Britse en Suid-Afrikaanse sokker aan di wesfront tydens die Eerste Wereldoorlog

  • Floris JG Van der Merwe


Sports historians have ignored this field until recently. General secondary sources usually make no mention of sport and games and the significant role thereof at and behind the front lines during World War I. The historic-scientific method of research was used to reconstruct and analyse the past. Depositories in South Africa and the United Kingdom were used, as well as the Internet. Sport played a very big role in the lives of the soldiers. It appears that boredom was one of the primary causes of the need for sport among them and sport served a need for a morale booster. All ranks played soccer and the game was so popular that every platoon received a soccer ball in the winter of 1917. Soccer leagues at the Front enjoyed great popularity. The game was mainly played when troops were at rest, but sometimes also when close to the front lines. On festive occasions they even played against the enemy, as is evident in the Christmas truces. At the Battle of Loos and later at the Battle of the Somme, soccer balls were dribbled from the trenches towards the enemy lines in a display of British bravado and courage.

Keywords: Great Britain; Western Front; Soccer; Association football; World War I.

South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation, 2013, 35(2): 197-209

Author Biography

Floris JG Van der Merwe
Departement Sportwetenskap, Universiteit Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, Republiek van Suid-Afrika

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069