SeaCity Museum: Saints in the First World War talk

By SFC Media Thu 11 Oct History

The special ‘We March On: Southampton Football Club, Then and Now’ exhibition at SeaCity Museum closes later this month, but there is still time to learn more about the history of the club.

The seven-month showcase, which gives a fascinating insight into many of the stories from Saints’ history, comes to an end on Sunday 28th October.

Why not take the opportunity to visit on Thursday 18th October, when official club historian David Bull will be delivering a talk on Saints in the First World War?

Admission for the talk, which takes place in the Civic Centre Lecture Theatre at 3pm, is two for the price of one, as it comes with free admission to the SeaCity Museum exhibition.

The generously-illustrated talk features SAINTS AT WAR: what happened to Southampton’s Footballers in the First World War, and includes stories such as the following…

• How Fred Costello became the first ex-Saint to be killed in action, on 19th December 1914, and how the truce that was agreed to recover the bodies became a prelude, military historians claim, to the famous Christmas Truce, a week later.

• How Cecil Christmas, a Banister Court pupil who’d become a successful Southampton hotelier amid two spells with Saints, faced Adolf Hitler’s Bavarian Regiment on the Somme in the first week of October 1916. While Hitler, injured on the 5th, was invalided home to Munich and lived to start another war, Second Lieutenant Christmas was killed on the 7th. NOTE: Christmas’s great-nieces will be coming to the talk and bringing Great Uncle Cecil’s death penny from the King.

Cecil Christmas

• How the Hampshire Regiment sent men to India, to replace the Indian soldiers who had been hastened to the Western Front and who, if injured, might be sent on an ambulance train to Hampshire.

• How boy-soldier Bert Shelley, from Romsey, developed with the Hampshire Regiment in India and with the Wilts Regiment in Palestine into a record-breaking footballer for Saints.

• How the Saints found guest players to make up their war-time numbers from among the boilermakers arriving at the Harland & Wolff shipyards and from the air mechanics stationed at Netheravon on Salisbury Plain.

• How Hampshire’s “Dominion” hospitals – Canada’s at Basingstoke and New Zealand’s at Brockenhurst – were a source of war-time guest-players.

To book places at the talk, simply call the SeaCity Museum booking line on 02380 834536. For more information on the exhibition, visit


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