Movingly and permanently, the Munich memorial clock at Old Trafford recalls the date of the tragedy, 6th February 1958. At 3.04 pm on that fateful day, British European Airways flight 609 crashed on take-off after a refuelling stop. 23 died. The dead included eight players of the Manchester United squad returning from a European Cup tie in Belgrade. They included Duncan Edwards. He was, and still is, the pride of Dudley in Worcestershire.
Aged just 21 and already a fixture in the Manchester United team, Duncan Edwards was at the heart of the ‘Busby Babes’. Mostly a driving left-sided wing-half, he could play anywhere – with many games at centre-half and centre-forward. “He could do anything, play anywhere, and the world awaited the full scale of his glory,” declared Munich survivor, teammate Bobby Charlton.
Signed as a professional by Manchester United in the early hours of his 16th birthday, by the time of his young death, Duncan Edwards had already played 151 times for Manchester United and won two league championship title medals and 18 full international caps. The tragedy itself became a sad, but important, part of the heritage of the club.
In St Francis Church in Dudley, two stained-glass windows were dedicated to the memory of Duncan Edwards in a ceremony three years after his death. All survivors of the Munich crash attended. In October 1999, Dudley’s pride in the memory of Duncan Edwards was re-inforced with a larger-than-life size statue, sculpted by James Butler, standing high on a plinth in Dudley Market Place. Duncan Edwards is again in England action, full of power and strength. A towering figure. Separately, the memorial Munich clock, a simple two-faced clock attached to the south-east corner of the stadium at Old Trafford, shows the date of the disaster - never forgotten.