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Remembrance Match: Chelsea FC Women Academy Team and UK Armed Forces Women

Remembrance Match: Chelsea FC Women Academy Team and UK Armed Forces Women

On Thursday 11 November, Chelsea FC Women U18s will be playing a friendly match with UK Armed Forces Women at Kingsmeadow to mark Remembrance Day 2021.

The match is part of the Club’s partnership with the Royal Air Force Museum, through the ‘Hidden Heroes’ project which raises awareness about the untold story of Jewish personnel in the RAF during the Second World War, and the vital role they played. The initiative is sponsored by club owner Roman Abramovich.

Season ticket holders will be able to purchase their tickets from presale at 2pm on Tuesday 26 October (here) with general sales opening on Thursday 28 October at 10am. Tickets will be priced at £5 for adults and £1 for children. All proceeds excl. vat from ticket sales will be donated to the Royal British Legion.

To get your tickets to the match, click here.

Representatives from the Royal British Legion will also be in attendance, collecting donations for their work, providing financial, social and emotional support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces.

The Remembrance Day match is dedicated to the British Jewish women who served in the UK forces during WW2.

Between five and six thousand British Jewish Women joined the forces during WW2 and in addition, nearly 4000 women living in Palestine joined the British Services in the Middle East. These women all joined the forces to fight against tyranny, racism and antisemitism, fully aware they risked torture and execution if captured due to their heritage.

As part of this Remembrance Day initiative, a number of educational efforts will take place to raise awareness of the bravery of these women during the war. This includes the release of a special publication together with RAFM, featuring the stories of three remarkable Jewish women who served in the Royal Air Force during WW2, Muriel Byck, Hannah Szenes, Vera Atkins, and Ruth Bourne who served in the Royal Navy.

At the age of 25, Muriel Byck was recruited as a secret agent by the Special Operations Executive (SOE). She was sent to Nazi occupied France where she helped gather intelligence for the allied forces as well as help the local resistance movement.

 

 

Hannah Szenes was only 22 when she joined the RAF and was parachuted into Yugoslavia, with the aim to enter Hungary to rescue Jews facing deportation to the death camp at Auschwitz.

Hannah was arrested during her mission and executed a year later, at the age of 23.

Vera Atkins was recruited as an intelligence agent before the war and quickly rose through the ranks to become an intelligence officer. After the war, Vera went to Germany to interrogate Nazi officials and concentration camp guards to establish what had become of the SOE agents that failed to return.

After having read a book about Hitler, Ruth Bourne decided to join the Women’s Royal Naval Service as a trainee. She was later recruited to work at one of Bletchley Park’s many locations and was part of a secret team put together by the British government to work on breaking the encrypted codes used by the German military. According to the official historian of British Intelligence, the intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years, and without it the outcome of the war would have been uncertain.

Emma Hayes, Chelsea FC Women’s Manager commented: ‘Through our partnership with the RAF Museum, we committed to sharing the important story of the critical role the Jewish personnel played in winning the Second World War and defeating Hitler. Their fascinating stories offer a powerful window to the past through which we can make links to today and use their stories to inspire future generations and ensure their legacy continues’.

UK Armed Forces stated: ‘Every year, UKAF Football along with our colleagues across Defence, join with the country to remember British and Commonwealth Armed Forces personnel who died in the service of their country since the beginning of the First World War.  We will remember them.’

Maggie Appleton MBE – CEO Royal Air Force Museum said: ‘The stories of these exceptional Jewish women are an inspiration to us all. Their determination to stand up to fascism and contribute to a future that was free from hatred and discrimination is a legacy we all have the responsibility to live up to. Their future is our present, and the Royal Air Force Museum is delighted to work with Chelsea FC to ensure we share – and strive to live up to – their brilliance.’

To get your tickets to the match, click here.