Norfolk son of Bert Trautmann on film of his amazing story
PUBLISHED: 16:00 23 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:53 24 March 2019
A new film about the exploits of former prisoner of war turned legendary goalkeeper Bert Trautmann will have its most avid viewer in Norfolk where his son works alongside the cutting-edge F-35 jets at RAF Marham.
Former serviceman Mark Trautmann, who works for Defence Equipment and Support as manager of maintenance and finishing facility at the Norfolk base, is eagerly looking forward to the release of the feature film, entitled The Keeper.
The film, which stars David Kross and Freya Mavor and is in cinemas on April 5, 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,” said Mark, who lives near RAF Honington.
Bert, who was a member of the Luftwaffe and a paratrooper during the Second World War, was taken prisoner by the British in 1944. After the war was over he decided to stay in England. He had started playing in goal as a prisoner-of-war, and news spread in 1949 that Manchester City wanted to sign him.
About 20,000 people took part in a demonstration against his signing, and some fans in Manchester threatened to hand in their season tickets.
“He got threats and all sorts,” said Mark, who joined the MOD in 1997 after 17 years in the RAF.
“The hatred he must have faced was terrible. My mum told me he got a poison pen letter telling him that if he walked onto the turf at Wembley he would be shot.”
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 his team beat Birmingham City 3-1.
Bert, who was appointed an OBE in 2004 for his impact on Anglo-German relations, died in 2013. After his death Mark, his brother Stephen and half-sister Freida were invited to the Manchester City stadium for the first game of the season.
“There was a minute’s applause and then the whole team came out with goalkeeper’s jerseys with Trautmann on the back,” said Mark. “I have never felt a sensation like it – my whole body was tingling. I don’t think that he realised what he had accomplished. He just loved playing football.”