A Peace Poppy Ball that was signed by Mayor of Greenwich, Cllr Dominic Mbang, Lieut Colonel Greenfield, David Ramzan, Children’s Football Alliance and the children from Notre Dame Catholic Primary School and Woodhill Primary School that played the first game on the peace pitch.
The Peace Poppy Ball was presented to Charlton Museum by the Royal Artillery 10.00 Friday 12th January at The Valley, Floyd Road, Charlton SE7 8BL. The unique Peace Field Project Peace Pitch has been inspired by Herbert ‘Nobby’ Nightingale born in Silvertown in 1888 and later moved south of the Thames to Charlton where his family resided in a house at Mount Street. A keen footballer, whilst working at Seimens telegraph works, Nightingale joined Charlton Athletic FC as well as playing for Woolwich Polytechnic, now the University of Greenwich, and he was in the team when Charlton played in their first ever FA Cup match against Dartford in 1915. Nightingale joined up serving as a gunner with the Royal Garrison Artillery at Woolwich, arriving in France on 6 June 1915. His unit were positioned south of Ypres, and on the night of the 11-12 January 1916, they were fired upon during the night, and Nightingale was killed. Charlton’s former player was buried not far from where he fell, behind the lines in R.E. Farm Cemetery, near Messines.
James Rodwell, Chairman, Charlton Athletic F.C, said, ‘Charlton Athletic’s football in the community link with the Royal Artillery is perfectly connected through Herbert Nightingale. We are proud to honor a local man and facilitate children in the community playing football games on the first ever peace pitch in South London’.
Charlton Athletic Museum Trustee Clive Harris said, ‘The Charlton Athletic Museum are delighted to be involved in this project as it highlights the long lasting links between Charlton Athletic FC and the military history of Woolwich and Charlton. The inscription on the grave of Herbert Nightingale reads “Let those that come after see, that this name is not forgotten”; the Peace Pitch initiative helps to do just that.’
David Ramzan, Children’s Football Alliance Project Manager, said, ‘It was an honor to be asked to take on the role of twinning of the Royal Artillery pitch, especially as I was born in the borough, have supported Charlton Athletic since 1964, worked as a coach at the Charlton Athletic Community Trust, and have donated various items of football memorabilia from my collection to the Charlton Athletic Museum. While working on one of the Peace Field Twinning projects in Mesen, Belgium, site of the 1914 First World War Christmas Truces, I took the opportunity to visit the War Grave of Charlton’s former player, Herbert Nightingale, who we are remembering during the pitch twinning ceremony, and it was through a lot of hard work and research by the trustees of the Charlton Museum that Herbert, or Nobby as he was known, was discovered as one of three men associated with the club who lost their lives through war. The Royal Artillery Peace Field Pitch Twinning project brings not only the Woolwich Royal Artillery, Charlton Athletic Football Club, club sponsors the University of Greenwich and the Charlton Museum together in a valuable cause, it also brings together the wider community to remember a man that once loved this community.’