In common with most, if not all Scottish clubs, particularly Hearts, Aberdeen, Falkirk, Raith Rovers and Queen’s Park, many Hibs players enlisted during the First World War, several doing so before conscription was introduced in 1916.
Among those who served was Alexander Ramsay “Sandy” Grosert, who had played in the Scottish Cup final against Celtic in 1914 having joined the Easter Road club from Leith Amateurs three years earlier.
Born on New Year’s Day 1889, the right-half served in McCrae’s Battalion, the Machine Gun Corps, largely composed of professional and amateur sportsmen including 16 Hearts players but also a good number from other clubs along with rugby players and athletes.
Grosert was serving as a second lieutenant in the Gordon Highlanders when his heroics in France were recognised by the award of the Military Cross, the third highest military award.
His citation read: “For conspicuous gallantry in charge of a platoon during the operations near Roeux on August 27, 1918. When the troops on his left flank and the enemy made a determined bombing attack on his position, he continued to go over the open under fire from one post to another directing and encouraging the men. He held on until only four of the men were left, and he was almost surrounded. He behaved splendidly.”
Grosert was severely gassed and wounded during the Great War but he returned to play for Hibs until 1920 after which he moved to Aberdeen where he played 183 games in the next three years.
A qualified dentist, Grosert became a good golfer after retiring from playing football, winning the Aberdeen Open Amateur Tournament in 1928.
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