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Marham link to film about heroic goalkeeper

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A former serviceman who works alongside the cutting-edge F-35 jets at RAF Marham is looking forward to a feature film about his famous father appearing at cinemas across the UK.

Mark Trautmann, who works for Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) as manager of the Maintenance and Finishing facility at the base, is the son of former prisoner of war and Manchester City goalkeeping legend Bert Trautmann.

The film, entitled The Keeper, focuses on Bert’s relationship with Mark’s mum Margaret and rather than being a film about football is a story of how love triumphed over adversity.

“It’s really a story of how mum fell in love with dad who had been a prisoner-of-war,” Mark, who lives near RAF Honington, said.

Bert Trautmann signs autographs
Bert Trautmann signs autographs

Bert, who was a member of the Luftwaffe and a paratrooper within the German army during the Second World War was taken prisoner by the British in 1944.

After the war Bert decided to stay in England and having started playing in goal during his time as a prisoner of war news spread in 1949 that Manchester City wanted to sign him.

Incredibly 20,000 took to a demonstration to try and prevent the club signing him and the Jewish fans in Manchester threatened to hand in their season tickets. Bert, who in goal had nowhere to hide from the torrent of abuse, showed remarkable bravery to take to the field each weekend.

“He once told me he nearly always threw up before a game because of the nerves,” Mark, who joined the MoD in 1997 after 17 years in the RAF, said.

“He got threats and all sorts, the hatred he must have faced was terrible. My mum told me he got a poison pen letter telling him that if he walked on to the turf at Wembley he would be shot.”

Mark Trautmann
Mark Trautmann

But Bert won them over with his performances and amassed 545 appearances for City over a 15-year career. He will always be remembered for the 1956 FA Cup final where he broke his neck but played on and helped City record a 3-1 victory over Birmingham City.

Bert Trautmann breaks his neck in the 1956 FA Cup final
Bert Trautmann breaks his neck in the 1956 FA Cup final

Clearly in pain when receiving his winner’s medal Bert soldiered on through the post-match banquet but eventually had an X-ray which revealed that he had dislocated five vertebrae, the second of which was cracked in two.

Bert, who died in 2013, was awarded an OBE for his effect on Anglo-German relations in 2004.

The Keeper, which stars David Kross and Freya Mavor, is released on April 5.

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