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In pictures: Christmas truce of 1914 marked at commemorative football game

In pictures: Christmas truce of 1914 marked at commemorative football game

Lucy Elder

In pictures: Christmas truce of 1914 marked at commemorative football game

A commemorative football match to mark the unofficial Christmas truce of 1914 was played at Maidenhead United FC.


Teams from Desborough College in Shoppenhangers Road, Maidenhead, and The Windsor Boys' School in Maidenhead Road, Windsor, wore replica First World War-era British army uniforms for the match.

The game, which The Windsor Boys' School won 4-1, was held at the York Road ground after the Maidenhead United match against Ebbsfleet United.

Primary school children paraded hand-made poppy artwork onto the pitch and a minute's silence was held before the Maidenhead game kicked off.

At half time, Maidenhead Choral Society sang Silent Night on the York Road stand in both English and German, and Daniel Howick, from the Windsor and Royal Borough Museum, read an eye-witness account of the Christmas truce.

The account was written by a soldier of the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards, to a friend at the Ship Hotel in Windsor.

It tells of a football match in between the Allied and German trenches on Christmas morning 1914, and how soldiers from both sides wished each other a merry Christmas, sang songs and shared cigarettes and cigars.

"You realise that these guys who were fighting each other were told by their respective Governments that they are enemies when actually everybody just wanted peace," said Daniel.

"It is upsetting and emotional to read that."

The uniforms for the two school teams were leant by The Coldstream Guards.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant Eddie Pickersgill said the event was 'quite humbling'.

"I think it is very important that we remember our forebears, particularly ones that paid the ultimate sacrifice," he said.

"It is nice the Royal Borough are doing some social history."

The match is part of the Royal Borough's For King and Country project, which aims to provide a lasting legacy to those from the borough who died during the war.

The commemorative event took place on Saturday.

 


 

Facing each other from opposite sides of the pitch were 16-year-old Alex Webb from The Windsor Boys' School and 15-year-old Duncan Brown from Desborough College.

Speaking about the significance of the match, Alex said: "It is very important because people of course lost their lives for us.

"It's good to re-enact that and bring back memories."

Of the uniform, he added: "It is a bit uncomfortable, but I've got a few layers underneath it."

Duncan said he felt 'honoured' to be asked to play in the match and was also finding the alternative kit 'a bit uncomfortable'.

"It feels quite strange, I suppose it's not something I'm used to playing football in," said Duncan, who is in year 11.

"It makes you appreciate kind of what they used to wear back during the war."

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