Danny Boxshall – QPR Player & Winner of the Military Medal

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.

Steve Russell

15 thoughts on “Danny Boxshall – QPR Player & Winner of the Military Medal

  1. Great photos Steve and a really interesting article.’Gas Masks For Goal Posts‚Äô is indeed a good book. Well worth a read.

  2. It puts modern day footballers to shame with their off the field ‘problems’!
    Great article Steve and I also thoroughly recommend reading the book to counterbalance the hype that surrounds the modern game. It has many mentions of the Rs as well.
    I suppose that after the horrors of war playing football was a great release for players and spectators alike and the most mundane of games attracted large crowds.
    Can’t get enough of the war period so looking forward to more from you Steve!

  3. Great story.
    It would be nice if someone could track down any of his family to find out whether he ever spoke about his QPR days.
    What a life he had.Making pianos one day,then being whisked off to London to play professional football in London.And then getting shot at on a bridge in Germany.All in the space of a few years.
    Love these old stories.Bring them on.

    • Hello I am John Boxshall,younger brother of Danny Boxshalloften spoke of Q.P,R.I live in Australia,would lkie to hear from you .J.Boxshall

  4. Glad you liked it and thanks for leaving a comment. There have been some responses from family members to various articles,including Reg Allen’s son. He was put in touch with Vic Gibbons who’s book on our legendary keeper will hopefully be published later this year.

  5. Very interesting article.

    After reading Gas mask for Goal posts you wonder how on Earth they managed to play Football under those circumstances…but I have just read TOR the history of German Football and they were still playing when in WW2 the Russians were almost at the gates of Berlin!

    Today we have some instances of Pro Football teams almost refusing to play because they dont like the Dressing Room Facilities at the away ground.

  6. Hi, Thank you for posting this! I am Danny’s grand daughter, and am sad to report he died in 2009 on 5th November. He was very well loved, gentle and proud man. He never told us any stories of his war days, but loved his football until the end.

    I keep typing things and deleting them, so sorry if this is a bit short, but I really don’t know what to say 🙁

    • hello LOUISE I am John Boxshall your grandads brother,would love to hear from you,I live in Australia plus my family look forward to hearimg from you ,if you are able to .regards Great uncle John ?.

  7. Hi Louise, I was fortunate to know Danny and played Football with him. What a lovely man. I managed to hear how he won The M.M. when I saw the Medal in His house. We used to live near Danny and Marion in Chelmsford and are very good friends.

  8. Hi Ray.

    Nice to hear from someone who knew him. He ended up with Alzheimers, which he had for 10+ years. It was very sad to see him like that. I just keep trying to remember my energetic grandad x My nan (Marion) is still alive and living in Bradford. She has senile dementia, which in one way is a blessing as she believes she has seen my grandad, and doesn’t know he has passed on.

    He will always be missed x He has a great grandaughter called Danni, he never met her, but she is named after him x

    My mum now holds his medal. She has it safely in a keep box as a tribute to him.


    • Wow, this is amazing! Hi Louise, Danny was my Uncle, so my Dad is his only brother, John. I would so love to hear from you. I have never met your Mum, but did spend a short time visiting Uncle Danny & Auntie Marion back in 1986. We live in Australia. My Mum and Dad speak with relatives who have let us know of A. Marion’s ill health. My Dad adores his big brother.

  9. Hi April and John.

    I am a bit lost for words at the moment x Was not expecting other family members to comment x I have had admin contact me from this page, and will ask for an email address so I can get in touch with you. Admin, please feel free to give John and April my email address too.
    Kind regards, and hopefully be in touch soon x

  10. Hi. My comment disappeared. Would love to get in touch with you both, I have spoken to my mum who would also like contact. Admin, please feel free to share my details with John and April. Kind regards and hopefully speak to you soon x

  11. Hi to everyone, it is so good to read your comments about my dad, he was much loved and respected. I had many letters when he passed away from people who had met and worked with him, thank you all for your comments. I hope to keep in contact with uncle John and my cousin April. much love. Maureen

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