Of all the potential Saracens we have uncovered so far I have to admit Alfred/Abraham Flatau is one of the most intriguing, and thus a personal favourite. Born in 1875 in the East End to Barnett and Priscilla, Abraham as he was then known, was part of the vibrant Jewish community that used to dominate the garment trade in the UK in the late 19th century. Whilst the names and businesses of Mr Michael Marks (who teamed up with Thomas Spencer), and the brothers Moss are still very recognisable today, some more fringe elements of that trade are sadly lost. Barnett’s role, recorded in both the 1881 and 1891 census’ as an ‘Ostrich Feather Maker’ is certainly unusual, one might even say fabulous….
By 1891 Abraham had changed his first named to Alfred, in what can be guessed as an attempt to Anglicise his name as many other families did at the time, to disguise semitic or even just foreign roots. (For other examples see the father of Harold Abrahams; Friedrich Drumpf grandfather of a US president; or even the British Royal family.) He is also listed as a ‘Boot Clicker’ which can be imagined is similar to a cobbler, and living at home in the St James’ parish of Shoreditch. By 1900 he is listed as having married in Hampstead, and it is as a married man that he could have played for Saracens- pictured in the 1901-02 team on the far left as viewed, with some rather elaborately waisted shorts. Is this definitely our man? Sadly without photo matching it will be hard to prove.
Alfred disappears from view from this point onward as he does not feature in any more photos. Potentially he still playing for one of the many sides (A, B or C) Saracens was able to run through these years, but should he have retired he is hopefully working as a happily married man plying his trade in London. It is speculation therefore as to whether the record below is the Alfred I described above, and a jump again that he is definitely the Saracen from the 1901-02 photograph. Alfred would have been 41 at the time of his potential death- too old to enlist before the war broke out, but owing to the relaxment in recruitment age required he could well have been on the front line by this stage.
FLATAU, A Theodore (Temporary Captain) 01/07/1916 East Surrey Regiment United Kingdom E. 30. CARNOY MILITARY CEMETERY
We would love to hear from anyone who may know more, do please get in touch.