Over the Line

Did you know that the player who scored England’s first international goal after World War One was a survivor of the trenches?

Did you know that footballers who didn’t join the army were called cowards and mocked and abused?

Did you know that men fought and died side by side with their friends in the footballers’ battalion – and even that they played football behind the front lines? Watch our videos, read the first chapter or follow the links in the menu bar to find out more.


The First World War used trench warfare. Watch our videos to find out more about trenches, see Tom Palmer visit the locations in the novel, and learn a song soldiers sang in the First World War to keep their spirits up.


In World War One, it was common for men to fight alongside their friends and neighbours. In part this was because the army thought it would be easier to get men to sign up if they could fight beside their friends. Battalions of men who knew each other were called Pals Battalions. Of course, if a Pals Battalion suffered heavy losses, so did the town or area from which the battalion came.

Football was a symbol of hope in World War One. There is a famous story of British soldiers and German soldiers stopping fighting on Christmas Eve in the trenches in order to play a game of football. This was the soldiers’ own idea, but the army used football to keep the soldiers’ spirits up too.

Watch our video to hear more, look at our gallery of famous footballers of World War One and read our story imagining what it would be like if a famous footballer of today went to war.

Soldiers in the Trenches

Scroll down to see an Introduction to Over the Line by author Tom Palmer

Pals Battalions

Football in War

Listen to author Tom Palmer reading the first chapter from Over the Line

Click on the links below to download resources to use with your students when reading or viewing content on this site.

Teachers Area

Click on the links below to download our classroom discussion guide or short playscripts based on Over the Line.

Click on the links below to download our poster for Over the Line featuring author Tom Palmer, a poster about footballers and cowardice or a poster for all of Barrington Stoke’s WWI titles.

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Read the first

chapter of

Over the Line.

Read for Yourself

Click on the links below to download our Quiz and answer sheets to accompany Over the Line




Read for Yourself

Soldiers in the Trenches

Pals Battalions

Football in the War


Teacher's Area