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1958: 'This was the cream of our crop'
On 6 February 1958 seven Manchester United footballers were among 21 dead after an air crash in Munich.

The British European Airways plane caught fire when it hit buildings shortly after take-off.

The airliner had been chartered to carry the team home after a European Cup match in Belgrade.

The football world lost some of its most talented young players in the disaster - known as the Busby Babes after team manager Matt Busby.

Your memories and tributes

Our sense of invulnerability was shaken for some time.

This was the cream of our crop in athletic terms and each generation will have the same.

I feel that all of the generation I belong to, that is, all of those that are left, will spare a thought for these young men and think, if only for a few moments, of all the friends and family who shared this awful moment who can no longer do so.

Greatest respects to all those directly affected.
Robert, UK

I remember going into the fish and chip shop and someone telling me United were in an air crash. I hand only been supporting them for a year or so and I was 13 at the time.

After the crash every day at school we listened to the reports on Duncan Edwards and Matt Busby and were all so upset when Duncan died. I remember queuing for hours some months after in a Manchester store to get the autographs of the new team and the survivors.
Alan Green, UK

That week I had exams at Salford Tech and when I got home my mother told me that there had been an air crash at Munich and it was feared that some of the United players had perished.

The convoy of hearse after hearse passed our house in Seymour Grove in Old Trafford
Malcolm Wood, England
I remember watching the television continuously for the rest of the evening until it closed down for the night. Every so often the scheduled programmes were interrupted, sometimes with the bad news that another player, another club official or another of the journalists had perished, and sometimes with better news that someone was known to have survived.

I don't know how any of us managed to sit our exam the following day, never mind pass it. The most poignant memory was of the evening when the bodies were brought back. The convoy of hearse after hearse passed our house in Seymour Grove in Old Trafford on the way to the ground and thousands turned out to pay their last respects.

I'm a grown man of nearly 70 but it still brings tears to my eyes when the 6 February comes round each year. That team was my team and as well as watching them whenever I could, I would often see some of the players getting off the bus as some, including Matt, lived in Old Trafford.
Malcolm Wood, England

I've never forgotten this tragedy, because my husband, who was then a senior Sales Representative for Swissair in London, had been very much involved in the negotiations for the charter flight.

In the event, it was BEA who clinched the deal. The "best man" won but it was slightly disappointing nevertheless. But all such personal considerations went overboard by the subsequent turn of events, all the more so because the travel agent who'd handled the business was also a good friend and he, too, alas, lost his life in this accident.
Ritchie, Geneva, Switzerland

I don't remember the actual event since I wasn't yet born. My mother had been carrying me for several months however. My father, Bevan, was a keen football fan and played for Cornwall as a goalkeeper. He was 22 at the time.

He was so touched by the fight Duncan Edwards put up for his life that he named his next born after him - that was me! I carry his name with pride although I never got close to his ability in football.

I hope they are never forgotten for their achievements and remembered more for what they did well than how they died.
Duncan Guy, Switzerland

It was a good day for me. I just got home from school with my mate and I was ready to open my birthday cards ( I was 10 ). Then it was outside with the ball. I was going to be Duncan Edwards. Then a news flash came on the radio - 46 years later I can still remember the hurt.

I still visit Duncan's grave as have my son and daughter. Bobby Moore was a great player, but how many caps would he have won if big Dunc have lived?
Joe Cooke, Birmingham, England

I was 13 years old on that dark day. As a US citizen, I had no inkling of what football was, other than what's played over here.

Upon reading the local newspaper, I came across a small article which sketchily described the crash. My heart went out to the players, passengers and families of those who perished and those who survived.

Because of the Busby Babes, whom I never saw play, I learned about this wonderful game.

Following the sport as best I could over here with minimal coverage, I became a Manchester United fan and finally got to come over and see some matches a few years ago.

Now it's an annual pilgrimage and in a few hours I'll be boarding British Airways Flight 1502 to Manchester and will see the Manchester Derby and FA Cup match next week.
Alan Wexler, US

I started following Manchester United in 1956 when I was 12 and living in Kent.

I was so disappointed when Aston Villa beat them 2-1 in the 1957 Cup Final, preventing them achieving the first "double" but was absolutely certain they would do it the next year.

When the news of the Munich air crash came through late that afternoon I cried for hours.

Younger football fans may not realise that until the 1990s, supporting Man U has always been something of a rollercoaster: much success, often very emotional, but disappointment and sadness too, notably Duncan Edwards surviving the crash but dying of injuries days later, and that they did reach the next Cup Final to be beaten by Bolton.
Aldo Hanson, US

My father posted up a black-edged copy of the Manchester Evening News in our front window
John White
I was about 12 at the time and coming home from school. I met my granddad coming home from work and he was crying. I hadn't heard anything about the crash in Munich up to then and then of course I too was shattered.

I remember the following day my father posted up a black-edged copy of the Manchester Evening News in our front window showing the team that had flown out to Belgrade for that game with Red Star.

It seemed no-one could quite comprehend what was fact and what was fiction or rumour.

A most sad event in the life of my home city and my family.
John White

I remember the great sadness after Duncan Edwards died after such a brave fight.

The German doctor who was tending him had appeared on the news prior to his death looking absolutely exhausted - he clearly had been keeping constant vigil in a desperate attempt to save him and probably had had no sleep.

At that time in England there was still a lot of anti-German feeling, but I know that many people after seeing this doctor suddenly realised that there were good Germans.
Susan, UK

I still think Duncan Edwards was the greatest of his time. I was in the RAF (near Hull) and I organised a collection on my station. I later got a letter of thanks from United. Treasured memories.
Frank, Australia

I recall a deep sense of loss and mourning
Tom E, UK
This is my earliest recollection of a news event which I heard on the radio aged just over three years!

We were living in Norway, but Mum was from Manchester and I recall a deep sense of loss and mourning at the time.

We eventually moved back to Manchester and I became a United fan for life.
Tom E, UK

I was just coming up to my 12th Birthday when the disaster occurred.

I had been taken regularly over the previous four years to many of United's games, but more especially the youth games which attracted large crowds, as United reached the Finals on at least two occasions.

To hear of the deaths of some of these fantastic players was almost too much to bear. The daily reports on Duncan Edwards' deteriorating condition especially sticks in my mind - as does learning of the unselfish bravery of Harry Gregg in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

I also remember the World Cup later on in that year and wondering what might have been. It became Pele's Cup, but it could well have been Edward's.
David Jones, Sri Lanka

I emerged from central station into a city in shock
Donald Munday
I was in the second year of my National Service and on duty in the Regimental Depot in Warrington (in Lancashire in those days) when news came in - via the girls working the Warrington telephone exchange - about the plane crash.

The next day on my way home I emerged from central station into a city in shock - even the newspaper sellers were silent.

They sombrely sold copies of the Manchester Evening News with its pictures and dreadful story on the front page.
Donald Munday

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The scene of the crash in Munich
Thirty-eight people were on board the BEA Elizabethan Airliner


The 'Busby Babes' in training (PA)
Football lost some of its most talented young players in the disaster
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