Walter Martin (rugby union)

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Walter Martin
Birth name Walter John Martin
Date of birth (1883-05-14)14 May 1883
Place of birth Woodford, England
Date of death 30 April 1933(1933-04-30) (aged 49)
Place of death Newport, Wales
School Newport High School
University University College, Cardiff
Rugby union career
Position(s) Fly-half
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1904-1921 Newport RFC
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1912-1919 Wales Wales 3 (0)

Walter John Martin DCM (born 14 May 1883 in Woodford, England)[1] was a Wales international rugby union player. He played club rugby predominantly for Newport, captaining the side and played county rugby for Monmouthshire. While playing for Newport, Martin faced the three major Southern Hemisphere teams, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. At international level he represented Wales on three occasions.[2]

Club career[edit]

Martin joined Newport Rugby Club in 1904, and during his career would captain the club during one of the most successful era's for the club. At Newport he formed an incredibly successful partnership with Tommy Vile, and they would face the touring New Zealanders, South Africans and Australians together.

International career[edit]

Martin made his debut for Wales against Ireland at the Balmoral Showgrounds on 9 March 1912 as part of the Five Nations Championship. In an inexperienced team, Martin was one of seven new caps, under the captaincy of Jack Bancroft, and although leading at half time the team lost 12-5. Despite the loss, Martin was back for the next match, and this time finished on the winning side. Martin did not play for Wales the next season, but was back after the First World War, in a game against the New Zealand Army, which is now recognised as an international game. Martin was not the first choice in the New Zealand game, as the selectors had chosen Cardiff's Clem Lewis, but Lewis had picked up an injury playing for the British Army team. Martin was drafted in as a late replacement but during the game injured his head saving a try. Martin was removed from play, but later recovered and resumed the game, although his play was not as strong after the event.[3] Martin's three caps were all played in partnership with Newport team mate, Tommy Vile.

International games played[edit]


Military service and later life[edit]

In World War I Martin served in the South Wales Borderers and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions during the war. On his return he rejoined Newport and worked for Great Western Railway at Newport Docks, but in 1933 he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Martin, who had suffered from depression, hanged himself while receiving treatment as a long term patient at St Woolos Hospital on 30 April 1933.


  • Billot, John (1972). All Blacks. Ferndale: Ron Jones Publications. 
  • Smith, David; Williams, Gareth (1980). Fields of Praise: The Official History of The Welsh Rugby Union. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-0766-3. 


  1. ^ Newport Rugby Club player profiles
  2. ^ Welsh Rugby Union player profiles
  3. ^ Billot (1972), pg 51.
  4. ^ Smith (1980), pg 469.
Rugby Union Captain
Preceded by
Tommy Vile
Newport RFC Captain
Succeeded by
Harry Uzzell