Sport Remembers The Battle of the Somme 1916-2016

Sport Remembers the Somme

The Battle of the Somme, which ran from 01 July - 18 November 1916, was fought at a terrible cost. Its first day of conflict remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army and it was felt particularly within communities back home, including sports clubs and teams.

Sport during the Somme

To aid the war effort, virtually all professional sport had been suspended 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 to form a 'Pals' Battalion; signing up together on the promise they would serve alongside each other. There were battalions dedicated to athletes, footballers, and individual clubs and teams of a variety of sports.

Many other players – from Olympic athletes to first class cricketers and amateur boxers – served in Pals Battalions recruited from towns, villages, schools, workplaces and trades. When these battalions suffered losses, as they did mostly at the Somme, the impact was felt at the club and community level.

The 100th anniversary of the battle provides an opportunity for sportsmen of all levels to commemorate the Service and sacrifice of fellow sportsmen who lost their lives in the battle, to reflect upon the human cost of conflict and to have hope for a more peaceful world.

The Legion has uncovered some incredible stories of sportsmen who were at the Somme, from Olympic sprinters to England rugby players.

Related Stories

  • Somme 100 at Poppy Shop

    Our online Poppy Shop has a very special collection of commemorative products to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Visit www.poppyshop.org.uk/somme100 to view the complete range. 

    Somme 100 poppy lapel pin

    A limited edition brass poppy pin, hand crafted from the brass of melted down bullet shells found on the Somme battlefields.

    Featuring both British and French flowers of Remembrance, this collection includes coffee mugs, coasters and lens/screen cloths.

  • Wreaths and pins

    Special Somme 100 commemorative items including wreaths are available from our Poppy Appeal headquarters by mail order, offered in exchange for a suggested donation

    Somme Bluet/Poppy pin badge

    A simple and attractive enamel pin badge featuring 'le bluet' (cornflower) representing France and the poppy for the UK.

    A round enamel pin badge featuring a poppy and the words Battle of the Somme 1916-2016

    Type L and type C wreaths have been adapted to feature cornflowers amongst the poppies.

    A small Remembrance cross with the words 1916 - 2016 Somme 100.