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Discover the story of A True Chelsea Hero: Pom Pom Whiting


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Westminster Archives and BFI animator Tom Hillenbrand have just completed a film on former Chelsea goalkeeper Bob 'Pom Pom' Whiting who took Fatty Foulke's place in goal in Chelsea's first ever season. He left the club to join Brighton in 1908 and when WW1 broke out became a member of the famous Football Battalion alongside Chelsea captain Vivian Woodward. The film called Pom-pom Plays the Game was made by children at a number of community events and seeks to tell his fascinating story. Please watch as a tribute to a true Chelsea hero and please give us some feedback.







Robert Whiting was born in east London and began his football career as a goalkeeper with the Thames Iron Works, who soon became West Ham United. He later played for Tunbridge Wells, Chelsea and Brighton. He was famous for his long goal kicks and earned the nick name Pom Pom after a long range gun which was used in World War One.

Whiting joined the Football Battalion (17th Middlesex Regiment) in 1914 and went to France a year later. In need of medical care he was sent home to Brighton in 1916, he then deserted the army to be with his pregnant wife. He was arrested and found guilty but the army was so short of men his punishment was suspended and he was sent back to France to fight in the Arras Offensive.



Robert Pom Pom Whiting was killed on 28th April 1917 whilst helping wounded soldiers. He left behind his wife, Sarah, and three sons. His name is one of 34,785 on the Arras Memorial, France. After his death there were rumours that Pom Pom had been shot as a deserter. His widow wrote a letter to the Brighton press to tell the true story.



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