D. Bedell-Sivright

Born 8 December 1880, Edinburgh, Scotland
Died 5 September 1915 Gallipoli, Turkey


Never played for Navy Rugby but died in Service during WWI


Inter Service Record

Played 0 Won 0 Drew 0 Lost 0
Inter Service Titles n/a



Cambridge University RUFC
Edinburgh University RFC
West of Scotland RFC
Edinburgh Wanderers RFC

Many modern day rugby commentators make reference to the dual sporting achievements of Sonny Bill Williams the World Cup winning All Black who is also the New Zealand heavyweight boxing champion. Well long before that there was David Bedell-Sivright who won 22 caps for Scotland, captained the British Isles on their tour to Australia in 1903, was a successful Cambridge University blue and when called up for Service during the First World War had the good sense to change his light blue University hoops to the dark blue of Navy Rugby. He died in Service from septicaemia and this larger than life naval surgeon is commemorated on the Portsmouth War memorial.

Numerous stories abound with regard to Bedell-Sivright who was universally acknowledged as a gentlemen off the pitch but one of life’s original hard men on it. He stands accused of some of the earliest form of ‘referee abuse’ that I have found in print. Though the language of the day makes it seem more quaint I am sure at the time the fall out was significant. There is a good article on this and Bedell-Sivright’s boxing exploits in the Daily Telegraph from June 2005.

For a couple of further tales of Bedell-Sivright’s off field behaviour it is worth while browsing the British Lions Hall of Fame where the alleged tackling of a cart horse are recounted along with a one man protest on Princes Street, Edinburgh.

His contribution to Navy Rugby can not be measured in the number of caps he won but I am sure that we all have watched players (in our chosen era) who whilst wearing the famous Navy Blue shirt of the Senior Service display many of Bedell-Sivright’s characteristics and keeping alive his ‘values’.