Today, you can walk from the Saracens ground at Allianz Park to Frank Henry Sandom Satchwell’s 1911 home at 125, Sunny Gardens Road, Hendon, in less than 15 minutes. In 1902-04, when the club was still playing at Crouch End or Southgate, Frank would have had a slightly longer journey to pull on his Saracens shirt & boots for a run out with his team-mates, but it’s clear that this distance was no object!
FH Satchwell first appears in the Saracens team photo in the 1902-03 season, and is captured on film once again the following year. The Captain of the 1st XV for both seasons was C.S. Bongard, and Frank’s team-mates included a number of significant Saracens whom we have already identified.
Match records from the era are scarce and so we have few details of his playing activities with Saracens at this time. However, our research has indicated that he was born in Highgate in 1878, and attended the famous Christ’s Hospital School in Newgate Street, Farringdon.
By 1907, having apparently hung up his rugby boots, Frank married Gertrude Emily and by 1911 they were living in the 7-roomed house in Sunny Gardens Road, accompanied by their 2 children – 3-year-old Denis and his 2-year-old sister, Marguerite, born in 1909. Frank appears to have been employed in a commercial role as a sub-manager.
Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, it appears Frank moved quickly to enlist in the Honourable Artillery Company, and he was swiftly commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, where we find him here in a group photo of officers, published in ‘War Illustrated‘ magazine. The 2nd Battalion sailed for France in October 1916. They saw significant action in area around the farming village of Bucquoy, 12 miles south of Arras on 25th February, 1917.
By the Spring, the recently promoted Captain FHS Satchwell would have been preparing his company for the major Allied assault on the German lines at Arras.
It was during this battle that he was to lose his life on 3rd May, as the 2nd HAC strove to support the 2nd Australian Battalion in their attack on the German lines at Bullecourt village. He was one of 1,650 HAC soldiers to be killed during the First World War.
Frank Henry Sandon Satchwell is commemorated at the Arras Memorial in Bay 1. We visited this CWGC Cemetery in September 2018 to pay tribute to him, and our other fallen Saracen N.B. Dick who also is remembered at this location.
We will continue to research his life and his military service, to ensure this former Saracen player from the 1902-04 era is appropriately remembered, and his sacrifice recorded for all time.