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First World War Christmas Truce remembered

2nd December 2014

Categories: News

The Royal Borough is set to remember the Christmas Truce which saw British and German soldiers lay down their weapons across the Western Front to play football matches together in December 1914.

Pupils from Windsor Boys School and Desborough College will dress in First World War replica Army uniforms to play a special commemorative game. It will follow the match between Maidenhead United FC and Ebbsfleet United FC at Maidenhead United’s York Road ground on Saturday 6 December.

Before the first match is played, representatives from the Royal Borough’s primary schools will carry large handmade poppies onto the pitch. A minute’s silence will then take place before kick off.

During half time an account of the Christmas Truce will be read before a choir sings the carol Silent Night.

The shorter commemorative match will kick off at 5pm following the Maidenhead United and Ebbsfleet United game.

Replica uniforms for the youngsters taking part will be provided by the Coldstream Guards.

Letters from soldiers from the Royal Borough describing the Christmas Truce appeared in the Windsor and Eton Express in January 1913. Two of the letters describe warm meetings between the Germans and British troops while the third describes a brutal offensive.

Cllr Christine Bateson, lead member for the project and for volunteering, said: “This match will be a fantastic tribute to those from the borough who were involved in the Christmas Truce 100 years ago this year.

“It also gives our young people the opportunity to find out more about the contribution and sacrifice residents of the Royal Borough made during the First World War.”

The match will form part of the For King and Country project which aims to provide lasting legacy to those from the Royal Borough who died during the First World War.

Cllr Eileen Quick, cabinet member for leisure and libraries, said: “We are very grateful to Maidenhead United Football Club for supporting the truce game event along with the Coldstream Guards and our schools.

“It promises to be a wonderful and moving way to remember the friendship those soldiers showed each other during the first Christmas in the trenches.”

An online database is being created with the names of those included on the borough’s 203 war memorials along with information about their lives.

The website for the For King and Country project, which includes the database, will go live in the new year.

Tickets for the Maidenhead United and Ebbsfleet United match will be available on the gate for a discounted rate of £5 when bought using a voucher from the Maidenhead Advertiser.

Entry to the ground will be free from half time during the main match which will be about 4.15pm.

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