Football Remembers: Arthur House's story

8 May 2020

On VE Day we recall a visit by members of Southampton's Academy to a former player who shared his memories of World War II

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As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day to mark the end of World War II in Europe, players from 11 club academies visited ex-footballers who served in the armed forces to learn about their lives and the sacrifices they made.

Arthur House (Southampton)

Toby and Ryan from the Southampton academy made a visit last year to Arthur House, who played in goal for Saints during the war.

House made his Southampton debut against Brighton & Hove Albion, before being called up in 1941 as an airframes mechanic in the Royal Navy. His role was to look after the plane's wings and attend to his designated pilot on take-off and landing.

"The aircraft would come in to land and they couldn't see the ship," he recalled. "I lost my best friend. He lost both his legs as he got hit by a plane coming in."

Career curtailed

It was while serving in the navy that House suffered an injury which ended his football career.

"It was one of the jobs when we were on shore and I went belting out with a motorbike," he said. "One of our own trucks was coming in, smacked into me and I finished up in hospital for three months."

Although his right arm healed, the long-term effects meant House was unable to return to the game. But he said the pain of being apart from his family during the war hurt him the most.

"I saw my son when he was a day old. The next time I saw him he was 11 months old."

Indeed, when House finally returned from duty some three years after WWII had finished, his son didn't recognise him.

"I was abroad, I was at sea, so there's all those hardships that people didn't realise we had to suffer."

Arthur House sadly passed away on 28 July 2019, aged 99.

Get In Touch

The Academy visits, organised by the Premier League's Education Department, in partnership with Big Ideas, are an inspiration and a tribute from the football family to all those - players and supporters - who served their country during World War II.

Football supporters can get involved in this Football Remembers activity by sharing a short video message for the nation’s World War Two veterans on Twitter using the hashtag #FootballRemembers or by uploading their video message on the Big Ideas website.

Or you can show your support for an older person who may be isolated at the moment by taking part in our #GetInTouch activity.

Write and share a letter, or make a phone call to an older relative, friend or neighbour to make sure they are OK and to help them not feel isolated.

"Football Remembers is a brilliant way of paying tribute to those players and supporters who fought for Britain in the Second World War," Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said.

"I hope that Arthur's story will inspire football fans to delve into their own family history and ask their grandparents and great grandparents about what they remember, and how their wartime experiences shaped their lives.

"Let's hear from and honour our greatest generation this bank holiday weekend."

See: Football Remembers WWII

Also in this series

Part 2: Tony Collins' story
Part 3: Josser Watling's story
Part 4: Gordon Astall's story
Part 5: Charles White's story
Part 6: Charlie Chase's story
Part 7: Bobby Brown's story
Part 8: Bill Blount's story
Part 9: Tommy Docherty's story
Part 10: Reg Harrison's story
Part 11: Dudley Kernick's story 

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