Mark’s Postings – Army v Navy – Twickenham Stadium, 13/05/2023

On Saturday 13th May 2023, along with my fellow Army veterans, I attended Twickenham for the Annual, and as always keenly contested, Army V Navy Babcock Trophy rugby match.

All around and inside the stadium the relaxed atmosphere, fancy dress, and enjoyment was plain to see, especially when meeting old oppos not seen in many years. In typical military style, in seconds it was as though we had never been apart and in our mind’s eye, we were all back being 18/19 year old squaddies again!

Into our seats we went, and the teams emerged with nervous apprehension but with a noticeable steely grit and determination in their eyes. They were accompanied superbly as always by the band of His Majesty’s Royal Marines, with every single person within the stadium then singing loudly and proudly, for the very first time at this fixture, the national anthem ‘God Save the King’. This cacophony of sound made all the hairs on the back of our necks stand up and we all felt if this did not inspire both teams then nothing ever would.

With the adrenaline pumping both on and off the field, the match kicked off and what a fantastic end-to-end match it was throughout that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Naturally, I am delighted to report that the match resulted in a very long overdue win for the fantastic and well-deserved Navy team, who won the match 39 v 22 and raised the Babcock Trophy aloft. I must however admit to missing this part as by then I had returned to the bar and was back performing as 19-year-old Marine Downie milking the victory to the max with my ‘gracious’, also 19-year-old army Private mates!