WWI Christmas truce football match to be recreated


Blackleaf
#1
On Christmas Eve night in 1914, soldiers of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) heard the Germans singing Christmas carols from their trenches, and saw that they had adorned their trenches with lanterns and fir trees.

Both sides stopped shooting at each other. Messages began to be shouted between the trenches. The following day, British and German soldiers met in No Man's Land, shook hands, exchanged gifts, took photographs and showed photos to each other of their loved ones. There was even a football match between the two sides, which the Germans won 3-2 (although the English would get revenge in 1966).

The high commands of both armies were unhappy with the truce - and soon both sides would be ordered to continue killing each other.

On 24th August next year, as the 100th anniversary of the match closes in, a British and a German football team will recreate it on the spot where it was originally played.

Newark Town FC, from Nottinghamshire, has been awarded more than 8,000 to finance an under-21s match against German twin town Emmendingen at the site near Ypres.

A local historian came up with the idea after reading letters sent home by Private William Setchfield from Newark.

The soldier wrote about witnessing a match during the unofficial 1914 truce.

World War One Christmas truce football match to be recreated

13 December 2013
BBC News



The truce saw British and German soldiers along the Western Front put down their guns at Christmas to fraternise with the enemy for the day and even play football against each other (above)

A football club is to play a "Christmas truce" match at the spot where one of the famous World War One games is thought to have taken place.

Newark Town FC has been awarded more than 8,000 to finance an under-21s match against German twin town Emmendingen at the site near Ypres.

A local historian came up with the idea after reading letters sent home by Private William Setchfield from Newark.

The soldier wrote about witnessing a match during the unofficial 1914 truce.

'Celebration of love'

Newark historian Francis Towndrow led the Heritage Lottery Fund bid on behalf of the football club.

Mr Towndrow explained that Pte Setchfield's Royal Warwickshire Regiment had been fighting the 134 Saxon Regiment around Christmas time

He said the soldier wrote to his brother in Newark about a football match, although the military - who frowned upon the unofficial ceasefire - censored further information.

German records also suggest the two sides had ceased hostilities to play a football game.

Mr Towndrow said soldier Kurt Zehmisch, from the 134 Saxon Regiment, wrote in his diary: "The English brought a football from the trenches and pretty soon a lively game ensued.

"This Christmas, the celebration of love managed to bring mortal enemies together as friends for a time."

The match against FC Emmendingen will be played near the original site in St Yvon, close to Ypres, on 24 August.

In addition, some of the money will be used to create a memorial garden at Sconce and Devon Park in Newark, Nottinghamshire.


The famous "Christmas truce" of 1914



Late on Christmas Eve 1914, men of the British Expeditionary Force heard the Germans singing carols and patriotic songs and saw lanterns and small fir trees along their trenches.

Messages began to be shouted between the trenches. The following day, British and German soldiers met in No Man's Land and exchanged gifts, took photographs and some played football. They also buried casualties and repaired trenches and dugouts.

Some officers viewed the truce as a chance to improve living conditions in the trenches, while others worried that such unwarlike behaviour would undermine fighting spirit.

The High Commands on both sides took measures to ensure such fraternisation would not happen again, and the 1914 Christmas Truce remained a unique event on the Western Front.

Source: Imperial War Museum


BBC News - World War One Christmas truce football match to be recreated
Last edited by Blackleaf; Dec 15th, 2013 at 03:05 PM..
 
petros
+2
#2  Top Rated Post
Go Riders!
 
Blackleaf
#3
Who's that? The Leicester Riders basketball team?

 
damngrumpy
#4
We must not have the warlike spirit interrupted peace might break out.
Shows you just how manufactured war is doesn't it. More things like
this need to come to light. Many of us older folks know this story but
many younger people don't know what happened a few years ago.
 
WLDB
#5
Too bad they didnt keep it going. If the troops could get along so easily their leaders have no excuse for not doing the same.
 
Blackleaf
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by WLDBView Post

Too bad they didnt keep it going.

Yeah. And then they all would have been shot by court martial, instead, for cowardice and disobeying orders.
 
The Old Medic
+1
#7
The Allied Brass also forbade any more of those "Unofficial Truces" in the future. They wanted their men to only see the Germans as wild animals.

In actuality, France and Great Britain had no real business even being involved with that war. The Germans did NOT declare war on them, until AFTER they both declared war on German and Austria-Hungary.

That war destroyed Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary and essentially bankrupted Great Britain and France, The "Peace" was so vindictive that it led directly to the Second World War. Germany tried, really tried, to become a representative democracy, but the combination of the massive "war debts" imposed on the, and the world wide depression of the 1930's hit Germany so hard that it was ripe for a dictator to take over.

The Allies refused to grant any leniency to Germany, regardless of how destitute the country was. They frankly wanted to utterly destroy the country. Let the people starve, as long as we get our reparations, was the attitude.

They sowed what they had reaped, when Germany came under the control of a madman, and developed a massive military machine. The European allies lost a LOT more men than the Germans did, and virtually all of them were bankrupt by the end of the war.

Britain did not recover from the effects of the First World War until the late 1970's. World War II brought it to total bankruptcy, and the people suffered the effects of the combination of the costs of those two wars for decades.


 
WLDB
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by BlackleafView Post

Yeah. And then they all would have been shot by court martial, instead, for cowardice and disobeying orders.

The troops outnumber the officers. A lot of the officers were doing it too. The folks opposed were at the top. A lot of soldiers lives on both sides were wasted by those at the top anyway.
 
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