CricketEurope Irish Cricket History logo
Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Henry Etlinger
  • Born 27 April 1880, St Marylebone, Middlesex, England
  • Died 27 April 1915, Ypres, Belgium
  • Educated Marlborough College, Dublin University
  • Occupation Army Officer
  • Debut 24 July 1906 v I Zingari at The Vice Regal Ground
  • Cap Number 258
  • Style Right hand batsman; slow right arm bowler
  • Teams Dublin University, Phoenix, Punjab

Henry Etlinger was a good upper order batsman whose brief career in Irish cricket suggests that - despite his failure in his only match for the national side - he would, under different circumstances have been a valuable member of any Irish team. He was one of the four sons and two daughters of Edmund and Charlotte Etlinger; Edmund, a Russian born civil engineer was a naturalised British citizen, and his wife was Dublin born which probably explains Henry's choice of University. An elder brother, Thomas, who followed Edmund's profession, was also a cricketer of some ability, playing ten first class matches in South Africa.

Henry, who followed Thomas to Marlborough, a school well known for its cricket which had already produced Irish wicket keeper batsman Frank Browning, and made his debut for the College 1st XI in 1895, being a regular from 1896 and captain in his final year 1898. His first appearance at Lord's came in 1896, in the annual match against Rugby School, also a nursery for several Irish cricketers, when he was dismissed for 2 and 14. Among the Rugby XI was John Maffey, who, as Sir John Maffey, was British Representative in Ireland from 1939-1949, when he struck up an unlikely friendship with Taoiseach Eamonn de Valera and also did much to keep good class cricket going in Dublin.

Henry's last year in the Marlborough XI was also his best when he scored 61 and 68 against Cheltenham College, having a match winning second innings partnership with RH Spooner who was to become one of the classic batsmen of the Golden Age, the subject of many rhapsodic articles by Neville Cardus. Henry failed in the Rugby match, but was able to lead his side to victory thanks to a memorable 138 from Spooner.

Henry entered Dublin University in the summer term of 1899 and was immediately in the XI captained by Jack Brunskill. Henry totalled 494 runs at an average of 30, besides taking 10 wickets at just over 20. He was one of the six University batsmen to score a century that season, 112 v the Curragh Brigade, often the whipping boys of the College Park batsmen. Henry seems to have left the University before the 1900 season in which he did not appear. The 1901 English Census shows him in a London hotel, described as an "Army Student."

However he did play one further match for the University against Cambridge later that summer, in a week in which - as part of the University's tercentenary celebrations - Oxford also played in College Park. However Henry played only against Cambridge and did not play otherwise that season. It would seem that he was visiting relatives in Dublin and was brought in to strengthen the side, which he certainly did. Batting first the hosts lost four quick wickets before Henry at 5, was joined by JT Gwynn, fresh from making 84 against Oxford. Together they put on well over a hundred, Henry finishing with 103 and Gwynn 79. The University made 283 and then dismissed their guests for 200. After more good batting by Gwynn in the second innings (Henry making 15), the University were able to declare setting Cambridge 325 to win. They finished 35 runs short with 4 wickets standing.

Early the following year Henry was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the North Staffordshire Regiment and took part in the Second Boer War, from which he emerged unscathed with two campaign medals. In December 1903 his regiment was in India which allowed him time for cricket, though he failed in the one match of which a score has been seen, making 1 and 0 for Punjab against North West Frontier. Punjab won by 44 runs, owing much to a double century by former Harrow School captain Geoffrey Cookson.

Back in Ireland, on leave, in late July 1906 Henry played some matches for Phoenix and was picked for Ireland in the 12 a side match against I Zingari. A weak IZ side lost a two day match by 253 runs, finding the pace of Gus Kelly too much for them in the second innings when the former Oxford Blue took 8/30. The Vice Regal Ground was specially reopened for the occasion, having been out of use for some time and was in poor condition. Few batsmen prospered, Henry who opened the batting with Bob Lambert in the first innings and Oscar Andrews in the second, being no exception making 13 and 0.

In 1912, Henry, now a Captain transferred to the 9th Bhopal Infantry in the Indian Army. He was still of this rank and regiment on his 35 birthday, 27 April 1914, when he was killed in the bloodbath known as 2nd Ypres, one of 17 former members of the University CC to die in the First World War. Among them Anthony Corley, elder brother of double international Harry Corley, had also been a member of the 1899 XI and Charles Faussett, who had played against Cambridge in 1901, was also a 2nd Ypres victim, six days after Henry Etlinger.