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Football Remembers: Charlie Chase's story

13 Aug 2020
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To mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, a former Crystal Palace player shared memories of World War II with members of the club's Academy

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ (Victory over Japan) Day, on 15 August, to mark the end of World War II, young players from Premier League Academies visited former footballers who served in the armed forces to learn about their lives and the sacrifices they made.

Charlie Chase

For former Crystal Palace player Charlie, who sadly passed away in February 2020 at the age of 96, his football career was nearly ended before it had really begun.

A paratrooper who jumped into northern France a week after D-Day, he had a lucky escape as a bullet narrowly missed his foot.

"I hadn’t felt it. I hadn’t felt any pain," he said. "But when they took the shoe off you could see the bullet had gone right across the sole of the foot.

"I was very lucky. That would have been the end of my football days."

'You saw tragic events'

Charlie wasn’t so lucky when he was shot in the arm while jumping into France, but he certainly didn’t let it bother him.

"It's just a bullet wound, it wasn't dangerous or anything like that. It soon cleared up," he said. "I don't remember it being painful. I was more occupied with landing safely I think.

"I was fortunate. You lost friends. You saw tragic events. But you had to get through it. We did, fortunately, but it wasn't pleasant."

Joining the Eagles

When he returned from the war Charlie signed for Watford, before joining Palace in 1948. Like he did in battle, he continued to put his body on the line.

"You don't have to be rough to be physical," he said. "A good shoulder charge never hurt anybody.

"I enjoyed playing for Crystal Palace. They were a good club. Who was the best player I ever played with? Well, I was!"

Get In Touch

The visits organised 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. Show your support by tweeting #FootballRemembers.

Football supporters can also join Academy players' activity to mark VJ Day 75 by folding an origami crane to be included in a commemorative wreath.

The wreath will be laid at the Children’s Peace Monument in the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park.

For more information and details about where to post your crane go to the Big Ideas website

Football Remembers WWII is a partnership between Premier League's Education Department and Big Ideas, and pays tribute from the football family to all those - players and supporters - who served their country during World War II. The final set of films will be released in November.

See: Football Remembers WWII

Also in this series

Part 1: Arthur House's story
Part 2: Tony Collins' story
Part 3: Josser Watling's story
Part 4: Gordon Astall's story
Part 5: Charles White'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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