Before the Munich Air Disaster: Rarely Seen Photos of the Busby Babes in the 1950s

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The Munich air disaster occurred on 6 February 1958 when British European Airways flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport, West Germany.

On the plane was the Manchester United football team, nicknamed the “Busby Babes”, along with supporters and journalists. Twenty of the 44 on the aircraft died at the scene. The injured, some unconscious, were taken to the Rechts der Isar Hospital in Munich where three more died, resulting in 23 fatalities with 21 survivors.

Last few words from the Boss before they went out against Red Star in Belgrade, at the Hotel Majestick’s “Last Supper”, 1958. May they Rest in Peace!

The “Busby Babes” were notable not only for being young and gifted, but for being developed by the club itself, rather than bought from other clubs, which was customary then.

Eight of the players – Roger Byrne (28), Eddie Colman (21), Mark Jones (24), Duncan Edwards (21), Billy Whelan (22), Tommy Taylor (26), David Pegg (22) and Geoff Bent (25) – died in or as a result of the Munich air disaster in February 1958, while Jackie Blanchflower (24 at the time of the crash) and senior player Johnny Berry (31 at the time of the crash) were injured to such an extent that they never played again.

Before the Munich air disaster, these intimate photos that captured beautiful life of the Busby Babes in the 1950s.

All aboard, we won the Cup and we are off home, circa 1953-54

Eddie Colman with Liam Whelan outside the Hotel Pickie in Bangor, Northern Ireland, 1953

Manchester United youth team players Kennedy, Fulton and Pegg, March 1953

Manchester United youth team players McFarlane, Lewis and Doherty, March 1953

Manchester United youth team players Scanlon, Colman and Edwards, March 1953

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