915. During the First World War, as a pilot in the Royal Naval Air Service, he was the first person to fly over the German fleet at Kiel. After joining his father's firm he went on to have a highly successful career in business as co-director of Carltona. He played cricket for Sussex from 1919 to 1931 and often captained the county in Arthur's absence. He toured South Africa with S. B. Joel's unofficial side in 1924-5 under Lord Tennyson, and replaced his brother, who had to withdraw on health grounds, as captain of MCC in New Zealand (1929-30). An impetuous batsman, who loved to play his strokes, he never quite fulfilled his early promise; he averaged just 17 for Sussex and scored only one century (143 against Derbyshire). His record, however, of playing 70 first-class innings in a season (1923) has never been challenged. In later years he served on the Surrey County Cricket Club committee. On 1 June 1933 he married Marjorie Winifred White; their daughter Virginia married Peter May, captain of Surrey and England. He died at Stroud Common, Shamley Green, Surrey, on 5 May 1978.

The eldest of the Gilligan brothers, Frank William Gilligan (1893-1960), cricketer, was born on 20 September 1893, and was at Fairfield School (1900-1906) and Dulwich College (1906-13) before going on to Worcester College, Oxford (1913-14; 1919-20). He was a captain in the 12th battalion, Essex regiment, during the First World War. After the war he won two cricket blues at Oxford, one as captain, and graduated with honours in English. On 6 August 1921 he married Clara Elizabeth, second daughter of James Brindle of Craven Park, Preston, Lancashire. Between 1919 and 1929 he played seventy-nine matches for Essex, keeping wicket with considerable success and averaging 23.62 with the bat. He was a career schoolmaster and became a housemaster at Uppingham School, where he taught from 1920 to 1935, before taking on the headmastership of Wanganui Collegiate School in New Zealand (1936-54). For his services to education he was appointed OBE in 1955. He died in Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand, on 4 May 1960.

Click here for his cricket record
Sent in by
Mike Murray