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Prisoner of War football in Scotland

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:15 am
by bluedragon
I wonder if anyone has ever come across matches played between Scottish clubs (at all levels) and Prisoner of War teams.

I am particularly interested in matches played in Ayrshire but I would also be interested to hear of matches played elsewhere.

Although there may be the odd game before, from what I can gather these games were most likely to have been played in 1947 when restrictions were relaxed and there was still a large number of POWs awaiting repatriation.

In January 1947 the War Office allowed matches to be played by POW XIs with civilian clubs providing that the match:
1) Was played within a five-mile radius of the camp
2) Did not charge entrance
3) Was not widely advertised
4) Was sanctioned by the relevant County FA.

It also made it clear the POWs could not play with a civilian team.

In around March/April 1947 Errol FC, playing in the Perthshire Junior League, had three German POWs in their team. I believe when this was drawn to the attention of the SJFA they had to apply the War Office rules. However, one of the players went on to play for Balbeggie FC in the East Perthshire Amateur League without any problems.

At around this time a POW team from a camp at Kelso made approaches to join the East of Scotland League but again the War Office rules prevented this being taken any further.

Finally does anyone know of any POWs who remained in Scotland and played Senior/Junior football. Bert Trautmann is the most famous example who played in England.

If anyone has any information that might help it would be very much appreciated.

Thank you.

Re: Prisoner of War football in Scotland

Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:58 pm
by HibeeJibee
Germans PoWs 6-3 Spittal Commercials in early July 1947 in an infirmary fundraiser at The Stanks, Berwick-upon-Tweed. They were from 120 Sunilaws camp, Kelso.

Kelso United wrote to SFA in April 1948 about "ex-prisoners of war and displaced persons" playing for civilian teams. It was referred to IFAB.

EDIT: June 1947... "German Prisoners of War were included in the Royal Blues, a Duns football team, which met Westruther in a tie of the Duns Services Fund competition".

Re: Prisoner of War football in Scotland

Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:19 am
by bluedragon
Thank you for the information on the POW team from Kelso that in 1947 appears to have had a very successful run against Borders teams. On the British Newspaper Archive I found Triebel playing in goal for Kelso United in November 1948 and in June 1949 as goalkeeper for Leitholm. That is a German surname and may well have been a former POW. From what you have found about the Duns team in June 1947 it suggests that the War Office rules may not have been strictly enforced or indeed may have been relaxed and I have not found a reference to that yet.

Re: Prisoner of War football in Scotland

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:05 pm
by ScottishFA
Belatedly, another match which cropped up in the Courier, 29 May 1947. The description of an undefeated side suggests they played regularly.


German prisoners war from miles around flocked to Duffus Park, Cupar, last night. They saw their crack undefeated side snatch a last-minute 4-3 victory over a Cupar Hearts select in a football match in aid of the Thistle Foundation. The "invasion" began in early afternoon, when the Germans, headed by their padre, strolled round the streets. Lorries and buses brought the remaining support from Ladybank. It was Cupar's largest football crowd in ten years.

Hundreds of Germans were at the ground an hour and a half before the kick-off. Cupar took the field with ten men, the eleventh man coming on to the field ten minutes after the start, which was delayed half an hour. Cupar's 'keeper was Bert Houston, formerly of Raith Rovers and Partick Thistle. The Germans were being defeated 3-2, with five minutes left for play, when two defence lapses and quick thinking on the part of the opposing forwards brought the goals, amid roars delight from the large German contingent.

Stewart Easson, Cupar's left-back and captain, was the best player on the field and his team's inspiration. He caused much amusement when, in answer to German protests from the touchline. he went over and explained that his had been a perfectly fair shoulder charge on the then prostrate German winger. Later in the game, with blood streaming from the same player's nose, Easson exercised his wartime German by calling for " Wasser." Wood, the Cupar centre, scored all three goals.