Football Remembers: Dudley Kernick's story

6 Nov 2020

Ex-Birmingham City forward shared his wartime and career memories with three players from club's Academy

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Former Birmingham City footballer Dudley Kernick was 18 when World War II started and played a crucial role for his country down the mines, a job that was fraught with dangers.

"Because it was so hot, you'd sit down at lunch break, and they'd all pull up their trousers," he said.

"When I first went, I said, 'What are you pulling the trousers up for?' And they said, 'Well, it's the rats. They'll climb up your legs if you don't tie them up.' "

Kernick was one of thousands of young men, known as "Bevin Boys", who replaced the miners called up to fight to maintain the dwindling coal supply.

He also served as a Royal Air Force engineer during the war but in peacetime played football for Northampton Town, Birmingham and Shrewsbury Town.

Playing regret

Kernick shared his memories of his life and football career with three of Birmingham City's Academy players, Will, George and Makay. It was a visit organised by the Premier League's Education department in partnership with Big Ideas as part of Football Remembers WWII.

The partnership pays tribute from the football family to all those - players and supporters - who served their country during World War II.

One incident from his time at Birmingham is stuck in Kernick's memory.

"We were playing away to Walsall, and my father, who lived in Cornwall, came all the way by train but missed his train at Birmingham," he told the Academy boys. "I scored two goals in the first 10 minutes. He missed them because he wasn't there in time.

"I wished he had been there."

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 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

See: Football Remembers WWII

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