Our Great and Humble Beginnings
Founded in 1923 by English expats living and working in Paris, The British Rugby Club of Paris is a team steeped in History. Although it briefly suspended its activities during the Second World War, the BRFC has operated continuously for over 95 years.
The BRFC regularly hosts visiting teams, particularly during international match weekends, and Tour at least once every season, visiting fun and diverse places such as Cardiff, Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome and Bayonne.
The club has long prided itself on it’s excellent atmosphere both on and off the field and is well known for it’s “esprit d’équipe”. As one of the most inclusive clubs in Paris, the British Rugby Football Club reflects the thriving international community in Paris by welcoming players of all nationalities and ability levels.
The BRC - Scottish Section Not a Golf Club
In the early years, after The Great War of 1914-18, the British rugby men resident in Paris enjoyed the ownership of an active rugby club of their own called ‘The British Rugby Club of Paris’ and it is not without interest to note that the Scots were prominent in the membership. In 1926, the captain was J B Langlands, a Watsonian, and as he, probably more so than any other, conceived the idea of a Scottish Section attached to the BRC, his rugby background must be noted.
Johnny Langlands was Captain of the Watson’s College XV in 1914-15, and, on returning from distinguished service in The Great War, played an important part in the successes of the outstanding Watsonian back division of the early 1920s, taking part in the Inter-City of 1919. He left Edinburgh about 1922, and, after a year or two with London Scottish, the next we have to report on his rugby activities was when, in 1926, as captain of The British Rugby Club of Paris – known to the Scottish Section as the ‘Parent Body’ – he spent a holiday at Gullane with the Carmichael family.
Mr D S Carmichael, the father – or ‘feyther’ as he was affectionately known to a generation of Watsonian rugby men – and his son ‘JH’ or Jimmy, who, like Langlands, was a member of the Watsonian back division from 1919 onwards and played for Scotland against France, Wales and Ireland in 1921, were the hosts. During that holiday, the idea of a liaison club with the The British Rugby Club of Paris was born. Mr D S Carmichael, who presented to the ‘Scottish Section’ a golf trophy (known as ‘The Duncan Carmichael Cup’) to be played for annually, is looked on as the founder of The British Rugby Club of Paris (Scottish Section) and his son ‘JH’ was the first constitutionally appointed President in 1948 when the Club was reorganised after The Second World War.
From 1926-39 the Club had a small but enthusiastic membership, meeting at golf outings, holding an annual dinner and, most important of all, keeping in constant touch with the Parent Body in Paris. In 1935, the Club entered a team for the Edinburgh Dispatch Trophy and to this date competes regularly in that competition with a modicum of success.
In 1939, when war broke out, the secretaryship was in the hands of A Robson (Heriot’s FP), but by the end of hostilities Robson had departed abroad and the job of reorganising the Club fell on the able and willing shoulders of G B Hendry. Along with J H Carmichael and a few other senior members he undertook the complete reorganisation of the Club, which took place on 31st October 1948. A written constitution was brought into force for the first time and a representative committee formed under the presidency of J H Carmichael. A glance at that constitution, which has been slightly altered from time to time, shows that:
(1) The Parent Club had, unfortunately, been unable to survive a war and had become extinct.
(2) The Scottish Section, though now having no Parent Body, which was originally its chief excuse for existence, has become a happy little social club for rugby men with a limited membership, which holds two golf outings each year and celebrates with an annual dinner each January. In addition, a team is still entered for the ‘Dispatch Trophy’.
It should be noted that the Parent Club was successfully reformed in Paris in 1966 under the Presidency of Andy Macelhone of Harry’s Bar, 5 Rue Daunau, Paris, and has had some very successful seasons.
The golf outings must not lead anyone to suppose that The British Rugby Club of Paris (Scottish Section) is a golf club. It is not. Golf outings are merely looked on as the most suitable method for the members to meet socially in the Spring and Autumn.
The Club now respectfully looks upon Mr D S Carmichael as its founder and Mr J H Carmichael as its first properly constituted and appointed President.
Hall of Fame Recognizing the Titans of their Era
Created in 2012, the BRFC Hall of Fame is meant to reward people who have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to the Club as Players and/or Officers over the years. They are members for life of the Club. Once every season, the Committee nominates the annual promotion on the proposal of its Officers and of Hall of Fame Members.