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The last remaining shooting club in Rugby, the Rokeby Rifle and Pistol Club, are having to cease their activities at the Indoor Rifle Range in the grounds of Rugby School. This unfortunate turn of events is due to re purposing of the range by the School.


The range was originally an indoor swimming pool and was filled with sand towards the end of WWII and converted into a shooting range for the use of Home Guard Units. At some point in time the pool was concreted over and used as an indoor cricket net.

The Home Guard Units also had the use of a shooting range in their Drill Hall (now the WI) at the bottom of Park Road.


The interest in shooting fostered by the activities of the Home Guard led, in about 1950, to the eventual formation of a civilian shooting Club, the RUGBY RIFLE CLUB, whose activities were based at the Rugby School Range. The works canteen at the British Thompson and Houston (BTH) had also been used as a riflerange for Home Guard training and after the cessation of hostilites the BTH RIFLE CLUB was formed as part of their sports and social club and they too moved to the school range. The BTH Co., were taken over by Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) and the club continued to shoot under that identity. In the late 1959's to early 1960's there were at least 80 active shooters from the Sports and Social Club competing in 16 leagues. A league of the various AEI factory clubs from the group was formed and compitition for the league trophies was intense.


In 1967, due to a financial dispute, AEI Rugby shooters split from the Works social club and formed a a private members shooting club and the ROKEBY RIFLE AND PISTOL CLUB was formed.


Workers from the ENGLISH ELECTRIC (WILLANS WORKS) formed a club and also used the school range.


The WINFIELD RIFLE CLUB also used the range for a short period around the time of the introduction of town twinning.


The evenings of the school range were fully occupied, with WINFIELD on Mondays , ROKEBY on Tuesdays & Fridays, RUGBY on Wednesdays and ENGLISH ELECTRIC on Thursdays. Smallbore rifle and pistol shooting flourished in the towns clubs for many years. there were numerous excellent shots and Warwickshire County Rifle Association had many local shooters in the county teams and in the teams that shot at the week-long National Smallbnore Rifle Championships event at the Bisley ranges. At one stage the Warwickshire County 3P team of eight had four shooters from the ROKEBY club in their number. John Andrews from ROKEBY won the county Smallbore Pistol Championship in 1980. An ENGLISH ELECTRIC shooter, Fred Bland shot in the county team of eight that won the prestigious "Queen Alexandra Trophy" at the Bisley event. Local shooters represented the county in this event many times since but never manage to pull off another win. The towns shooters were well to the fore front of the sport and local teams won numerous national league compititions and normally these were the leagues' division one trophies. Clubs also had 2nd and 3rd teams who won their share of the league lower Trophies. After a time shooting began to lose its popularity and WINFIELD were the first to close. ENGLISH ELECTRIC were next and then finally Rugby. The remaining shooters  and firearms from these two clubs were absorbed into ROKEBY which then was the only club in the town.


We have now come to the end of an era, over 70 years of smallbore target shooting in Rugby came to an end in May 2023 when the last remaing club in Rugby, the ROKEBY RIFLE AND PISTOL CLUB, was forced to vacate the Rugby School Rifle range due to the range be de-commissioned and  re-purposed. ROKEBY however hope to to transfer their activities to some other shooting range, currently negotiations with COVENTRY DISTRICT RIFLE ASSOCIATION are in hand for the use of the shooting range at Sullivan Rd in Coventry. ROKEBY will seek to expand its association with the NORTHAMPTON SMALLBORE SHOOTING ASSOCIATION who shoot at the large shooting complex at Sywell.


The club looks forward to restructuring itself to continue its activities in pastures new.


History of the Club

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