Sir Bobby Charlton (1937-2023)
The Army FA are truly sorry to learn of the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton CBE. Sir Bobby was a great supporter of the Army Football Association and our special guest at the prestigious Games of Remembrance between the Army and German Bundeswehr men’s matches.
In 2014 he attended the Game of Truce to commemorate 100 years of the Christmas Truce on the Western Front during when British and German troops laid down their weapons to play an impromptu game of football. The match was played at Aldershot Town Football Club.
Two years later, to commemorate 100 years of The Somme he attended the match at Burton Albion alongside his wife, Lady Charlton.
Bobby Charlton joined Manchester United as a 15 year old and made his official debut v Charlton Athletic in 1956. In the same year that he made his first team debut L/Cpl Robert Charlton commenced his National Service with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) where he was advised by then Manchester United manager Matt Busby to get posted to their Shrewsbury headquarters where his colleague Duncan Edwards was also based. He continued to play for his club at the weekend whilst also featuring for the British Army team.
On 6 February 1958 Edwards sadly perished in the Munich Air Crash which claimed 23 lives. Sir Bobby survived.
The most remarkable of careers Sir Bobby was a 1966 World Cup winner for England and, in total, scored 49 goals in 108 appearances for his country. The same year he won the Ballon D’or Award. He made 748 appearances for Manchester Utd scoring 249 goals. A three times Football League Championship winner, he also won the FA Cup in 1963 and was part of the first English team to win the European Cup in 1968.
There has been no greater influence on the English game than Sir Bobby Charlton CBE. He truly was a remarkable man but also the most gracious and respectful of human beings.
His support of Army Football was gratefully appreciated by all personnel that he met. The occasions of 2014 and 2016 will live long in the memory by everybody who was in his presence. It was an honour and a privilege for our Association.
We send our sincere condolences to Sir Bobby’s family at this most difficult of times.
RIP Sir Bobby