Extra time: Re-enactments of historic Great War football match planned


A SCOTS tour company is re-enacting the famous no man’s land football match which took place on Christmas Day 1914.

The Edinburgh-based firm have organised trip to Belgium which will include a recreation of the first impromptu game between British and German troops.

The kickabout will take place a century after the original game, close to the spot where soldiers briefly laid down their weapons and picked up a football.

Mr Brogan’s trips will include carol singing and football


Mercat International Tours director Des Brogan said more than 200 people have signed up for the four-day festival, which will also include carol singing on Boxing Day.

When the guns fell silent on Christmas Day 1914 in an unofficial truce, rank-and-file soldiers paused from the hostilities to meet and greet each other in the wasteland between the trenches.

In a spirit of holiday cheer, both sides played football with each other and traded gifts.

In some sections of the Western Front the truce lasted almost until New Year, but officers were keen to put a stop to any fraternisation with the enemy.

The truce was also a chance for both armies to recover their dead.

Last year, Prime Minister David Cameron raised the possibility of a re-play of the matches to mark the centenary.

Mr Brogan said: “I knew there was a demand for this. Most people if, or when, they think about Christmas 1914 at all, are aware of the famous truce which occured along the Western Front and was characterised by the football match in no man’s land.



 “I’ve been going to that area of Belgium since 1979, taking school groups, and I thought we really should be doing something to mark the centenary.

“From the early days of that great European tragedy, Ypres, Belgium, centred in the plans of the belligerent nations and it is only fitting that acknowledgement of this fact should be a key part in any centenary memorial ceremonies.

“At Christmas time, many people are fixed on their plans, but I knew there would be an interest in this.”

Visitors will be able to pay football in the field where the original match was played, and take part in an open-air Christmas Carol concert in Ypres.

Mr Brogan continued: “It will be 100 years since both British and German soldiers were sitting in the trenches singing and we will be doing the exact same thing 100 years later – it’s an occasion that will never happen again.”

Veteran’s charity Poppyscotland said: “Poppyscotland commends Des Brogan on his plans to re-enact the Christmas Day truce.

“The famous match represents a moment of humanity during the bloodshed, and we believe it is important to inform and educate people about its significance.”

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