With the evenings drawing in and a chill in the air it can only be for the die-hards to stand on a touch line and watch sport! That is if it was not for a very special football ‘International’, hosted at Burton Albion’s new Pirelli stadium at Burton Upon Trent. A deeply symbolic occasion, and part of the WW1 commemorations, a Game of Remembrance took place on 15th November. Marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme (18 November 1916), the Army and German Bundeswehr teams took to the field to battle it out for glory in an historic game of football. It was a tremendous occasion, with suitable pomp and ceremony to make the match both spectacular and one to remember.
Watched by a host of military personnel, sporting stars, political figures and fans, the Game of Remembrance was a sequel to the very successful “Game of Truce” played between the two sides in 2014 at Aldershot Town FC. That match commemorated the Christmas truce on the Western Front during WW1, when British and German troops laid down their weapons to play an impromptu game of football.
In front of a healthy crowd, the teams put on an inspiring display of the best of Forces football finally culminating with a 2-1 victory to the German visitors. With the appropriate speeches led by DCGS, Lt Gen Nick Pope, the assembled guests were treated to a reception with a wide cross section of past and present football officials, players, supporters and many from the Bundeswehr and Army hierarchy. However, pride of place went to none other than Sir Bobby Charlton CBE and his wife Lady Norma who were the guests of honour and a fitting tribute to have such football ‘royalty’ at such an auspicious occasion.
Earlier in the day it was for the two respective ladies teams to square up to each other at the highly prestigious St George’s Park National Centre, at which the army snatched victory from their visiting rivals,
It goes without saying that to stage such an event was not only a credit to the Army Football Association but also not possible without the financial support from sponsors. Team Army is proud to have played a part in bringing CAE to be the event’s principal sponsor supported also by Babcock and Revision Military.
Proceeds from ticket sales raised funds for the Royal British Legion, its German equivalent, and local charities associated with Burton Albion FC.
A memorable occasion, a big thank you to CAE and congratulations to all involved.
is Cpl Kyle Cassell (AAC)
Photographer: Corporal Paul Shaw ABIPP