Torrance Bob Image 1 Bradford City 1910

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Torrance Bob Image 1 Bradford City 1910

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Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire born centre half Bob Torrance began his football career with hometown junior club Kirkintilloch Rob Roy in 1906 and from there he joined newly promoted First Division Bradford City in August 1907 for £5, making his Football League debut against Everton in November 1908, initially playing as a full back. In his first two seasons of first team football he was on the fringes, making 17 appearances for The Bantams, but he came more regularly into the first team reckoning in 1910-11, making 19 League appearances, but although he made more appearances in the League than any of their other centre halves, he only played in the third round of their FA Cup run, and when they got to the Final against Newcastle United, Willie Gildea was preferred in the Final at The Crystal Palace, which finished a 0-0 draw.

However Torrance got the nod over the injured Gildea for the replay four days later at Old Trafford, Bradford City prevailing 1-0 courtesy of a first half Jimmy Speirs goal. For his performance Torrance was named Man of the Match in the 1911 FA Cup Final.

Torrance became more involved in first team games, playing 31 games the following season including 8 cup ties during City’s FA Cup defence, and more than 35 games a season in the three seasons before League football was suspended due to the outbreak of the First World War, by when he had played 180 times for the club. He also played two international trial matches for Scotland in 1913 and 1914,when Anglo Scots met the Home Scots, however he wasn’t selected for a full international. His last game for City was a wartime regional game against Barnsley in March 1917.

Gunner 222389 Torrance enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in March 1917 and was subsequently posted to A Battery of 162nd Brigade. On 24 April 1918 they were just south and east of Hallebast Crossroads on the west of the Kemmelbeek, when they came under heavy artillery fire, which decimated the batteries. Torrance was seriously injured and died later that day of his wounds, the second player, goalscorer Jimmy Speirs the other, from the 1911 Final to die in the conflict. Torrance is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing, near Ypres, Belgium. Robert Torrance has no known grave. Either his body was never found, or he was buried in an unmarked grave, it is possible he was killed when a field hospital in which he was being treated was shelled.

 

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