Relatives of the first Town player killed in World War I were left touched at the reception of thousands of football fans.

Larrett Roebuck was the first English league footballer to die in the Great War.

He has been remembered as part of the war’s centenary commemorations and on Saturday his relatives were invited to Town’s game against Nottingham Forest, dedicated as the club’s Remembrance fixture.

Ten relatives, led by grandson Frank Wood, 79, lined up alongside Town chairman Dean Hoyle and club ambassador Andy Booth for a minute’s silence.

The game, also attended by serving members of the armed forces, proved another landmark for the family as Mr Wood met relatives from Kent for the first time.

The family enjoyed a meal at the John Smith’s Stadium as Town’s guests before going pitchside for the minute’s silence.

After stadium announcer Paul Ramsden told of Larrett’s sacrifice there was warm applause from supporters at all sides of the ground.

Frank, of Sheffield, admitted he had a lump in his throat and said: “We really enjoyed the day and there was a great reception from the crowd, which shows Larrett hasn’t been forgotten.”

Frank met up with cousins Denise Watkin and Helen Smith, both from Manchester, and Bernard Neal, whose grandmother was Larrett’s sister Lucy.

“I had only ever spoken to Bernard’s family on the phone,” said Frank. “They travelled up from Kent on the day and it was nice to meet them at last.”

Miner’s son Larrett, a lance corporal, was 25 when he was killed in the trenches of Beaucamps-Ligny, northern France, on October 18, 1914.

Father-of-four Larrett was listed as missing in action and his body was never found.

Larrett served with the York and Lancaster Regiment’s 2nd Battalion and in 2009 15 bodies, thought to be soldiers from the same regiment, were found.

 

It was thought one of them could be Larrett’s but that has not been determined, though four bodies remain unidentified.

All the bodies were re-interred in a ceremony last month, attended by Frank.

“When I first heard about these bodies I believed one could be his,” said Frank. “But it hasn’t been possible to get DNA from all the remains and four remain unidentified.

“At the ceremony I just didn’t get the feeling it was him. I was disappointed but I am still hoping he will be found.”

Larrett was one of five Town players killed in the First World War.

A story of his life was compiled by two lifelong Town fans, historian Alan Hodgson and David Tattersfield.