Fringe Box



Football Tournament Will Mark Centenary of The Battle of the Somme

Published on: 10 Apr, 2016
Updated on: 11 Apr, 2016

Over the TopNearly 100 years ago one of the most costly battles for the British Army ever fought commenced, The Battle of The Somme.

On July 1 the actual anniversary is to be marked by a football tournament at Surrey Sports Park, Guildford. It will commemorate the battle in which 20,000 British soldiers were killed on that first day and 40,000 further casualties suffered.

One British Army unit, 8th Battalion the East Surrey Regiment, kicked footballs ‘over the top’ to encourage the troops to advance.

One hundred years later, there will be 20 teams, military and civilian, male and female, adults and youth, playing each other and remembering the sacrifices made by local men from the south east of England.

The event is being organised by the local Regiment (The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment), the Army Benevolent Fund and the South East Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association.

Civilian teams taking part include Aldershot Football Club, Guildford City, Chelsea, Southampton, Surrey Fire Brigade and Hampshire Police and military teams from Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre, Pirbright, Aldershot, Cyprus and Germany.

Shahid Azeem, prominent entrepreneur, Chairman of Aldershot FC and an enthusiast for football in the community said: “It is vitally important that the town of Aldershot, as home of the British Army, commemorates the sacrifices made by our troops.

“Football is our national sport and a huge part of military life and, as we saw in last year’s Game of Truce, played at our EBB Stadium, the game also played a major role in the First World War.

“This will be a fantastic event, as well as very poignant, and Aldershot Town are delighted to remember our fallen heroes by competing in their honour.”

The chief executive of the South East Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association and Deputy Colonel of the Local Regiment, Colonel (Retired) Patrick Crowley, a former army cadet at St Peter’s School, said: “We plan to commemorate the sacrifices made through the means of football fun and a commemorative ceremony. We also hope to raise some money for local Regimental benevolence and the Army’s Soldiers’ Charity.

“Come and join us at this fantastic and unique event”

The football runs from 10am in the morning to the final, due mid-afternoon. There will also be refreshments available and various stands to visit.

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