A FOOTBALL match played this week held historical significance for those who gave their lives in the 1914-1918 Great War.
Thirty officers and soldiers from the Chester-based 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh (Royal Welch Fusiliers) played a game in Frelinghien, France, to commemorate a brief time of peace that occurred on the first Christmas Day of the First World War.
The Royal Welch Fusiliers met their German opponents, the Saxons of the 133 Infantry Regiment and the Prussians of the 6 Jager Battalion, in no- man’s-land for an impromptu game of football on what was a rare day of peace.
Captain C I Stockwell, who was present, wrote an account of the events on “one of the most curious Christmas Days” he had ever experienced.
He describes the singing, cheering and the exchanging of beer that took place. However, after this one night of peace and festivity, the fighting was resumed the next day.
Captain Stockwell recalls: “The German captain and I both saluted. He fired two shots in the air, and the war was on again”.
The football match this week was played on the site of the original Truce game. The opposing team comprised members of the German Army’s Panzergrenadier Battalion 371, formed from the Saxon Infantry.
The Commanding Officer of The Royal Welsh 1st Battalion, Lt Col Nick Lock, said: “We are delighted to be taking part. The Christmas Truce illustrated the basic humanity of the men from both sides engaged in that terrible conflict.”