Didsbury Toc H RFC

A BRIEF HISTORY

Didsbury Toc H were, like several of Manchester’s existing rugby union clubs formed during the 1920s and 30s. In the case of Didsbury, they were founded in 1924.

The club is based out of the picturesque Simon Field, just off Ford Lane in Didsbury, a venue shared with football and cricket. It is surrounded by council and university owned pitches.

A question many people ask is “Why Toc H?”

In World War One army padre Tubby Clayton commandeered a deserted Belgian farmhouse not far from the fighting front. The aim of this place was to offer respite and spiritual guidance. This place was named Talbot House in memory of Clayton’s friend Gilbert Talbot who had perished earlier in the conflict. Toc H(aitch) was how signalers referred to the place and later the “Toc H” charity came into being.

Hostels were created around the UK by the organisation, and called “marks”. One such place was in Manchester, referred to as “mark four”. It was here that the seeds were sewn for a new rugby club and Toc H (Manchester) was formed in the Victoria Park area of Manchester.

Like many organisations, the rugby club lost six men in the Second World War. The fallen, commemorated at their club house are: Geoffrey B. Cargill, Claud Chapman, Arthur Cornall, Frank F. Finnigan, Harry E. Nicholls and Geoffrey H. Wright.

In 1972 the decision was made to change the name of the club to Didsbury Toc H, and they have remained that way ever since. At the turn of the Century Toc H had two of their best seasons.

1999/2000 saw them win 22 of 28 fixtures, but that effort was topped in 2002/03 when they claimed 27 wins from 32 games, scoring 1020 points and conceding just 267 points. That defensive effort has only been bettered twice in club history.

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