Sport legends and associations, including Sir Nick Faldo, the R&A and the PGA, urge Britain to remember the fallen from the Battle of the Somme 100 years ago
The Royal British Legion is calling on the nation’s sporting organisations, associations, clubs, teams and individuals to commemorate the role played by sportsmen on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
The campaign, called ‘Sport Remembers the Somme 1916-2016’, was officially launched at The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers headquarters, Tower of London by sporting legends across a plethora of sports including golf’s former world number one and six time major winner Sir Nick Faldo.
Sport Remembers launches with the backing of both the The R&A and the PGA, as well as the ECB, British Rowing and Team GB via the British Olympic Association.
The Battle of the Somme, which ran from 01 July – 18 November 1916, was one of the most difficult and costly battles of the First World War.
To help the war effort, virtually all professional sport had to be suspended for the duration by the time the Battle of the Somme began.
Athletes and players from sports at all levels had volunteered to enlist – sometimes en masse as an entire team and its supporters.
The Legion is encouraging professional and amateur sport to join in the commemoration of the service and sacrifice made by the nation’s sportsmen during the Battle of the Somme.
The Remembrance campaign will tell the stories of the sportspeople that gave up their lives for their country including champion golfers, boxers and athletes as well as international rugby players, footballers and cricketers.
The charity has produced 100 Sportsmen of the Somme stories – including the stories of 2nd Lt Alfred Edward Flaxman, an Olympic discus and javelin competitor from Yorkshire who could throw a grenade 75 yards and Captain Wilfred Percy Nevill from Twickenham who got his men to kick footballs across no man’s land to bolster their morale under withering fire.
Sir Nick Faldo MBE, former world golf number one and six times Major Championship winner, said, “The Royal British Sport Remembers effort recognises the athletes who made historic contributions to our nation through service or sacrifice at the Battle of the Somme and during the First World War. It is an honour to represent our sport in salute of the golfers and associated professionals who will forever be remembered for their contribution to our national history through ultimate service to our country.”
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “The Royal British Legion’s Sport Remembers campaign is a fitting commemoration of the many sports people who served and, in many cases, lost their lives at the Battle of the Somme and in the First World War. Golf clubs throughout the country, along with every section of the community, felt the terrible losses of the War and the memorial in The Royal and Ancient Clubhouse in St Andrews attests to those members and staff of the Club who gave their lives in the service of their country. We owe a debt of gratitude for the sacrifice they made and it is entirely appropriate that golf comes together as a sport to remember and honour their memories.”
For more information visit: www.britishlegion.org.uk