As a Training Ground for War: How Sport Prepares Soldiers for the Battlefield

Later this year the REME Museum will play host to a travelling exhibition on the Army’s proud sporting tradition.

The Army has always played sport. Through peacetime and war, the British soldier has carried the boxing glove alongside the bayonet. Army sport evokes a series of striking images, from footballs being kicked across No Man’s Land in the First World War, to 80,000 spectators roaring on the Army vs Navy rugby match at Twickenham.

Sport builds qualities of fitness, discipline and camaraderie. It teaches soldiers to negotiate battlefield obstacles, operate effectively together and develop the determination to win. It is recognised as a crucial factor in maintaining the physical development and operational capability of the Army.

August sees the launch of a new touring exhibition that focuses on the ways that sport prepares soldiers for the battlefield. It explores the three key strands of fitness, teamwork and fighting capability through historic and current day examples of military and sporting equipment.

These range from the Olympic wrestling medal won by a First World War unarmed combat specialist to the gloves worn by the Army boxing team in Inter-Service and international competitions in 2018.

The exhibition draws on the collections of several military and sporting museums, as well as the current Army. It forms part of Sporting Heritage and the Armed Forces, a collaboration between the Army Museums Ogilby Trust and Sporting Heritage networks. This aims to uncover, share, and celebrate collections with a focus on sporting heritage and the Armed Forces.

The exhibition will open at the REME Museum on 14 October and run until 29 November. Before then the exhibition can be viewed at the following venues:

02 August – 16 August Royal Army Physical Training Corps Museum, Aldershot, Hampshire
16 August – 30 August Surrey History Centre, Woking, Surrey
30 August – 13 September Aldershot Garrison Sports Centre, Aldershot, Hampshire
13 September – 27 September Royal Logistic Corps Museum, Deepcut, Surrey
27 September – 14 October Royal Military Police Museum, Southwick Park, Hampshire

Follow the REME Museum on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more news on As a Training Ground for War in the coming months.

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