The Duke of Cambridge attended a dedication ceremony for a monument honouring the 1914 Christmas Truce at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire on Friday.
Joining The Duke during the unveiling was England manager Roy Hodgson. FA chairman Greg Dyke and representatives from the Premier League, Football League and the British Council also were in attendance at Friday’s event.
The memorial unveil is part of Football Remembers, the series of events in December jointly held by the Premier League, The FA and the Football League in partnership with the British Council, to commemorate the First World War.
“We all grew up with the story of soldiers from both sides putting down their arms to meet in no-man’s land on Christmas Day 1914 – when gunfire remarkably gave way to gifts. It remains wholly relevant today, as a message of hope and humanity, even in the bleakest of times. Football, then as now, had the power to bring people together and break down barriers. In getting to this point 100 years on, I must pay tribute to the British Council for their work in creating a superb education resource which went out to more than 30,000 schools across the country,” William noted in his address on Friday.
The design for the memorial was chosen by Prince William and England star Theo Walcott, after the Football Remembers opened the competition to more than 30,000 schools across the UK.
William met the winner of the contest, 10-year-old Spencer Turner from Newcastle, at the dedication ceremony on Friday. William commented that Spencer: “captured the very essence of the Christmas Truce with his stunning design. I know his family, friends, teachers and class-mates joining us today are extremely proud.”
Speaking during the ceremony, William commented that he was “delighted” to unveil what was the “lasting monument” to the Christmas Truce.
“It is vital that, 100 years on, we keep the Christmas Truce story alive – that moment captured so beautifully by Spencer when hands that had held weapons came together in peaceful greeting. For future generations, this memorial will help ensure that not just football – but, also a nation – remembers,” William added.
Football Remembers will hold numerous events this month to honour one of the most iconic moments of the First World War.
On 17 December, the British Army will take on the German Army in a special football match at Aldershot Town. The match will bring together serving soldiers from both countries approximately 100 years on from the original Christmas Truce moments of 25 December 1914.
Historians note there was no official match between the British and German sides, but there was a kick about here and there between both sides.
Some men emerged from their trenches into No Man’s Land on 25 December 1914 along areas of the Western Front. Unprecedented during war, enemy soldiers met and spent Christmas together, some even exchanging gifts.
There was no official truce during the war as battles raged on over Christmas.