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Club News

D-Day Anniversary - Remembering Frank

6 June 2014

A Reading hero

Friday 6th June 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings - a time to remember all those who fought during a day that changed the world as we know it.

It is a fitting moment to recount the tale of one brave Biscuitman, who saw his promising football career at Reading Football Club tragically cut short by the Normandy landings. 

Club historian Alan Sedunary remembers tricky outside-left Frank Ibbotson...

Before becoming a lance corporal in the Royal Army Service Corps, which was part of the invading force that took on the Germans in Normandy after storming across the Channel, Ibbotson signed for Reading on 10th May 1939. 

He had previously enjoyed spells with Leeds United and Portsmouth before joining the Royals and "great things were expected of young Frank," according to Sedunary, "but within weeks of joining us, he was called up and posted to Birkenhead.

"Sadly, Frank sustained serious injuries during the landing and died of his injuries on 15 July 1944 - he was just 25. He was then buried in the Le Delivrande War Cemetery (pictured below) at Douvres and left a widow, Dilys." 

During the war Frank was able to play as a guest for several clubs, enjoying his longest spell with Bradford City in 1940/1. Of course, his early call-up meant that he never even got to attend a Reading training session, let alone play for us. In fact, with the club offices being situated in Arcade Chambers in the town centre, it is quite possible that Frank never even got to visit Elm Park.

Despite this, or maybe because of it, it is fitting that we should remember Frank Ibbotson - Reading's forgotten war hero.

His name is proudly inscribed on the club's memorial wall outside Madejski Stadium - alongside the other men who tragically lost their lives in both World Wars. 

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