Iconic First World War football match to be recreated on Saltburn beach

Christmas truce on the Western Front

Christmas truce on the Western Front

First published in News
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Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

AN iconic football match that broke out on Western Front during the First World War is set to be recreated on Saltburn beach.

British and German soldiers put down their weapons and played football in no-man’s land on Christmas Day 1914.

And to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the war, two teams will dress up in vintage army uniforms from the era as the seaside town plays its part in remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Event organiser Allan Whiley said: "I really wanted to do something to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One and I wanted the town to play a part in remembering the futility of the conflict.

"Last year I started planning to re-enact the Christmas Day truce football match on the beach and on behalf of Saltburn Rotary Club and with the Royal British Legion and other groups, we began to pull ideas together such as the Tiger Moth flyover which will involve dropping 40,000 poppy petals on to the beach."

The match kicks off at 2pm on Sunday, June 1, but there is plenty going on throughout the day with the event taking place from 10am to 6pm.

A Tiger Moth aircraft will fly over the pitch and there will also be a field of poppies to create a temporary 'war cemetery' in tribute to the soldiers who never returned from the battlefield.

Proceeds from the event, to be match funded by Barclays, will go to the East Cleveland branch of the Royal British Legion who will use the funds to restore Saltburn's War Memorial.

David Willis, spokesman for the Saltburn branch of the Royal British Legion, said: "The local branch of the Royal British Legion is proud to be involved, from the outset, to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the First World War and to arrange a rerun of the football match in which the British Army and the German Army played on Christmas Day 1914.

"The Legion will be selling poppy crosses which the public can buy and place in a garden of remembrance on Saltburn beach before they are put on display in a more permanent place."

When the tide comes in on the day and there will be a short service by a church leader from Saltburn while a lone bugler plays The Last Post.

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