ONE of the very last links with the Saints’ team of the Second World War has been severed, writes Alex Service.
Tom Waring passed away on November 9 at the age of 89. He was a member of a famous local sporting family of three brothers who played for the Saints [Jackie and Gerald were the other two] and was a teenager when he made his debut at left centre against Wakefield Trinity at Belle Vue on February 26 1944.
“Success at 16 – Tom Waring’s debut at Wakefield” said the St. Helens Newspaper in their match report. The noted correspondent, Premier, took up the story: “Tom Waring made history at Wakefield on Saturday. He took part in first-class rugby at the age of 16 and is probably the first St. Helens player to do so…..Tom is the biggest lad at his age on the Saints’ register. In football rig he looks like a man”.
A former pupil of Sacred Heart school, he first came to prominence when the St. Helens club launched a junior team that played in the Widnes League, in place of an ‘A’ team and, of course, as a result of the situation at the time, promotion to the seniors was rapid.
Tom, who lived in Doulton Street, a drop-kick away from Saints’ ground, was a stalwart in the threequarters for the reminder of the 1943-44 season. Tom could play in the centres or on the wing using that powerful physique of his to smash through opposing defenders.
His last match for the seniors was at Batley, on January 26 1946, when the Saints lost 0-15 to the Gallant Youths. Tom was right centre to the flier ‘Sonny’ Doyle that day. He played 34 times for the Saints overall, scoring 5 tries. Knee trouble forced him out of the game.
Tom, who joined the RAF at the age of 18, initially worked for St. Helens Corporation in the building department before becoming a postman. He and his wife Edith lived in Haydock and Eccleston at various times, with Tom finally getting a job at Tyrers in Bridge Street. Eventually, they moved to Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, to live with their son, Gary.
We send our condolences to Tom’s family on this sad occasion.