- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: J H Haynes & Co Ltd (3 Nov. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0857331035
- ISBN-13: 978-0857331038
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 544,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
When the Whistle Blows: The Story of the Footballers' Battalion in the Great War Paperback – 3 Nov 2011
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About the Author
ANDREW RIDDOCH has a long-standing interest in military history and football. He grew up in Sheffield and now lives in North Somerset. JOHN KEMP lives in Essex and has followed the mixed fortunes of West Ham for many years.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author has to my knowledge spent thousands of hours preparing the research and it has provided the foundation for a brilliant narrative of not only what happened to the battalion, but also to the individuals who served in it. We are taken through the experiences of Walter Tull, a professional footballer for Northampton Town, who overcame the prejudice of the football field to gain the trust and support of his soldiers. Many other professionals gave up lucrative employment to serve in the battalion and in doing so set a remarkable example. This tells their story. In many ways the real tragedy was the men who were wounded and faced the realisation that their career was over. One wonders if in similar circumstances their example would be so readily repeated today.
Many personal accounts have been woven into the narrative which explains the events with the absolute clarity that only comes from an author who really knows the battlefield and can therefore give meaning to what happened. This really is the ideal book for both the serious reader of Great War history and anybody who is fascinated by the history of football.
By Mike McCarthy
Editor 'The Battle Guide'
Guild of Battlefield Guides
This book was compelling from the first chapter which looked at the history of the game up until 1914 and detailed the initial hostility towards footballers when war broke out because of their initial decision to continue playing the sport. I would have to say that I found the information about the early days of football to be fascinating as so much was different from the game we love nowadays. Some of the rules that I have always been considered part of football were still only a few years old at the time war was declared and I was amazed to read the names of teams who were big in their time but whose fortunes through lack of finance (not a new thing in football!) and loss of players saw them dissolved prior to 1918. I was hugely intrigued about this history of football.
The chapters on warfare were equally fascinating and the authors should be applauded for keeping the account both lucid and highly readable. The maps that accompany each particular battle are clear and easy to follow and the inclusion of information about the composition of batalions, etc was very helpful having never properly understood the differences between companies, platoons, brigages, divisions, ect.Read more ›
At the outbreak of war in August 1914, the new football season had only just started once again and all the professional players were involved. The cricket season had come to an end, rugby was an amateur game and had decided not to start their season. As the war continued in to winter 1914 football was gathering a lot of opposition to their continued season.
Many of the complaints were coming from those in the Upper and Upper Middle Classes that the men were not doing their duty towards their country. They were also the section of the community that had opposed the working classes enjoying the sport and sporting professionalism. What these people also conveniently forgot that out of the 1 million men that had volunteered for the service over 50% had come from the footballing community.
It was also noted that while people were complaining about professional football, they did not complain about horse racing, another professional sport of the rich, or the theatres being open. Horse racing was not suspended until June 1918 and then Newmarket close to Sandringham and the King kept going.
When the Whistle Blows is about the raising of the 17th Middlesex Battalion which became known as the footballer’s battalion, from its inception at Fulham Town Hall in December 1914 to when it was disbanded in February 1918. From its training through to all the Battles that the Battalion took part in, those who were killed, those who wounded to those who survived the war.
This is a well-researched book that uses official documents of the battalion such as the Battalion’s War Diary, as well as a wide range of source material, from club programmes, archives and newspapers amongst others.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A “BEAUTIFULLY RESEARCHED HISTORY” OF THE COURAGEOUS 17th MIDDLESEX PALS: THE FINE FOOTBALLERS BATTALION
An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of... Read more
When the Whistle Blows is a fitting and moving tribute to Association Football’s contribution to Kitchener’s New Armies. Read morePublished 14 months ago by AlexanderJackson
Well researched and well written, revealing also in depicting the horror of the dilemma faced by the young men of the time, and the hypocrisy and pompousness of those driving them... Read morePublished 15 months ago by JB
Very informative - especially as my own grandfather was involved.Published 15 months ago by Paul Levey
This book is well written and it is evident that the authors have beeen painstaking in their research. Read morePublished on 16 Feb. 2014 by Mr K C Potts
Football had only confirmed itself as the national sport in the decade or two before the outbreak of the First World War. Read morePublished on 13 Aug. 2013 by History Geek
I bought this as a present for my brother and he has thoroughly enjoyed it and I think I will order another copy for myselfPublished on 7 Aug. 2013 by NT, Wales
This is a wonderful read for anyone studying WW1. It adds an extra dimension to traditional style histories in that it explores the contribution of footballers to the war effort. Read morePublished on 21 Feb. 2012 by G. Davies
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