Honouring Frank Warren Sanders

February 1, 2023 Albion

Number 3. Frank Warren Sanders, Born in Newton Abbot 24/1/1893 , Passed away 22/6/53.

Popularly known as ” Sandy”, he commenced playing rugby for Dartmouth Athletic, later joining Brixham RFC, and after the 1st World War joined Plymouth Albion, as a hooker. During the 1921/22 season, he played in 38 of the 42 1st XV Fixtures , he also made his County Championship Debut for Devon on 5th November against Gloucester at Torquay. Devon lost on that occasion 6pts to 9. Sandy went on to represent Devon until the 1925/26 season. During this time, he captained Devon on 13th September 1924 against New Zealand (known as the Invincibles) in their opening fixture of their tour, Devon lost 11pts to Nil.

It was in the 1922/23 season that he was selected for an England trial on Saturday 16th December. In the programme notes of Albion v Cambornethe following week, 23/12/22, (A game Albion won 10pts to 5) there was a quote that noted of his trial, “Frank Saunders was one of the best Forwards on the Field and fully deserves further recognition”. He was first recognised when selected as a non-travelling reserve for the England v Wales Fixture on 20th January 1923 at Twickenham, (England 7pts to 3). He finally won his first Cap on 10th February 1923, against Ireland at Twickenham, England won 23pts to 5. Interestingly his two props on that day both played for Devonport Services, E.R.Garaner and W.G.E.Luddington. Additionally, and of interest to rugby trivia fans, this was the last England International played away from H.Q; played at Welford Road, Leicester RFC. He went on to gain a further two Caps, 17th March 1923 away v Scotland, England won the Calcutta Cup 8pts to 6, and on 2nd April 1923 away v France, England won 12pts to 3. In Season 1925/26 he was elected Captain of Plymouth Albion.

After his playing days were over, he became President of Devon referees’ society alongside his role as secretary of the civil service lawn bowls club. Additionally he was also a founding member of Plymouth amateur rowing club. His occupation was a patternmaker with Phillips Shipyard, Dartmouth and later with H.M.Dockyard Devonport, and promoted to chargeman of patternmakers, which position he held until his death, aged 60.