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.
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.
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.
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.
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.