War & Peace (Or How Football Saved Lives)

According to this article in the Folkestone Herald two youths have been “slammed” for playing football under the Step Short Arch War Memorial in Folkestone.

We at Shepwayvox believe that Football under the Arch is a fitting tribute. Now we know saying that will upset some people, but we don’t say it without a reason.

For those of you who know your history then you will know during the Xmas of 1914/1915 that there are many accounts of the truce involved one or more football matches played in no-man’s land. This was mentioned in some of the earliest reports, with a letter written by a doctor attached to the Rifle Brigade, published in The Times on 1 January 1915, reported “a football match… played between them and us in front of the trench.”

A wide variety of units were reported in contemporary accounts to have taken part in games; Dash listed the 133rd Royal Saxon Regiment pitched against “Scottish troops”; the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders against unidentified Germans (with the Scots reported to have won 4–1); the Royal Field Artillery against “Prussians and Hanovers” near Ypres; and the Lancashire Fusiliers, based near Le Touquet, with the specific detail of a bully beef ration tin as the “ball”. One recent writer has identified 29 separate reports of football, though does not give substantive details

It would appear that Football then as now was a universal language and could bring people together. It allowed them to put aside their differences and be reconciled albeit for a few brief hours.

Football under the Arch is far from “Disgraceful” it demonstrates man’s humanity to man and shows the power of Football to be able to reconcile people. These two youths, should be applauded for their actions as it is a reminder that man put down his guns and weapons and picked up a football and for a few hours stopped killing each other.



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Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

1 Comment on War & Peace (Or How Football Saved Lives)

  1. I see your point. And it is a valid point. However did these boys consider the history, or did they chose to defame the ethic that this Arch denotes whether considered by them, or not.

    If these boys played in honour of the troops they should be applauded. If they played in ignorance they should be sanctioned.

    Has anyone asked them?

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