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Prince William hails 'lasting memorial' to WW1 Christmas truce

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Media captionThe Duke of Cambridge said the truce represented "hope and humanity"

A memorial to the World War One Christmas Truce, when some British and German soldiers stopped fighting and played football, has been dedicated by the Duke of Cambridge.

England manager Roy Hodgson joined Prince William to unveil the statue at the National Memorial Arboretum.

The story of the truce was a "message of hope and humanity", the prince said.

The Football Remembers memorial was designed by a schoolboy after a UK-wide competition.

Ten-year-old Spencer Turner from Farne Primary in Newcastle was introduced to Prince William at the ceremony.

The prince and England forward Theo Walcott selected his design following a competition involving more than 30,000 schools.

'Wholly relevant'

Speaking at the ceremony, Prince William said he was "delighted" to unveil the "lasting monument" to the Christmas Truce.

The prince said the design "perfectly captured" the essence of the truce.

"Football had the power to bring people together and break down barriers. It is vital that 100 years on we keep the Christmas truce story alive.

"For future generations this memorial will help ensure that not just football, but also a nation, remembers."

FA chairman Greg Dyke and representatives from the Premier League, Football League and the British Council also attended the dedication at the arboretum in Staffordshire.

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Media captionDyke reflects on Christmas truce

A Christmas kick-about?

Image copyright Getty Images

Along parts of the Western Front, some men emerged from their trenches into No Man's Land on 25 December 1914.

Where truces did happen, enemy soldiers met, spent Christmas together and even exchanged gifts.

Although first-hand testimonies suggest there was no single organised football match between German and British sides, small-scale kick-abouts were held between soldiers.

There was no official truce, however, and along other parts of the frontline bloody battles continued to take place over the Christmas period.


Joint team photos

A series of other events will take place this month to remember the truce, which took place 100 years ago.

Last weekend, football clubs in all professional leagues took a series of joint team photos.

Schools and workplaces across the UK along with British military bases and embassies globally are participating in events by taking their own team photos.

This weekend young players from the nations involved in World War One will travel to Flanders fields to compete in the Premier League Christmas Truce International Tournament. And on 17 December, the British Army will take on the German Army in a match at Aldershot Town.


Football at home during WW1

Image copyright Patrick Brennan

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