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Millwall Academy visit Tyne Cot Cemetery

3 June 2019

Millwall Academy Under 9s and 10s were recently invited to attend an eight-a-side tournament in Belgium, hosted by FCV Dender.

Twelve Academy players and five staff set off on their journey from the training ground, but en route, they made an important stop - a two-hour visit that will live long in the memories of all present.

Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in the world, is now the resting place of more than 11,900 servicemen of the British Empire from the First World War.

The boys fully embraced and engaged in the experience, and began to research the backgrounds and lives of some of those that had fought in the Great War. Looking at the young men in the photographs, reading letters and hearing their names and ages made it very personal experience for the players and staff.

They found the records of Arthur Harold Wileman, who was killed in action in Flounders, France. He was also a footballer, with Millwall one of the clubs he represented during his career. From their research, they discovered that the man they now affectionately referred to as 'Arthur' was killed in action on 28th April 1918, just seven months before the War ended on 11th November. Further research helped them to find the location as to where he may have been laid to rest.

From there, the players began to search for Arthur. Sadly, he did not have a headstone, but was remembered with his name engraved on a memorial alongside his colleagues from his Battalion. The boys were keen to honour Arthur, and so organised their own tribute.

The following day, Millwall's Academy took part in the tournament and finished third, losing out to eventual winners Standard Liege FC in the Semi-Final.

Take a look at our gallery from the visit above.

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