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READ | Millers mark milestone anniversary for Sport Remembers

8 November 2016

Rotherham United marked their final home game prior to Remembrance Sunday with a minute’s silence prior to kick off, but paid special tribute ahead of the game with Preston North End to mark a significant milestone.

This year is a special year as it is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, which ran from 01 July – 18 November 1916 - one of the most difficult and costly battles of the First World War.

It has come to represent the waste, the futility, and the tragedy of the war itself, and it was really felt at community level – particularly amongst sports clubs, teams and individuals.

To aid the war effort, virtually all professional sport was suspended during the Battle of the Somme with footballers, athletes and sportspeople at all levels volunteering to enlist – sometimes en masse including football teams and their supporters.

When these battalions suffered losses, as they did mostly at the Somme, the impact was felt greatly within these clubs and communities.

The Royal British Legion has launched Sport Remembers the Somme to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, telling the stories of the sportspeople who sacrificed their lives for their country including various footballers, rugby players, cricketers, Olympians, boxers and golfers.

The 100 stories include moving, powerful accounts of players who lost their lives at the Somme including Allen Foster, a swashbuckling striker who began his football career with Rotherham Town, followed by two years with Bristol City, before transferring to Reading FC in August 1911.

Foster fought in France with the 1st Football Battalion, the 17th Middlesex, and he was never to come home.

Just over a month into the Somme, he died in the bloody fighting at Guillemont.

The charity is now calling on the public to join in the commemoration of the service and sacrifice made by the nation’s sportspeople during the Battle of the Somme by holding their own events at community level.

Rotherham United’s current first team squad and staff have also showed their support this week, with the club releasing images on social media and in today’s matchday programme.

To order a Sport Remembers toolkit including a commemorative pennant and 1916 sports edition newspaper go to The Royal British Legion’s website britishlegion.org.uk/sportremembers

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