Ronald Anderson Gerrard (Major) DSO
Born: 18th January 1912 in Hong Kong
Education: Taunton School
Achievements: Somerset Captain (1933 to 1939 seasons), Bath Captain (1934 to 1936, 1937 to 1938)
Honours: Somerset (45 appearances), England (14 caps), Barbarian, 1932-33. Distinguished Service Order.
Debut game: 11th October 1930 v Plymouth Albion
Final game: 7th April 1942 v Bridgend Sports Club
Number of Appearances: 157
Ronald Anderson Gerrard was born in Hong Kong where his father served as Assistant Commissioner of Police. Upon his father’s death he came to the UK at age 15 to be educated at Taunton School. He was soon established as an outstanding sportsman: a Public Schools’ Weight (Shot) Putting champion. He also represented the Territorial Army in the sport. He also excelled at just about every athletic pursuit from cricket (Played for Somerset in 1935), tennis, water polo, fives, through to rifle shooting – and he had also played some soccer!
Taunton introduced him to the handling game with equal success.
He became articled to a Bath firm of civil engineers and made his debut for Bath 1st XV at Plymouth on October 11th 1930.
In 1930, at the age of 17 he was selected for Somerset v Gloucester as centre threequarter and retained his place in the County XV until the outbreak of war in 1939. He captained Somerset from 1933 to 1939.
His all round skills were rewarded with England Trials in 1931, leading to the first of 14 caps against the Springboks in January 1932. He played against Scotland, Ireland and Wales in 1932-33-34-36 and against New Zealand in 1936.
He captained the Combined Somerset and Gloucester Counties XV versus New Zealand in 1936 and played outside Prince Obolensky in the historic game for England versus New Zealand in the same year
He played twice for Barbarians and was also in their winning squad at the 1934 Middlesex 7’s.
A powerful centre threequarter with a keen eye for an opening and outstanding defensive work. No opponent ever wriggled out of Gerry’s tackles or forgot one of his handoffs. He captained Bath from 1934 to 1936 and again from 1937 to 1938
He appeared in 45 games for Somerset ( 20 as captain) in the years 1933 to 1937, 1937 to 1939
He married Miss Mollie Taylor, a local architect in 1937, who was destined to become not only the first lady President of the Bath Club but the first such of any “first class” club.
A Captain in the Territorials, he was ‘called up’ with the onset of the Second World War and served with the rank of Major. As an engineer, he was decorated with the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for clearance of mines whilst under fire. His action in hazardous conditions contributed to the Allied advance in the North African campaign. His citation read: “Major Gerrard showed the greatest courage and determination in his leadership which was an inspiration to all who saw it. The successful piercing of the enemy fields in this sector was largely due to his personal efforts and example.”
Tragically, this popular all-round sportsman, something of a schoolboy hero, was killed in action just three months later. He is buried in the Tripoli War Cemetery