Students remember Christmas truce

Cardinal Newman High pupils mark World War 1 truce.
Cardinal Newman High pupils mark World War 1 truce.

Cardinal Newman High in Bellshill held a football match to mark the centenary of the games during the World War one Christmas truce.

The match was part of the Football Remembers project which will saw every level of football mark the anniversary.

Students at the school took over the PE hall last Thursday with the help of CultureNL, the Heritage Lottery and Museums Galleries Scotland.

They recreated and participated in a re-enactment of both the truce and the football match which took place on Christmas Eve 100 years ago.

The students have been learning about the Christmas truce with the help of a Football Remembers education pack.

It includes resources to help children learn about the Truce – including eye-witness accounts, photos, drawings and letters from soldiers some of which have never been published before.

Headteacher Kenny Ross said: “The Christmas Truce remembered through football is a great opportunity for our young people to visually experience on the most poignant events of the First World War and for them to recognise and value the sacrifice made by so many in giving their lives to the cause.”

Vicky Gough, schools adviser at the British Council, added: “The impromptu games of football that happened along the Western Front 100 years ago are an incredible example of how people-to-people connections can triumph in the midst of a global conflict.

“It’s a powerful lesson for all our children.”

The Football Remembers scheme is backed by Prince William.

He said: “Both sides putting down their arms on Christmas Day remains wholly relevant today as a message of hope over adversity.”

Lu McNair of CultureNL revealed a link between the matches which took place during the Christmas truce and North Lanarkshire.

She said: “We were delighted to support Cardinal Newman’s efforts to commemorate the 1914 Christmas truces on the Western Front.

“There is a local connection to the truces as a recent book, The Christmas Match: Football in No Man’s Land 1914, by a Swedish journalist tells the true story of Albion Rovers’ James Coyle. 

“A sergeant in the 93rd battalion (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) he was in Frelinghien facing the 9th Saxon Infantry Regiment when the truce occurred and there is evidence he was part of the group of soldiers who played a match, losing 3-2 to the Germans.”