Two Bradford footballing heroes killed on the bloody battlefields of the First World War are to be remembered when a new exhibition opens this weekend.

Bradford City captain Jimmy Speirs, who scored the winning goal in the 1911 FA Cup Final, and Bradford Park Avenue player Donald Simpson Bell are to be commemorated in the Greater Game exhibition at the Imperial War Museum North starting today.

The display, which examines the link between sport and war, is to feature the stories and personal objects of 11 sporting heroes who fought for their country in the First and Second World Wars.

The FA Cup winners medal presented to Speirs after he headed a goal against Newcastle United at Old Trafford in 1911, securing a 1-0 victory, will be among the mementoes featured in the museum exhibition at Trafford Park, Manchester.

The medal, snapped up for a record £26,210 by a Keighley man via an internet auction last year, will be among items on loan to the museum for the display.

Speirs, born in Glasgow in 1886, played at Valley Parade for three and a half years before being transferred to Leeds City for £1,400 in 1912. He enjoyed ten years as a professional footballer, playing 255 games for four clubs and scoring 104 goals.

The married father-of-two enlisted in the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders in 1915 and was posted to the 7th Battalion in France where he is believed to have died after being wounded on the battlefield at Ypres. The Military Medal awarded to him before his death will also feature in the exhibition alongside his British War Medal 1914-1920 and his Victory Medal 1914-1919.

The Victoria Cross awarded to Donald Simpson Bell for his "most conspicuous bravery" will also go on display.

Harrogate-born Bell, who signed for Bradford Park Avenue in 1912 to supplement his salary as a schoolmaster, was posted to the 9th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, The Green Howards. He rec-eived the VC after destroying a German gun post during the Battle of the Somme when he accurately launched a grenade and fired enemies with his revolver.

But the left-back, who also played for Newcastle United, Bishop Auckland and as an amateur for Crystal Palace, died in action days later under intense bombardment. His steel bullet-holed helmet can also be seen in the exhibition.

Objects, sound, art, photography and other items loaned from national sports museums and associations across the country are to be included in the display, which runs until November 1, covering a wide variety of sport from boxing, cricket and athletics to the 1936 Olympics.

For further information, contact the Imperial War Museum North on (0161) 836 4000 or visit