Military Football in the UK

Military football was divided into at least 3 conferences from around 1970 up till 1982. They were the MSC, the CSC and the UKSC (Mediterrainian, Continental and United Kingdom Sports Conferences). Though the MSC was a competitive league it only sent a team to the USAFE Championship game 3 times, this game (from 1946, when the league started) was always between the winners of the two best divisions (later conferences) and was, apart from the 3 times mentioned always between the CSC and UKSC champions.

Here is a list of all the Third Air Force (UKSC) teams that we know existed.

Lakenheath Eagles
Chicksands Fighting Chicks
Upper Heyford Sky Kings
Alconbury Spartans
Mildenhall Marauders

The above teams were the ones that played in the last ever season - 1993

The following 3 teams ceased to play in the 1990 season.

Bentwaters Phantoms
Greenham Common Crusaders (known as the Pirates until the 1988 season).
Fairford Falcons

Other teams known

Wethersfield (nickname unknown)
High Wycombe Bucks (played in the UKSC in the late 50's and early 60s)
London Rockets (1st UK winners of USAFE in 1954, game played at Wembley)
Burtonwood Bullets (1st UK team to play at Wembley Vs. Fuerstenfeldbrook, 1952 USAFE Championship game. The Bullets lost 26-7).

Football was played in this country continuously from 1946 until 1993. No military football is now played in the UK apart from high school football at Lakenheath, London Central (High Wycombe), Alconbury and Menwith Hill.

UK Military Champions

Teams marked thus * were USAFE champions as well as UK.

1946 no record of UK champion, but Ansbach (GER) won USAFE.
1947 the USAFE champion was Landsberg. Again, no record of UK champ.
1948-50 All teams played in the Army Conference. No individual UK champ is recorded.
1951 Burtonwood (the four sides playing in the UK in 1951 were Burtonwood, Brize Norton, Manston and Mildenhall)
1952 Burtonwood (UK sides were Burtonwood, LA Rockets, RAF Wethersfield, Bridgestock and Sealand)
1953 London Rockets (From the 1953 USAFE championship program (played on 28 Nov 1953 again at Wembley), the results for the London Rockets include games against teams from Chelveston, Sealand, Bentwaters, Burtonwood, Chicksands, Sculthorpe, and Wethersfield.)
1954 London Rockets*
1955 London Rockets*
1956 London Rockets* (From the 1956 USAFE championship program (played on 1 December 1956 at Wembley), London Rockets had played Woodbridge, Molesworth, Sculthorpe, Burtonwood, Wethersfield, Crange, and Chicksands.)
1957 Burtonwood (From the 1957 USAFE championship program, the Wiesbaden, Germany team defeated the UK champion, Burtonwood Bullets, 28-0 in a playoff game. )
1958 Alconbury (From the 1958 USAFE championship program, Ramstein, Germany had defeated Alconbury in the regular season while Laon, France beat Wetherfield in regular season and then beat the Suffolk Titans (UK Sports District champs) in a playoff on November 7 by a score of 26-0. )
1959 Chicksands (From the 1959 USAFE championship program, Wiesbaden, Germany defeated Sculthorpe 40-0 in the regular season and then beat Suffolk 14-12 in the playoff game prior to the championship. (This differs from our website that notes Chicksands was the 1959 UK champ.)
1960 no record
1961 Alconbury
1962 Chicksands
1963 Wethersfield* (co-champs following cancellation of USAFE game following death of President Kennedy)
1964 Chicksands
1965 Wethersfield
1966 Wethersfield
1967 Bentwaters
1968 Bentwaters*
1969 Bentwaters
1970 Upper Heyford*
1971 Upper Heyford
1972 Upper Heyford
1973 Upper Heyford*
1974 Upper Heyford*
1975 Bentwaters
1976 Bentwaters
1977 Chicksands
1978 Chicksands
1979 Lakenheath*
1980 Lakenheath
1981 Upper Heyford*
1982 Upper Heyford*
1983 Upper Heyford
1984 Bentwaters
1985 Upper Heyford
1986 Chicksands*
1987 Lakenheath
1988 Lakenheath
1989 Lakenheath
1990 Lakenheath*
1991 Lakenheath
1992 Lakenheath
1993 Lakenheath

During the 1990 season plans were well in hand for RAF Molesworth to begin playing Military Football the following year but following the collapse of the Soviet Union and in the face of swingeing budget cuts it never happened. A rather strange but unsubstantiated rumour was that there was a proposed English American Football league mooted as far back as 1978-9 in that the base teams would "adopt" the nearest large English town or city and play some or all of their home games at a football stadium or athletics arena. Brian Yates recalls a demonstration at one of Luton's home games by Chicksands in 1978 during the half time break.

The photo above is the kick off of the last ever military game in the UK. The 1993 UKSC championship between Upper Heyford (home) and Lakenheath (visitors)