Great granddaughter and great, great grandson receive Heritage Certificate for Tommy Cash

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Oldham chairman Bill Quinn, presents the Heritage Certificate to Patricia and Andrew Whittle, also in the photo are Michael Turner from the Heritage Trust and Mike Elliott of the Players Association.

At the recent home match against Cornwall on April 14th the ORL Heritage Trust were delighted to present the Heritage Certificate to Patricia and Andrew Whittle, the great granddaughter and great, great grandson of the Oldham winger from the Edwardian era Tommy Cash. Patricia kindly brought in to show the Heritage Trust, an Oldham shirt of Tommy’s along with a Lancashire shield medal from 1908-09 and an Oldham cap.

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Left: Tommy with the Lancashire Shield in 1909. Right: The winners medal.

Tommy (Heritage number 80) played for the Roughyeds between 1902 – 1909 and later went on to be a decorated war hero in World War 1.

Tommy was born on Ashton Road, Oldham and was first introduced to Rugby football at the local St Pauls school. A diminutive, figure he went on to play for Oldham Edge Recreation and Glenby at half back. He made his Oldham debut at centre in the 7 – 2 win at Hull Kingston on September 27th, 1902. He made 21 appearances that season, all the rest were on the wing, this being the position where he would become a great favourite with the Oldham crowd.

He topped the Oldham try list in 1904-05 with 13 and 1905-06 with 21 and irrespective of his slight stature, Tommy was well known for his courage and would take on the heftiest of opponents. Once he received his marching orders, to the amusement of the crowd, after an entanglement with a burly Leeds forward. Along with several of his team mates, he left to assist the newly formed Coventry club in 1910.

In total he made 139 senior appearances for Oldham in which he scored 63 tries.

During the First World War he joined the King’s Royal Rifles and earned the Military Medal and bar for heroism. A brief description of the action as reported in the local press is below.

‘For great gallantry at Olive trench near Hollebeke on June 14th 1917, when he rushed forward

with the first wave and bombed the enemy’s dug-out and, being an orderly to an officer who had

been wounded, attended him with great devotion under heavy shell fire in the open.’

Then three months later he was awarded the bar …

At Passchendaele Ridge on September 20th, he led his section, the NCOs having become

casualties, against a strong point where he personally killed three of the enemy and after capturing

his objective showed great coolness under heavy shell fire and was of great assistance.’