Club support Pompey Pals project
A special commemorative Pompey football shirt, featuring key engagements the Royal Navy took part in during World War One, has been presented to the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN).
The event was the culmination of the ‘More Than Just A Shirt’ campaign run by the Pompey Pals project in partnership with the club, where members of the 14th & 15th Battalions Hampshire Regiment were woven into the fabric of the team’s home shirt this season.
The Blues were represented at the ceremony on board First World War veteran ship HMS M.33 at the NMRN by chief executive Mark Catlin, who made the presentation to executive director of heritage Matthew Sheldon.
M33 is the sole Royal Navy survivor from the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 and it opens to the public in August.
Other shirts presented have simply had battles involving the 14th & 15th Battalions Hampshire Regiment embroidered, but this shirt is unique as it also features key engagements, such as Zeebrugge and Gallipoli, in which the Royal Navy and Royal Naval Divisions took part.
Bob Beech, chair of the Pompey Pals project said: “While this past season has concentrated on the men who served in the Hampshire Regiment, we are also keen to remember the Royal Navy who played their part during the Great War.
“For instance, 10 per cent of all RN losses at the Battle of Jutland came from Portsmouth. The presentation of this special shirt recognises that sacrifice and that of others.
“We have been delighted at how Portsmouth Football Club have embraced the Pompey Pals project this season.
“I’d particularly like to thank Iain McInnes and Mark Catlin, who have both taken a personal interest in what we have been doing and have been happy to put club resources at our disposal.”
Catlin added: “It has been a privilege for the club to be able to support this project and we were really pleased to be invited to this event.
“Pompey clearly have strong connections with the senior service, so for us to be able to mark the crucial role of the navy during the Great War was very poignant.”
Matthew Sheldon said: “We have been working closely with the Pompey Pals charity and it’s great to welcome them on board.
“Portsmouth, like many other communities across the country, was touched by loss during the Great War at sea.
“Remembering the Pompey Pals and the valiant efforts and ultimate sacrifice they made at naval campaigns reminds us that the war was fought worldwide and at sea.”
The Pompey Pals charity has also supported the project to restore M33 in the Historic Dockyard.