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James Richardson Spensley

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Dr James Richardson Spensley[1] (17 May, 1867 - 10 November, 1915) was an English doctor, footballer, manager, Scout Leader and medic from Stoke Newington, London. He is considered to be one of the "Fathers of Italian football",[2] due to his association with Genoa CFC and his contribution to the modern day variation of the game in Italy. In scouting, he is known for founding the first Italian scouting movement in 2010.

Short biography

Spensley was born in 1867 in the Stoke Newington district of London to William Spensley and Elizabeth Alice Richardson.[3] Although he was born and grew up in London, the Spensley family were originally from the Swaledale area in Yorkshire.[4]

Richardson Spensley had the opportunity to travel far and wide as an adult. Amongst the most keen interests which he had acquired whilst travelling were; oriental religion, languages; he was versed in Greek and Sanskrit, boxing and football.[5] As well as working as a doctor, he would go on to spend some time as a correspondent for British newspaper the Daily Mail.[5]

While living in England he had known Robert Baden-Powell who founded the Scout Movement, from whom he had received an autographed copy of Scouting for Boys. Along with a Genovese man named Mario Mazza, they founded the first Italian scouting movement called Federazione Italiana dello Scautismo in 1910.

During World War I, he worked in the medical field putting his scouting abilities to use as a Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps.[3][6] He was injured on the battle field while tending to the wounds of an enemy out of compassion, he died at Mainz, Germany in hospital not long after.[7][8] His grave was discovered at Niederzwehren Cemetery in Kassel by two Genoese students during 1990.


Sources and references

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