In my souvenir edition of the FA Cup 6th Round tie against Derby County in 1948 it states:
‘Danny Boxshall is unique in that he was signed as a professional without having been seen by any of the club officials. Recommendation was so high that there was no necessity to bother about this formality. He was signed and played in a New Year’s Day match during the war; as another war memory can recall that he won the Military Medal. Comes from Yorkshire; is fast and full of energy. Sometimes lets enthusiasm run away with skill, but there are worse faults. Until recently he was learning how to make pianos, but when he was near the end of the course, Union officials said it was not fair that he should have two jobs. Argue the pros and cons while waiting for the match to begin; the fact remains that now he has only football as his means of livelihood.’
I then found out about his wartime exploits when Colin Woodley kindly sent me a copy¬† of, ‘Gas Masks For Goal Posts’ by Anton Rippon which includes an amazing account of how Danny Boxshall actually won his Military Medal:
‘When Queen’s Park Rangers beat Mansfield Town 3-0 in March 1946, one of their goalscorers was a former army footballer, Danny Boxshall. Born in Bradford, Boxshall had signed for QPR the previous January, playing his first game against Watford on 1st January 1946. He enjoyed the excellent scoring record of 17 goals in only 37 appearances in the immediate post war period before QPR sold him to Bristol City. Just over three years earlier, in late March 1945, Acting Sergeant Danny Boxshall of the 53rd Reconnaissance Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps, won the Military Medal while in charge of a Bren gun crew in north-west Germany. Boxshall was commanding the lead reconnaissance car after his troop had been ordered to seize a bridge over the River Berkel in the town of Vreden. As he approached the bridge, his car was engaged by the enemy, but Boxshall simply ordered his driver to accelerate towards the Germans. The vehicle sped towards the bridge, Boxshall firing his Bren gun, and the remaining defenders threw down their arms and surrendered without destroying the valuable crossing point. The recommendation spoke of his ‘boldness and dash…without any consideration for his personal safety’.
His previous club was Salem Athletic and Gordon Macey states that he actually made 40 1st team appearances for the R’s and scored 18 goals. He was sold to Bristol City for ¬£2,575 in August 1948 after collecting a 3rd Division (South) Championship medal. He moved from Bristol City to Bournemouth in the summer of 1950 and later went on to play for Rochdale and Chelmsford before managing Marconi Athletic. He died aged 89 on 5th November 2009. His funeral took place at Nab Wood Crematorium in Shipley, Yorkshire.
The other sources of reference are: ‘Queen’s Park Rangers – The Complete Record’ by Gordon Macey and ‘Heroes in Hoops’ by John Marks. I would like to thank Moreno Ferrari for the use of the above pics from his collection. The second one shows Danny Boxshall and Ivor Powell flanking AAA sprinter E. McDonald Bailey. Lastly, my thanks once again to Colin Woodley for sending me a copy of Anton Rippon’s book. It really is a superb read which I would highly recommend.