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Episode 21 of 30
Week five of the series that explores how sport made Britain and Britain made sport. In this episode Clare Balding visits The Imperial War Museum to discover the vital role sport has played, both on the battle field and on the home front, during both World Wars. She starts in the Hall of Remembrance in front of John Singer Sargent's, Gassed, an oil painting more than twenty feet long, depicting the aftermath of a mustard gas attack during the First World War, with a line of wounded soldiers walking towards a dressing station. Yet in the background there are groups of men playing football. As Prof. Tony Collins of De Montfort University explains, sport became an essential part of army life, alleviating the boredom and the terror, by 1916 there was a football ground in each brigade area of the Western Front.
During the Second World War, Prof Tony Mason explains the importance of sport to those captured and detained in German prisoner of war camps, with football, in particular being used as a way of providing entertainment for troops overseas.
The series was made in partnership with The International Centre for Sport History and Culture at De Montfort University, Leicester.
The Reader is Alun Raglan
Technical presentation: John Benton
Producer: Garth Brameld.