Robert Leslie Clegg
1887 – 3rd September 1917. 4th Lancashire Fusiliers. Royal Flying Corps. 28961
Robert Leslie Clegg was a former Manchester FC player originally from Holbeck, Windemere. After a cross-continental education, Clegg returned home, and played in the three-quarters for Manchester toward the end of the 1900s.
Eventually, Clegg left England and found work in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Upon the outbreak of war, he returned to enlist. He joined up with the 4th Lancashire Fusiliers in Gallipoli on the 8th September 1915, where he took command of a company.
Clegg managed to survive the disastrous invasion unharmed, and afterward decided to join the Royal Flying Corps. He first served in Egypt as a flying instructor, but in May 1917 he was wounded and had to return home. Two months later, Clegg had recovered and was sent to the Western Front.
On the 3rd September, Clegg engaged in an aerial battle over enemy lines near Sainte Marie Capelle, France. During the dogfight, he was badly wounded in the leg, and made to retreat toward his own lines. Clegg managed to return to allied airspace, but lost consciousness before he could execute a landing, and was killed in the resulting crash.
Clegg is buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension in the Departement du Nord, France. Grave XVI, A. 16.
“Flight” Magazine, 13th September 1917
World Rugby Museum