Claude Henry Slade Vaudrey
3rd June 1882 – 2nd June 1916. Manchester Regiment (1st Battalion)
Claude Vaudrey was a former Manchester FC player who died during the First World War. Vaudrey was in the 1st Manchesters, part of the standing British army at the start of the First World War.
Vaudrey was born in Eccles. His father, Sir Wiliam Henry Vaudrey, was a director of the Manchester Ship Canal Company, and also served for a time as Lord Mayor of Manchester. He was also a solicitor and a partner at Vaudrey, Osborne and Mellor.
Vaudrey went to Rugby School, before returning to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a solicitor at the family firm. His studies were interrupted by a trip to South Africa, where he fought in the Boer War, as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Manchesters.
According to the M.E.N., Vaudrey “took a keen interest in rugby football” throughout his life, and played not only for Manchester but also the less prestigious North Manchester club.
Years later, his African experience put Vaudrey on track for a career in the colonies. He traded Manchester for Sierra Leone and became a colonial administrator. In 1913 he married Harriet Gladys Cooper, in Ealing.
In February 1915 Vaudrey returned home and was transferred from Colonial duty to the war in Europe. In August, he was sent to France, but left soon after for Mesopotamia. While on duty, Harriet lived with Vaudrey’s parents in Buxton.
In 1916, Vaudrey died of cholera, soon after the fall of Kut. His battalion had repeatedly attempted, without luck and with exhaustion, to retake the city.
Of Vaudrey, the battalion’s chaplain wrote that “I knew him well and, as anyone who knew him must, honoured, admired and respected him. I feel that one of my best friends out here has gone.”
His younger brother Captain Norman Vaudrey, of the 17th Manchesters, was killed on the first day of the Somme.
Vaudrey is buried at Amara War Cemetery, Iraq, Grave XXLE 17.
Manchester Evening News
World Rugby Museum