Arthur Ochse

Arthur Edward Ochse

Arthur Edward Ochse - One of the many unfortunate victims of the First World War, Arthur Ochse was born at Graaff-Reinet, Cape Colony, South Africa on March 11, 1870, and died at Messines Ridge, France on April 11, 1918, aged 48. He was a middle-order batsman who, along with the entire South African team of 1888/89, made his first-class debut in his country’s very first Test match, played against England at Port Elizabeth. At 19 years and 1 day old, he was South Africa’s youngest Test debutant (a record since surpassed) and he retained his place for the second Test played two weeks later. But like so many of his team-mates, his inexperience against such good opposition showed. In four innings against Major Warton’s team, Ochse scored just 16 runs as England ran out comprehensive winners in South Africa’s first two representative matches played on level terms. During the second innings of the second Test, played at Cape Town, Ochse was bowled by England's slow left arm spinner, Johnny Briggs. And by so being, along with seven of his team-mates, all of them bowled, he became one of Briggs' eight victims in a then Test record of eight wickets for 11 runs in an innings (and 15 for 28 in a match). Domestically, he played occasionally for Transvaal, once in 1891 and twice more in 1895. In the match against Kimberley played at Johannesburg in the Currie Cup season of 1890/91, he was unlucky to miss out on a maiden century when, in the second innings, he fell one run short of that respectable milestone. By scoring 45 runs in Transvaal’s first innings and taking 2 wickets for 27 runs in Kimberley’s first innings (2 for 75 in the match), this match proved to be the height of Ochse’s cricketing achievements. Killed on the Western Front during Germany’s 1918 spring offensive, his death went unrecorded at the time. Therefore, no obituary appeared within the covers of Wisden for him.


  1. World Cricketers - A Biographical Dictionary by Christopher Martin-Jenkins published by Oxford University Press (1996)
  2. The Wisden Book of Test Cricket, Volume 1 (1877-1977) compiled and edited by Bill Frindall published by Headline Book Publishing (1995)

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