In 2009, the Battersea Ironsides Rugby Football Club Limited was incorporated and in 2010, merged with Battersea Ironsides Minis RFC. At about the same time the club moved to a new club logo and symbology, incorporating both the Ironsides Helmet and the Tank. It was also decided in 2010 to focus on the name "Ironsides", and though the club name remains Battersea Ironsides RFC Ltd, for informal purposes we are known across the board as IRONSIDES RUGBY. We have also incorporated the RTR Regimental Shoulder Flash with a bit of artistic licence into the Black, Red and Green shoulder display on our new club shirts.
The club was founded in 1943 by Lt Colonel E H St Maur Toope from members of the 42nd Royal Tank Regiment Cadet Battalion located in the Borough of Battersea.
The 42nd Royal Tank Regiment (42 RTR) was an armoured regiment of the British Army from 1938 until 1956. It was part of the Royal Tank Regiment, itself part of the Royal Armoured Corps. Motto ""Through the mud and the blood to the green fields beyond" and reflected in the regimental colours Brown, Red and Green. The unit was formed by converting the 7th (23rd London) Battalion of The East Surrey Regiment, a Territorial Army infantry battalion, into a tank unit. For a short while it was 42 (7 (23 London) Battalion The East Surrey Regiment) Battalion of the Royal Tank Corps before becoming part of the Royal Tank Regiment in 1939. The unit formed part of 1st Army Tank Brigade. For the invasion of Northern Europe in 1944, it was equipped with Canal Defence Light Grant tanks. From 1947, it was in the 22nd Armoured Brigade under the 56th (London) Infantry Division. In 1956, the regiment was converted back to infantry to become the "23rd London" again.
In 1948, the title was changed to "Battersea Ironsides", "Ironside" being the affeconate name for the WWII Armoured Tank, and the club was opened up to other players.
Our Logo - The Ironsides Helmet - Ironside was also the name given to a trooper in the Parliamentarian cavalry formed by English political leader Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century, during the English Civil War. The name came from "Old Ironsides", one of Cromwell's nicknames. A contemporary Parliamentarian newspaper asserted that it was the Royalist Prince Rupert who had given Cromwell the nickname after Rupert's defeat at Marston Moor in July 1644.
What follows is an extract from the memoirs of the Colonel entitled, "The Early Years".
"...1944 found the club, then known as 42nd Royal Tank Regiment Cadets XV, still struggling. Weak in fixtures, very green as regards playing capabilities, but full of enthusiasm. London and the Home Counties were still under sporadic bombardment, and although the VI “doodle-bugs” had almost ceased to trouble us, their place was taken by the V2 rocket. I can recall one game punctuated by the not too distant double “whoomp” of an intruding V2 from Holland. However, the game went on.
The first match against St Marks Youth Club from Croydon was drawn 6-6, and that against Phillips Sports Club XV at Berrylands lost 0-12. Next we met a representative London Sea Cadets side that beat us 3-16.
On the 9 December 1944, meeting Phillips Sorts Club for the second time, we recorded our first win 3-0 by a penalty kicked by Raymond. It was an occasion for celebration, and celebrate we did. I was successful in lifting the ban on intoxicating liquor served to cadets in the Home Guard Canteen at Clapham Junction Drill hall, to which most of the team returned, and thus the boys were introduced to the other reason for playing Rugger – a pint or two of the best!
In those early days we often had a following of girlfriends, mainly from the local Girl’s Training Corps. Indeed I believe that some wives of older club members were among those early supporters too.
A summary of the season reads as follows:-
St Marks Youth Club Draw 6-6
Celebrating 75 Years @ Ironsides - 1st Team 1952 - 53
Celebrating 75 Years @ Ironsides - Minis with TeamGB
Celebrating 75 Years @ Ironsides - Juniors
Celebrating 75 Years @ Ironsides - Minis
Celebrating 75 Years @ Ironsides - 1st Team 2003 - 04
Celebrating 75 Years @ Ironsides - Vets
Celebrating 75 Years @ Ironsides - Youths
Celebrating 75 Years @ Ironsides - 1st Team 1943 - 44
Celebrating 75 Years @ Ironsides - 1st Team 1946 - 47
Celebrating 75 Years @ Ironsides - 1st Team 1948 - 48