London - Harry Walker, England's oldest ex-international rugby union player, has died aged 103 his former club Coventry announced.
Walker, a prop, made nine Test appearances for England - making his
debut at the advanced age of 32 in 1947 and had to buy his own pair of
white shorts to play for his country as Coventry wore an all blue strip.
"When we started singing 'God Save The King', it got to me a bit," he
told the BBC in 2015 on making his debut when George VI was King.
However, the meanness of the Rugby Football Union eventually got to
Walker - he and fellow team-mate Mickey Steele-Bodger were reprimanded
for taking a taxi instead of a bus when they were at risk of missing eve
of match training - and he declined the opportunity to win another
"We had to buy our own shorts," he told The Daily Telegraph in 2015.
"We all had jobs, so it cost money to play.
"All the while they (the RFU) filled the stadium."
Coventry organised a party for his birthday earlier this year leading him to remark 'Coventry has always been me'.
"It is with great sadness that we can confirm club patron and
@EnglandRugby's oldest international Harry Walker has passed away aged
103," the club tweeted.
Bill Beaumont, chairman of World Rugby, also paid a handsome tribute to Walker.
"Saddened to hear of Harry Walker's passing. At 103 years young, he
was England's oldest international," tweeted the former England lock and
"Stalwart of his beloved Coventry and a great character. Always
enjoyed discussing all matters rugby with him when Fylde played
Coventry. He will be greatly missed."
Coventry club president Peter Rossborough said Walker - who was a
loyal spectator and attended matches right up till April - didn't care
much for the backs.
"He was very single-minded that the only thing that mattered on a
rugby field was how the forwards played and 'b****r' the backs.
"Although he used stronger words," he told The Daily Telegraph.
Walker's loyalty to Coventry was such that despite earning a pittance
as a tool fitter he turned down an offer to switch codes to rugby
league side Huddersfield, who offered him a £100 signing on fee.
Walker - who was once dropped by Coventry for scoring too many tries
as it was not seen befitting for a prop to do such things - played in
all the Five Nations matches in both the 1947 and 1948 tournaments.
However, his favourite international was when he played in the
Barbarians side that beat a previously unbeaten Australia side in 1948.