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4 February 2008

Remembering the Munich Air Disaster

MMU film of Busby Babes

Image for Remembering the Munich Air Disaster

UNIQUE film of the tragic Busby Babes from an MMU archive is being broadcast tonight (February 4) in a BBC4 programme.

'Nation on Film...Munich Remembered' screened at 10pm recounts the tragic event in Munich 50 years ago, when 23 people - including eight young Manchester United football players - lost their lives in a plane crash.

It contains the only known colour footage of the ‘Busby Babes’ playing a match against Burnley.

The footage, part of the Sam Hanna collection, is held by The North West Film Archive, which is part of MMU’s Library Special Collections.

Legendary players

It was 19 April 1957 and Burnley were at home to the mighty Manchester United featuring legendary players like Duncan Edwards, Tommy Taylor and Bill Whelan.

These were the days before video, but local film-maker Sam Hanna was asked by the club to film the match for coaching purposes.

Using a hand-held Bolex 16mm cine camera, Sam stood on the touchline and filmed what was perhaps the first ever soccer training video.

United were playing in blue and won the game 3-1. Just 10 months later half of the United team that played that day would die in the Munich Air Disaster.

The disaster will be commemorated this Wednesday at a ceremony at Old Trafford.

For more information, transmission times and a trailer, have a look at:

For more about the North West Film Archive at MMU, go to