The Greater Game At Imperial War Museum, North

| 19 July 2004
shows a black and white photograph of people playing hockey on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Taken from above, bare-chested men can be seen playing the game next to two aircraft parked on the deck.

Photo: Hockey match on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier with Hurricanes ready for action © Imperial War Museum

The first major exhibition to examine the links between sport and war is currently taking place at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester until November 1 2004.

shows a black and white photograph of men erecting poles for a barbed wire fence on the Oval cricket ground during wartime

Photo: The Oval © Imperial War Museum

Most people are aware of the famous football matches that happened in no-mans land during the Christmas 1914 but the Imperial War Museum has taken these and other stories to look at all aspects of sport in wartime.

Examining the role of sport at home and on the front line in times of conflict the exhibition investigates how sport can be a symbol for war and peace whilst examining the background to some of today’s most enduring sporting rivalries.

shows a black and white photograph of two female cricketers. One is making a stroke with her bat the other stands behind the wicket. Both are smiling and wearing cricket pads.

Photo: WAAF cricketers in action © Imperial War Museum

The exhibition also focuses on the stories of eleven sporting heroes from Britain and the Commonwealth who fought for their country during the First and Second World Wars.

One such hero was Walter Tull. As one of the first black professional footballers, Tull played for Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town until 1915. He was also the first black officer in the British Army, having risen from the rank of private to second lieutenant during the First World War.

shows a group of soldiers from the first world war playing football. They are uniformed and wearing caps and are jumping in a group for the ball

Photo: Officers and men playing football on Christmas Day in Salonika 1918 © Imperial War Museum

Having enlisted in the Footballer’s Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment he was killed leading a counter attack against German positions during the Second Battle of the Somme on March 25, 1918.

As well as some astonishing personal stories, the exhibition features many iconic objects. During the Battle of the Somme in 1916, Captain Nevill kicked two footballs out of a trench to encourage his troops to charge the enemy. You can see one of those footballs at the exhibition.

shows a black and white photograph of the footballer Walter Tull. He has the old fashioned football kit of Tottenham Hostpur - complete with long shorts and collared shirt - and has his hands on his hips. The bottom right corner is signed and dated 'Walter Tull, 1911'.

Photo: Walter Tull © Imperial War Museum

There is also the chance to see rare film footage as well as historical and contemporary art and photography - plundered from the vast archives of the Imperial War Museum’s collections.

The exhibition has been augmented by loans from national sports museums and other associations around the country.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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