Frederick Charles Belson
Born: 13th February 1874 in Ramsgate
Achievements: British War Medal and Victory Medal ASC
Honours: England, British Lions number 68
Debut game: 29th September 1894 v Clifton
He had played for Clifton RFC in the !892-3 season.
Final game: 17th December 1898 v Bridgwater Albion
Number of Appearances: 80 + (records inaccurate in 1890s)
F C Belson was a member of the Avon Rowing Club senior crew. He was at No2 with fellow Bath player Frank Soane at No3
Frederick became Bath’s first “British Lion” in 1899 (named the Anglo Australian Touring Party) under the captaincy and management of the Reverend Matthew Mullineux. Frederick played in the first of the four tests against Australia. This tour was the first that was made exclusively to Australia. It would be another 90 years until the Lions next made a tour to Australia. It was a feature of these early tours that the party include not only men of the cloth but those who were to win medals for gallantry. Matthew Mullineux was both winning the Military Cross in the First World War. In 1899 the tour was the first to have players representing the Four Home Unions though less than half of the players had been capped. The tour party won the series 3-1but lost 3 of the 21 games. It’s strange to think that the tourists were lauded for their open play which was much admired by the Australian public. Some years later the position was reversed!
Brother of Barclay H Belson
Frederick moved to Abergavenny in September 1896 but was back playing for Bath in February 1897. In between he played a couple of games for Bristol
In April 1900 Frederick is reported as having gone to war as an Imperial Yeoman and it is confirmed that he did serve in South Africa. He later served in the First World War.
Frederick’s campaign medals are held by the National Army Museum. They are:- Queen’s South Africa Medal 1899 with 4 clasps (Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, Laing’s Nek in Thormeycroft’s Mounted Infantry) and the King’s South Africa Medal with 2 clasps all awarded during the Boer Wars.
He was also awarded the standard British War Medal and Victory Medal
In 1920 the family left the UK for Victoria BC where he was described as being “on Government Service”
They all returned in 1924 and Frederick died in Southsea on 15 August 1952