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Augustus ‘Gus’ Mears (1873-1912)

The founder of Chelsea Football Club, buried with his RAF pilot son.

Brompton Cemetery is a popular shortcut for Chelsea fans making their way to and from next-door Stamford Bridge. How many realise they are walking past the grave of Henry Augustus Mears, the club’s founder, every time they use the Central Avenue?

Gus and his brother were building contractors and sports fans. When the land used by London Athletic Club at Stamford Bridge came up for sale, Gus bought it. He tried to lease it to Fulham FC, but they didn’t take up the opportunity. Instead, one of Gus’s friends encouraged him to set up his own club. Chelsea FC was accepted into the 2nd Division in 1905.

The football team Gus Mears (in the bowler hat) founded Chelsea Football Club in 1905, at a meeting in the Rising Sun pub opposite Stamford Bridge. (Credit: The Book of Football)

Tragically Gus died aged just 37, and did not live to see how incredibly successful his team would become. However, the Mears family continued to own and run the club for the next 70 years.

Gus shares a grave with his wife, Harriet, and young son, Henry. During the First World War, Henry was training to be a combat pilot on HMS Furious, the world’s first aircraft carrier. Tragically, he became one of the RAF’s first casualties when he was killed in a flying accident in 1918, aged just 18.

Gus Mears HMS Furious HMS Furious in 1917. The following year, young Henry Mears arrived to learn how to take off and land his biplane on the ship. (Credit: HMSO / Wikimedia Commons)

Further information

Gus’s grave

(Credit: Greywolf)

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