First World War football truce to be recreated

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THE 100th anniversary of the “Christmas truce” during the First World War might be marked with a new football match on the battlefields of Flanders.

The UK government is talking to the Football Association and the National Children’s Football Alliance about how the famous 1914 matches between British and German soldiers in “no man’s land” could be remembered.

Defence minister Andrew Murrison said a football match was “a no-brainer in terms of an event that is going to reach part of the community that perhaps might not get terribly entrenched into this”.

Prime Minister David Cameron raised the possibility last year of football matches as part of events to mark the centenaries of key moments during the First World War.

On Christmas Day in 1914, British and German soldiers stopped fighting and ventured into no man’s land to talk, exchange gifts and play football. French and Belgian soldiers also took part.

Dr Murrison said: “I think football has a particular part to play. We have been in touch with the Football Association and the National Children’s Football Alliance to see how this can be done. I know they have clocked the fact that other countries are thinking along similar lines.”

The last surviving veteran of the Christmas truce, Scot Alfred Anderson, from Angus, died eight years ago at the age of 109. He had been just 18 at the time.

Recalling the truce shortly before his death, he said: “The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war.”