Cover of Wartime Wanderers: a football team at war

Wartime Wanderers: a football team at war

Tim Purcell

The war against Germany is about to be declared. In front of a 23,000-strong crowd at Burnden Park, Bolton Wanderers captain, Harry Goslin, gives a rousing speech before leading the entire team to the local Territorial Army drill hall where they all sign up. For the next six years, as gunners in the 53rd Field Regiment of the Bolton Artillery, they face some of the heaviest fighting of World War II, in France, North Africa and Italy, and also establish themselves as a formidable regimental football team. Of the full squad only one is killed in action - the remainder return home to their families and to their football careers. This is more than a war or a football story, it is the story of three individuals: Ray Westwood, who is a star already; his inseparable team-mate Ernie Forest, whose ready wit carries them through in the face of adversity; and Nat Lofthouse, who is still only a schoolboy when war intervenes to link their destinies.

Publishing Details:
Mainstream New Ed, 2001

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