German professional football player Bernhard Carl “Bert” Trautmann, EK OBE BVO, was born on October 22, 1923, and he passed away on July 19, 2013. He was best known for his incredible career as a goalkeeper for Manchester City from 1949 to 1964.
In August 1933, at nine years old, he became a member of the Hitler Youth’s junior division, the Jungvolk. Trautmann joined the Luftwaffe as the Second World War broke out, serving first in occupied Poland and then as a paratrooper on the Eastern Front. He received five medals for his three years of duty there, including the Iron Cross.
As the war came to a close, Trautmann was taken prisoner by the British and transferred to the Western Front. He refused to return home, even though his volunteer service linked him to the Nazi dictatorship and made him a category “C” prisoner.
One of only 90 survivors from his original 1,000-man regiment, Trautmann found himself in a prisoner-of-war camp in Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire. Upon his release in 1948, he chose to remain in Lancashire, engaging in farm work and pursuing his passion for football by playing as a goalkeeper for St Helens Town.
Trautmann’s outstanding performances for St Helens quickly drew attention from Football League clubs. In October 1949, he signed with Manchester City, a move that sparked protests due to his past as a former Axis paratrooper. A demonstration against his signing drew 20,000 people.
However, Trautmann gradually won acceptance through his exceptional performances, ultimately playing in almost 250 matches for Manchester City.
His greatest moment was in the 1956 FA Cup Final when Trautmann played on and produced significant saves to help Manchester City win 3-1, even though he had suffered a major neck injury in the 73rd minute. Three days later, an X-ray revealed his broken neck, which went down in football legend.
Trautmann made 545 appearances during his tenure with Manchester City, which ended in 1964. Following his playing career, he went into management, working first for lower-division teams in Germany and England. Later, he traveled to Tanzania, Pakistan, Burma, and other nations as part of a German Football Association development program.
In recognition of his efforts to promote Anglo-German understanding through football, Trautmann was appointed an honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2004.
Who is Bert Trautmann’s First Wife?
Margaret Friar is the first wife of Bert Trautmann. They got married in 1950, but they divorced in 1972. The couple had three children, John, Mark, and Stephen.