ON THIS DAY: 1958: Doncaster Busby Babe David Pegg dies in Munich Air Disaster

The star was one of several Manchester United players who died at Munich.
The star was one of several Manchester United players who died at Munich.

It was football’s darkest day, the day a glittering generation of footballers lost their lives in a tragedy that sent shockwaves around the globe.

The date was February 6, 1958 and that’s when disaster unfolded on a snow-covered German airport runway as Manchester United, one of the world’s most famous clubs, returned from an overseas fixture.

Doncaster Busby Babe David Pegg.

Doncaster Busby Babe David Pegg.

Among those who lost their lives in the Munich Air Disaster was Doncaster-born starlet David Pegg.

He was one of the so-called Busby Babes, his life cruelly snuffed out at the age of just 22 in the tragedy which will be remembered once more again today and this weekend.

He was one of the eight Old Trafford aces who died when the plane they were travelling in crashed on a snow-covered runway in the German city.

The tragedy also claimed the lives of three United backroom staff as well as eight sports journalists who had been covering the club’s European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade.
In total, 23 people died in the terrible disaster which stunned the world.

Manchester United line up to play against Blackpool 26-11-1955. The game at Bloomfield Road ended 0-0.'Back l-r > Ian Greaves, Mark Jones, Roger Byrne, Ray Wood, Eddie Colman,  Duncan Edwards.'Front l-r > Tommy Taylor, Dennis Violett, Johnny Berry, John Doherty, David Pegg.

Manchester United line up to play against Blackpool 26-11-1955. The game at Bloomfield Road ended 0-0.'Back l-r > Ian Greaves, Mark Jones, Roger Byrne, Ray Wood, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards.'Front l-r > Tommy Taylor, Dennis Violett, Johnny Berry, John Doherty, David Pegg.

Former Doncaster Free Press news editor Peter Whittell, a family friend and then a 16-year-old junior reporter, broke the news as scant details of the crash filtered through.

His colleague Michael Parkinson, who of course went onto TV fame, was tasked with reporting the funeral.

David had signed for United on leaving school in 1950 and made his first team debut in the Football League First Division against Middlesbrough on 6 December 1952, aged 17.

He was the club’s first-choice outside left and collected two League Championship winner’s medals in the two seasons leading up to the disaster, helping them reach the European Cup semi-finals twice and grabbing 24 goals in 127 games. He was capped once for England, his solitary appearance coming in 1957, and was tipped by many to succeed Tom Finney in the team.

Tommy Taylor, Bobby Charlton and David Pegg. Only Charlton survived the disaster.

Tommy Taylor, Bobby Charlton and David Pegg. Only Charlton survived the disaster.

He is buried at Redhouse Cemetery, with United fans still paying tribute to him with flowers nearly sixty years on from the tragedy.

A photo from the Pegg family album.

A photo from the Pegg family album.

David Pegg in action.

David Pegg in action.

David Pegg (fourth left) looks towards Matt Busby (left), later Sir Matt Busby, with fellow players, from left, Wilf McGuiness, Dennis Violet and Tommy Taylor.

David Pegg (fourth left) looks towards Matt Busby (left), later Sir Matt Busby, with fellow players, from left, Wilf McGuiness, Dennis Violet and Tommy Taylor.

Chelsea versus Manchester United programme with David Pegg featuring in the number 11 shirt.

Chelsea versus Manchester United programme with David Pegg featuring in the number 11 shirt.

The late Manchester United footballer David Pegg (front row, centre) is pictured with, amongst others Bobby Charlton (back row, fourth left).

The late Manchester United footballer David Pegg (front row, centre) is pictured with, amongst others Bobby Charlton (back row, fourth left).

David Pegg's grave at Redhouse Cemetery.

David Pegg's grave at Redhouse Cemetery.