It was 90 years ago today....


Book Reviewer
1914 'football truce' anniversary

Trench warfare had only just begun in 1914
This Christmas is the 90th anniversary of the World War I truce when British troops took on the Germans at football.

The soldiers sang Christmas carols before leaving their trenches to play a match in sub-zero temperatures in no-man's land near Armentieres, France.

The Germans won 3-2, according to some soldiers, and the truce gradually came to an end in the same way it had begun - by mutual consent.

A film inspired by the events entitled Merry Christmas is being planned.

The truce came about during the first winter of the war - not yet dubbed the "Great War".

By the end of 1915 both sides were far too bitter for this to happen again

Around 40,000 Britons had lost their lives by that stage - a tiny number compared to the body count by 1918.

The British soldiers on the Frelinghien-Houplines sector on the western front were the main allied participants in the Christmas festivities.

French and Belgian troops, who were fighting in the same trenches as the British, were less willing to take part.

By Christmas 1914 they had already lost 400,000 people and parts of both their countries were occupied.

The truce began when German soldiers started to sing Christmas carols.

British troops responded and gradually both sets of soldiers moved out of their trenches and met in no-man's land.

After exchanging stories and gifts, several games of football broke out.

The only result recorded was a 3-2 victory by the Germans, quoted in soldiers' letters from both sides.

On some parts of the front hostilities were officially resumed on Boxing Day at 0830 - ceremonial pistol shots marking the occasion.

In other areas non-aggressive behaviour lasted for days and, in some cases, weeks.

Military historian Andrew Robertson says such a truce would have been unthinkable a year later.

He said: "This was before the poisoned gas, before aerial bombardment.

"By the end of 1915 both sides were far too bitter for this to happen again."
Mr_Fingerz said:
The only result recorded was a 3-2 victory by the Germans, quoted in soldiers' letters from both sides.
This may of been due to the barrel of beer the Germans gave as a giftto the English before the game started!! :)
Not all soldiers out there were accepting the temporary truce...One austrian soldier has remarked that something like this shouldn't be taking place and was quite disturbed by it all - his name was Adolf Hitler. :?
Actually the truce did not end by mutual consent. The officers and higher ranks at the time were highly concerned with this truce, realising that the average joe would now not wish to kill some one he had actually seen the face of. The higher echolons were concerned that the troops would now refuse to fight, and let the lines stay as they were.
In some cases the truce lasted up to periods of about 2 weeks.
The higher staff demanded something needed to be done to get the war back on track.

It is written in and official document, that once when a brit was sharing his rations with a german, an officer from the british side, shot the german dead. This then started the war back off in there part of the theatre.

In other cases, orders were passed to the artillery to start the shelling while the troops from both sides were in no mans land to reactivate the war.

Similar threads

Latest Threads